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3816RE: [carfree_cities] Urban horses(revisited)

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  • Boileau,Pierre [NCR]
    Oct 1, 2001
      Hello Simon,

      Sorry for responding to this thread at such a late date, but your message
      came in while I was on holidays and I'm only getting to it now.

      I find your thoughts on urban-horse-use interesting and, in an odd way,
      romantic. I just wondered how you or others have proposed to deal with the
      eventual biological needs of horses. My reading has pointed me to a number
      of publications from around the turn of the century (1900) that justified
      the increased use of motorized transportation simply because horses tended
      to produce too much 'added baggage'.

      Any thoughts would be appreciated.



      -----Original Message-----
      From: Simon Baddeley [mailto:s.j.baddeley@...]
      Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2001 5:25 AM
      To: Mark@...; Carfree Cities List
      Cc: Slower Initiative Speeds; Cllr Gita Rae; Andrew Coulson DLGS;
      carfree_seattle@...; SMarshall@...;
      IanG@...; caroline@...
      Subject: [carfree_cities] Urban horses(revisited)

      Such prescience. Hardly have I floated some enquiries about use of urban
      horses than I pick up the Birmingham Evening Mail yesterday and there on
      page 7 is a half-page story saying that "Birmingham is bidding to become the
      first city in Britain to bring back traditional horse-drawn taxi carriage
      services." The story mentions that such services are "ever-present" in many
      European cities and for visitors to "New York's central park".

      The idea will be trailed in our Jewellery Quarter at the area's day long
      Street Craft Fair and Antiques Market. Martin Parnham of Festival organisers
      "Town Centre Management" says "We think it would be ideal for Birmingham
      city centre because large parts of the city are pedestrianised. They really
      are pleasant and I can envisage them driving up and down Broad Street."

      I don't think it's a situation of being able to pick up one of these at New
      Street Station and ask to be taken home (2 miles) and "don't spare the
      horses!" so's I can watch a TV programme, but it suggests these
      possibilities are around and will stay in the right conditions.

      I recall that one of the last of the brewers drays was driven off London
      Streets about 7 years ago because of recurring contretemps with impatient
      motorists. I suspect these things cannot work where they must share streets
      with cars whose drivers think they should be able to go faster. If all
      traffic were to be slowed down so that drivers did not get "held-up" by
      horse drawn traffic the situation could improve.

      Best wishes


      Simon Baddeley
      University of Birmingham
      Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT
      00 44 121 554 9794
      07775 655842 mobile
      Campus 00 44 121 414 4999

      The late David Welch - local government officer in Aberdeen in the 1980s:
      "The technology of the cart is that of 50 years ago, but there are now
      lighter stronger materials than those traditionally used. Nylon bushes are
      available for wheels. There are substitutes laboriously cleaned chrome
      chains and fittings. The College of Technology in the city is co-operating
      in looking at ways of introducing modern materials. There are advantages in
      introducing horses beside utility and economy. There is the question of
      civic cheerfulness. Nothing is quite so agreeable to the eye as a pair of
      large horses and a cart, their amiability in sharp distinction to the
      menace and aggression of the motor car. Their hooves make a cheerful
      rhythmical clatter, and the iron shod wheels of the cart grate with a
      continuous burr upon the carriageway like the drone of a bagpipe. They
      elicit smiles from adults and waves from the children."

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