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Light-Free, Car-Free Day - Idea Factory

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  • Eric Britton
    With enormous respect to Martin Cassini and those who believe that human nature and civil behaviour alone is going to do the trick, I would like to add the
    Message 1 of 4 , Dec 2, 2006
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      With enormous respect to Martin Cassini and those who believe that human
      nature and civil behaviour alone is going to do the trick, I would like
      to add the following small variant for an eventual Light-Free, Car-Free
      Day in your city. But first a caveat:

      The very nature of the car is that it makes one impatient, and speed is
      a natural, inevitable, almost universal expression of this impatience.
      In all of us I am afraid, even those of us who stop and smile when a
      pedestrian is waiting to cross. It is, irrevocably, the nature, the
      pathology of the beast (the beast by the way in this case being that
      particular combination of man and machine - the roaring centaur of the
      20th century)

      So, what to do in those places in 2007 where they decide to turn off the
      traffic lights for the day and have a go at this interesting idea?

      Bear in mind that - in our skeptical version of this at any rate - the
      one thing that is needed to slow people down is to remove as many of
      those long straight lines that usually they have to run in. What we
      need to do is to make it physically impossible for them to speed. At
      least at the learning stage.

      So at every intersection on this one day, just before the lights go off,
      someone smart puts in an agreed obstacle, a large visible obstacle that
      everyone, every driver can see and be obliged to slow down for and creep
      around.

      Now this might for example be one or two parked cars in the middle of
      the intersection - a sort of improved roundabout.

      Even better perhaps if we can do something around whatever is the large
      visible object we pop there. For example turn it into a bit of convivial
      public space. Maybe with a couple of potted plants. An all day poetry
      reading from a chair and media link. Maybe a get up like the following
      from the terrific Rebar group --
      http://www.rebargroup.org/projects/parkingday/index.html -- but this
      time in the middle of the intersection.



      Anyway, you get the idea.

      Anybody ready to run with this?

      Eric Britton



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Richard Risemberg
      ... We had an inadvertent light-free day in LA during the last big earthquake. Watched cars just drive through now-uncontrolled intersections and run into
      Message 2 of 4 , Dec 2, 2006
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        On Dec 2, 2006, at 2:46 AM, Eric Britton wrote:

        > So, what to do in those places in 2007 where they decide to turn
        > off the
        > traffic lights for the day and have a go at this interesting idea?

        We had an inadvertent light-free day in LA during the last big
        earthquake. Watched cars just drive through now-uncontrolled
        intersections and run into each other repeatedly. I'd suggest
        putting giant yellow inflatable domes in the middle of each
        crossing. Or park a D-50 there.

        Doesn't a group in San Francisco regularly "rent" pay parking spaces
        by the 25-cent piece and have lunches, concerts, readings, etc. in them?

        > Even better perhaps if we can do something around whatever is the
        > large
        > visible object we pop there. For example turn it into a bit of
        > convivial
        > public space. Maybe with a couple of potted plants. An all day poetry
        > reading from a chair and media link. Maybe a get up like the
        > following
        > from the terrific Rebar group --
        > http://www.rebargroup.org/projects/parkingday/index.html -- but this
        > time in the middle of the intersection.
        >
        >
        >
        > Anyway, you get the idea.
        >
        > Anybody ready to run with this?
        You should see if you have local members of Reclaim the Streets!
        handy. They do this sort of thing in England a bit, I believe.

        http://rts.gn.apc.org/

        Rick

        --
        Richard Risemberg
        http://www.rickrise.com
        http://www.bicyclefixation.com
        http://www.newcolonist.com
      • Jym Dyer
        ... =v= Not regularly. That was done twice, by the Rebar Group that was mentioned. ... -- The cars below knew nothing. People in cars weren t New
        Message 3 of 4 , Dec 3, 2006
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          > Doesn't a group in San Francisco regularly "rent" pay
          > parking spaces by the 25-cent piece and have lunches,
          > concerts, readings, etc. in them?

          =v= Not regularly. That was done twice, by the Rebar Group
          that was mentioned.

          >> http://www.rebargroup.org/projects/parkingday/

          <_Jym_>

          --
          The cars below knew nothing. People in cars weren't New Yorkers
          anyway, they'd suffered some basic misunderstanding.
          -- Jonathan Lethem
          _The_Fortress_of_Solitude_
        • Carlos F. Pardo SUTP
          I think we could do a series of flash mobs during CFD 2007 where people would go to a specific place and set up a park, a playground, a beach, a living room,
          Message 4 of 4 , Dec 3, 2006
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            I think we could do a series of flash mobs during CFD 2007 where people
            would go to a specific place and set up a park, a playground, a beach, a
            living room, etc. It may need some logistics, but it's not very difficult
            when there's lots of people willing to help. It would renovate carfree days
            to a certain extent and maybe it could generate greater awareness of the
            many uses public space (and specifically streets) could have. Space
            Hijackers in London have really done a lot in this respect as well.



            Carlos F. Pardo
            ps: basic info about flashmobs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_mob :

            "In modern usage, flash mob describes a group of people who assemble
            suddenly in a public place, do something unusual for a brief period of time,
            and then quickly disperse. They are usually organized with the help of the
            Internet or other digital communications networks."



            From: LotsLessCars@yahoogroups.com [mailto:LotsLessCars@yahoogroups.com] On
            Behalf Of Eric Britton
            Sent: 02 December 2006 05:47 PM
            To: LotsLessCars@yahoogroups.com
            Cc: CarFree@yahoogroups.com; carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [LotsLessCars] Light-Free, Car-Free Day - Idea Factory



            With enormous respect to Martin Cassini and those who believe that human
            nature and civil behaviour alone is going to do the trick, I would like to
            add the following small variant for an eventual Light-Free, Car-Free Day in
            your city. But first a caveat:

            The very nature of the car is that it makes one impatient, and speed is a
            natural, inevitable, almost universal expression of this impatience. In all
            of us I am afraid, even those of us who stop and smile when a pedestrian is
            waiting to cross. It is, irrevocably, the nature, the pathology of the
            beast (th! e beast by the way in this case being that particular combination
            of man and machine - the roaring centaur of the 20th century)

            So, what to do in those places in 2007 where they decide to turn off the
            traffic lights for the day and have a go at this interesting idea?

            Bear in mind that - in our skeptical version of this at any rate - the one
            thing that is needed to slow people down is to remove as many of those long
            straight lines that usually they have to run in. What we need to do is to
            make it physically impossible for them to speed. At least at the learning
            stage.

            So at every intersection on this one day, just before the lights go off,
            someone smart puts in an agreed obstacle, a large visible obstacle that
            everyone, every driver can see and be obliged to slow down for and creep
            around.

            Now this might for example be one or two parked cars in the middle of the
            intersection - a sort of improved roundabout.

            Even better perhaps if we can do something around whatever is the large
            visible object we pop there. For example turn it into a bit of convivial
            public space. Maybe with a couple of potted plants. An all day poetry
            reading from a chair and media link. Maybe a get up like the following from
            the terrific Rebar group --
            http://www.rebargroup.org/projects/parkingday/index.html -- but this time in
            the middle of the intersection.



            Anyway, you get the idea.

            Anybody ready to run with this?

            Eric Britton





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