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11142Re: Life Without Cars

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  • Simon Baddeley
    Dec 30, 2008
      It took a decade for me to get to the point where I felt able to divorce my
      car having driven cars since I was 17 in 1959.


      It should have been easier for an academic with all the facilities for
      hot-desking on campus and teleworking from home. I think I had to get the
      car out of my head before I could get it out of my hands. Birmingham UK is
      reasonably well covered by public transport and has a big network of canal
      towpaths. The other big condition is that while I am carfree and glad of it
      - our household is not. My wife still has a car which I borrow ­ rarely ­ to
      carry heavy stuff. I also use it with her driving if we go out to visit.
      Linda does the main shopping. The kind of changes needed to get my family to
      copy me and that Joel has been writing about require transformation of
      settlement patterns, reform of rapid transit and urban re-design - on an
      immense scale. Those things will take much longer and require far greater
      commitment than I needed just to divorce my car. I think that ­ barring some
      crisis like 9/11 which had many NYs getting on bicycles for a while ­ change
      has to come psychologically and through the slow grasp of the way a carfree
      city might be. Asking people to take on the panoply of great theories about
      the character of cities including Joel¹s work that look to reduce or
      eliminate autodependency is a tall order. It raises the question of whether
      you get a kid a bicycle for Christmas (or Eid or Diwali or ...) or that
      great book by Jane Jacobs. Gosh I wish there was a children¹s version of
      that with chapters on cycle maintenance and DVDs of city cycling and walking
      ­ then you could give them the multimedia-book and the bike.

      Happy New Year 2009.


      On 29/12/08 07:33, "Matthew Thyer" <matt_thyer@...> wrote:

      > Ron,
      > I just caught up on some reading and went through the "Manfred" posts. I'd
      > suggest, not that I'm defending anyone here, that there is a certain level of
      > frustration that comes with living a car-free or car-light lifestyle and its
      > possible that Manfred may be experiencing this. I've found it to be a
      > progression of little things that add up over time that make it increasingly
      > difficult to stay optimistic in the face of this growing monster we're all
      > kind of stuck with.
      > I'm guessing here, but Manfred's tone appears to me to be one of frustration.
      > Where's the help from government? Why must cars stink up the air in cities?
      > When will it stop raining in Seattle and Portland? Choosing to take your
      > bike, walk, or ride the bus or train is a personal decision that no one will
      > help you with. There are fewer support organization around today for people
      > trying to make the "right" decision than there is aid for those who simply
      > don't care. You and I and everyone else who's ever tried to live in a reduced
      > carbon footprint know that this is the "high road" which is never easier to
      > traverse.
      > That said the high road comes with its own rewards not available to those who
      > avoid this path. You can only realize these rewards by continuing to climb.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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