Re: [carfree_cities] New DETR traffic calming, cycling and walk
>The more I visit the idea of car-free cities the more I see the need for aHold hard. I think that's too prescriptive. You might reproach me with
>separation of transit from pedestrian traffic.
Churchill's observation that "the English seldom draw a line without
blurring it" - though he meant it as a wry and not necessarily critical
The safety objectives of separation may make what I'm suggesting sound
contrary and even counter-intuitive, but the risk of separation is that it
removes a duty of care from the more dangerous moving object with each
accident confirming the need for it rather than encouraging diferent
attitudes towards fellow citizens.
In another context I like high jetties at low tide which aren't encumbered
with safety fences. It makes one careful and solicitous for one's children
and friends but in a way that avoids the animosity of rivalry between
pedestrians and cyclists versus humans in cars. I don't like pavements
(sidewalks) because they confine pedestrians and justify the bad behaviour
of drivers. Better to make the space negotiable if you cannot remove the
cars altogether (e.g. delivery of goods, ambulances etc.).
Where water transport is close to pedestrian transport; where land abuts on
water within a city there are many ways of making the "edge" between water
and land fuzzy - steps, slopes and various kinds of permeable barriers.
In the case of trains and station platforms I tend to prefer what in England
we would refer to as "Continental" rail platforms which tend to be lower or
absent. The high platforms of British railway stations make it far less easy
to merge trains and trams (which do not have platforms most of the time) and
are actually at times more dangerous in feel and actuality than having the
trains and the pedestrians on the same level. I was thinking of the "slip
down between" danger.
I don't see how the apparently stricter segregation of the "platform" is
actually that much safer for say people with sight and hearing disabilities
and for children than the idea of having track and walking areas on the same
level - and god forbid having the kind of segregation I've seen at 70s
modernist Gatwick Airport where you wait in a corridor by doors like those
of elevators which open (as with aircraft passenger lounge connecting
passageways) only when the train is positioned like a horizontal elevator
exactly opposite the sliding doors. You don't see the train. On;y its
interior. I like the old elevators (and some new ones) where you see the
whole apparatus of the lift and its shaft within or outside the building.
This doesn't mean you don't have precautions against catching parts of the
body in the elevator mechanism.
Obviously I favour no cars in the city but where you must have them I favour
the street layout associated with "home-zones" which sends a clear message,
unlike many road arrangements which indicate exactly the opposite, that here
the car is a "guest" - welcome to proceed cautiously at no more than running
or walking pace always giving way to walkers. That said I note Joel's point
about the blemish of cars plonked down in the middle of a piazza which their
drivers could have got to on their feet or, for those less able, in a
I deplore the segregation of cyclists from other road users because it
condones reckless driving and ill-crafted cycling - but that's a different
matter and I'm a supporter of towpaths and bridleways where walkers,
cyclists and horseriders (but not cars let alone SUVs) can share travelling
space sometimes alongside barges and other waterway traffic.
Given that the problem of cardependency includes the fragmentations and
exaggerated individuation (the opposite incidentally of individuality forged
in social interaction rather via private and passive commune with one way
mass communication) I am rather sensitive to this suggestion of segregation
and separation. I like walking out to the plane. I like seeing my train laid
out end to end and choosing my preferred coach. I want to be close to the
ferry at the jetty rather than approach its innards through covered ramp.
Keep those boundaries fuzzy, even a little dangerous. Have them but design
in aesthetically pleasing and functional (I know they should be congruent)
permeability between pedestrians and transit. Boundaries can be interesting
places but so can mixing it.
The car is the form of transport least able to co-exist with pedestrians and
cyclists (and indeed transit) - because of its freedom to go places at its
drivers behest that trams, buses and trains (and even planes) can't go.
This facility in the car radically confuses the idea of permeable boundaries
in public space and confuses judgement of which spaces at particular times
are more or less safe. Most of the time and fairly predictably a tram line
is safe as houses (unless the roads wet and you're on a bike - but that's
another matter) and then when the tram is on its way it becomes potentially
lethal. We get used to when the tram will come and the tram (like a train
and a ferry) signals its presence by its scale and noise and predictability
especially if we are guided to note or even view its displayed timetable.
So by all mean remove or strictly segregate the car and truck but think at
least twice before applying this to other ways of moving goods and people.
- Richard Risemberg wrote:
>Also in many cities--I know this is theand
>case in LA--the trolley tracks still exist under a thin layer of asphalt
>naturally follow the most heavily used travel routes, which grew up aroundthose >same tracks when they were in service. Perhaps they
>could be "daylighted."This was done to McKinney Avenue in Dallas Texas. Dawson
- Henning Mortensen wrote:
>Rail in London, easy... close off a few streets and lay rail. Of coursethis
>means no grade separation, but if the dollars are a concern this is theI have an idea of what you mean, like there hasn't even been inter city
>easiest. I am sure you can think of a few streets that would work nicely.
>And don't forget you have the underground as a starting point, some of us
>haven't seen rail since the 30's. (not that I'm that old).
passenger rail to Regina since the Tory cuts of 1990.
Here is some thing relating to a new tramline in Edinburgh about laying
http://www.edinburgh-tram.co.uk/track.htm A 100m of track could be laid a
London's trams. http://www.magma.ca/~dewi/trains/conduit/conduit.html
The London Transport Museum. http://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/
British Trolleybuses. http://www.trolleybus.co.uk/ Dawson
- Simon Baddeley wrote:
>In the case of trains and station platforms I tend to prefer what inEngland
>we would refer to as "Continental" rail platforms which tend to be lower oreasy
>absent. The high platforms of British railway stations make it far less
>to merge trains and trams (which do not have platforms most of the time)and
>are actually at times more dangerous in feel and actuality than having theHere in North America station platforms are mostly low, except for parts of
>trains and the pedestrians on the same level. I was thinking of the "slip
>down between" danger.
the northeastern USA, in Canada it's Montreal and Quebec City. VIA Rail is
going to have to wait a while with the implementation of ex-Nightstar(UK)
equipment, because of platform height and etc. Below is a photo of a
Nightstar car here in Montreal(Pointe-St-Charles) on a shop track.
>I don't see how the apparently stricter segregation of the "platform" issame
>actually that much safer for say people with sight and hearing disabilities
>and for children than the idea of having track and walking areas on the
>level - and god forbid having the kind of segregation I've seen at 70sOh, it isn't just the Gatwick Airport, with the London Undergrounds Jubilee
>modernist Gatwick Airport where you wait in a corridor by doors like those
>of elevators which open (as with aircraft passenger lounge connecting
>passageways) only when the train is positioned like a horizontal elevator
>exactly opposite the sliding doors. You don't see the train. On;y its
>interior. I like the old elevators (and some new ones) where you see the
>whole apparatus of the lift and its shaft within or outside the building.
>This doesn't mean you don't have precautions against catching parts of the
>body in the elevator mechanism.
Line extension, some of it's stations have such doors on their platforms.
At least you don't have worry about high platforms in Croydon(southwest
>Just reacting to the fact that after removing trolley's and replacing themno they are trolleys again
>with buses we are now looking at changing the buses to electric to clean
>them up. Kind of a new coke/old coke thing. Take out trolleys, put in buses,
>wait for people to complain, then replace them with electric buses instead
>of going back to trolleys.
and something like that will be easily installed
large capacity, quiet, etc
a bit like the trams but cheaper and quicker and less beurocracy,
I probably would agree with your other sentiments
need to see change in my lifetime, though the tracks are still there in
>The 'pretty damn cheap' is what may get pols' attention. Maintaining
> Laying down trolley tracks and putting up some overheads is pretty damn cheap, and the technology has been mature for nearly a hundred years. Anybody can handle it. Also in many cities--I know this is the
> case in LA--the trolley tracks still exist under a thin layer of asphalt and naturally follow the most heavily used travel routes, which grew up around those same tracks when they were in service. Perhaps they
expressways is very expensive. Michigan's highway budget is nearly all
taken up in maintenance. When I think of bringing back trolleys, I
like to think of them withing walking distance of most residences, but
the most likely return is either in short runs in cities, or joining
park and ride spots on expressways.
The point source pollution from generating electric power is much easier
to monitor and control than the exhaust of millions of autos. This
might be a selling point in cities where pollution is a problem. It
lends itself to equivalents, so many passenger miles on a trolley result
in so much pollution; however if those passengers drove it would result
in this much more pollution. A receptive populace may be found in
areas where lots of retirees live. They are pretty much past the stage
of using autos to express macho. They may well have pleasurable
memories of trolleys. They are concerned about how much longer they
will be able to drive. And trolleys can be short run, only a few miles
to shopping centers, not some huge project that takes committees to
evaluate and many sessions of Congress before it passes. A rail
circuit might attract the attention of the mall owners, wouldn't it be
sweet to have trolleys, nice picturesque trolleys, bringing in loads of
shoppers. Of course there would be a delivery service available, but
even the trolley, delivery service combination would generate less
pollution and use less energy than the same number of people driving to
At some point in making carfree real, we will have to think politically
-- I don't mean leaflets and posters, rather, consider who may be useful
and with whom we can make common cause.
I suspect that carfree, like the environmental movement, may be
characterized as an upper middle class crotchet, that most people want
to have cars and are not about to give them up. We should point out
that the old and the poor will be the first to profit by casting off
- Martha Torell wrote:
>And trolleys can be short run, only a few milesSounds like you were writing about the "Tandy Center" in Fort Worth, Texas.
>to shopping centers, not some huge project that takes committees to
>evaluate and many sessions of Congress before it passes. A rail
>circuit might attract the attention of the mall owners, wouldn't it be
>sweet to have trolleys, nice picturesque trolleys, bringing in loads of
Even though it connects a mall to a parking lot, theoretically it could be
> Sounds like you were writing about the "Tandy Center" in Fort Worth, Texas.Nice link. Thanks.
> Even though it connects a mall to a parking lot, theoretically it could be
Yeah, maybe it is only a reflection of personality, but I suspect we
will have quicker success with small projects like this, projects that
don't make the auto and petro companies jittery.
A rail system could take over as autos did, a few here, a few there, and
all of a sudden, life is different. I hope though, that we keep tracks
compatible, so they can join up.
It's so strange. When I came to this board, I thought I would be
contacting a distinct minority. But car free sentiment is out there.
Just yesterday I was chatting with my piano teacher. Many years ago,
his sister-in-law was mayor of Royal Oak. She spent much of her term in
office, trying to get a subway or light rail connection between Detroit
and Royal Oak. Her efforts failed for the racist reasons already
mentioned on this board.
However, these little rail runs look like a way to end run such
problems. For urban areas, and shopping malls, a parking structure only
steps from light rail, seems like a natural combination. And, in the
happy event that we do go car free, parking stuctures could be converted
to other uses, especially if they were designed with that in mind.