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5463RE: [carfree_cities] Re: Law Suit for Human Scale Access.

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  • Donna Lewandowski
    Jan 30, 2003
    • 0 Attachment
      Hm. Somebody ought to contact John Banzhaf at GWU. See if one of his
      classes on legal activism would be interested...


      -----Original Message-----
      From: look384 <kevin.barton@...>
      Sent: Thursday, January 30, 2003 2:05 PM
      To: carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: Law Suit for Human Scale Access.

      I was quite surprised to see this question, as I was considering the
      same issue just today. What triggered my thought was the fact a
      pedestrian was hit by a car yesterday less than a block from my
      office. My thought was basically the same as yours, could a person
      sue simply for being denied reasonable safety? Not whether you're
      prohibited from walking, but if city design and city ordinances make
      walking or cycling dangerous. One of the other replies pointed out
      you can walk in Austin, although they conceded there are parts of the
      developed city that aren't truly accessible by walking. Their
      example of walking was more recreational in nature than
      transportation. I believe a lawsuit based on inadequate or dangerous
      access for walking as a mode of transportation would have to be
      proven to be successful. I see two possible approaches.

      1) Driving is not a right or an obligation. Therefore those who
      choose to walk or ride a bike but don't have reasonable or safe
      access are being harmed, especially if you can show some physical
      (health) or economic harm.

      2) The American with Disabilities Act was my second thought, and may
      have better chance for success. However, I suspect you'd have to
      find someone with a disability who has been harmed by zoning laws and
      city design. I suppose that would be possible among the elderly,
      blind, deaf, or anyone who has been denied a drivers license simply
      for health or handicap reasons. The next step would be proving they
      don't have the same access as motorists.

      That's my suggestion as a laymen with one college class in business
      law. Personally, I would absolutely love to see someone win such a
      case, it might well set a precedent for every city in the country.
      If the zoning laws can be beat down, carfree or walkable communities
      could have a chance to prove their worth.


      --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "paulparma <info@v...>"
      <info@v...> wrote:
      > In my own city, Austin, by court ruling, transients can no longer
      > awakened from sleep in public space except to allow space for
      > and other traffic. My unstudied understanding of this ruling is
      > it is based most on the idea that sleeping is a natural and
      > expected part of human life, unlike phones, which is the basis for
      > being allowed to deduct ones phone bill from your tax base.
      > So i was thinking I would look into filing a suit, with a like
      > attorney which I already have acquantance of a few of in austin,
      > the City, State and Federal governments by their laws and ac tions
      > have deprived me of my right to pursue my happiness by a msot
      > and expected manner -- by walking.
      > They have forced me to purchase a rather expensive car, and only at
      > great personal effort and threat to my safety have I been able to
      > change to the statistically rare mode of bicycling. This mode
      > limits my range , hence my ability to pursue my happiness, or
      > to live my life. Walking limits my range so much I would have to
      > on top of the food didtribution points, which in the non-mixed use
      > zoning, would have to be without a home. And although one is
      > to sleep anywhere by the resent court rulings, one is not allowed
      > camp in public spaces. This is considered to be a home. So to be a
      > walker, I must by current law be either a street person, or be
      > enough to afford New York or San Fransico.
      > I have to hurry off, bt be=fore I bother an attorney with this and
      > with the statement that, hey I can't afford this but I must do this
      > possible, please let me know if it worth our trouble.
      > I am serious.
      > Paul Parma

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