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Re: [carfree_cities] New DETR traffic calming, cycling and walk

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  • Simon Baddeley
    ... Hold hard. I think that s too prescriptive. You might reproach me with Churchill s observation that the English seldom draw a line without blurring it -
    Message 1 of 16 , Jul 6, 2000
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      >The more I visit the idea of car-free cities the more I see the need for a
      >separation of transit from pedestrian traffic.

      Hold hard. I think that's too prescriptive. You might reproach me with
      Churchill's observation that "the English seldom draw a line without
      blurring it" - though he meant it as a wry and not necessarily critical
      observation.

      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
      powered wheelchair.

      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.
    • Ronald Dawson
      ... and ... those same tracks when they were in service. Perhaps they ... This was done to McKinney Avenue in Dallas Texas. Dawson
      Message 2 of 16 , Jul 6, 2000
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        Richard Risemberg wrote:
        >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
        >could be "daylighted."

        This was done to McKinney Avenue in Dallas Texas. Dawson
        http://home.flash.net/~steveg3/mata/history.htm
        http://home.flash.net/~steveg3/mata/index.htm#office
      • Ronald Dawson
        ... this ... I have an idea of what you mean, like there hasn t even been inter city passenger rail to Regina since the Tory cuts of 1990. Here is some thing
        Message 3 of 16 , Jul 6, 2000
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          Henning Mortensen wrote:
          >Rail in London, easy... close off a few streets and lay rail. Of course
          this
          >means no grade separation, but if the dollars are a concern this is the
          >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).

          I have an idea of what you mean, like there hasn't even been inter city
          passenger rail to Regina since the Tory cuts of 1990.
          Here is some thing relating to a new tramline in Edinburgh about laying
          track.
          http://www.edinburgh-tram.co.uk/track.htm A 100m of track could be laid a
          night.
          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
        • Ronald Dawson
          ... England ... easy ... and ... Here in North America station platforms are mostly low, except for parts of the northeastern USA, in Canada it s Montreal and
          Message 4 of 16 , Jul 7, 2000
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            Simon Baddeley wrote:
            >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.

            Here in North America station platforms are mostly low, except for parts of
            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.
            http://www.nailnews.com/w/alt.binaries.pictures.rail/a/51521/att/NightStarVI
            A_end.jpg

            >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.

            Oh, it isn't just the Gatwick Airport, with the London Undergrounds Jubilee
            Line extension, some of it's stations have such doors on their platforms.
            http://www.londontransport.co.uk/tube/images/jp_big.jpg
            At least you don't have worry about high platforms in Croydon(southwest
            London).
            http://www.tramlink.net/ Dawson
          • tim
            ... no they are trolleys again and something like that will be easily installed large capacity, quiet, etc a bit like the trams but cheaper and quicker and
            Message 5 of 16 , Jul 10, 2000
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              >Just reacting to the fact that after removing trolley's and replacing them
              >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.

              no they are trolleys again
              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
              places

              ...............tim
            • Martha Torell
              ... The pretty damn cheap is what may get pols attention. Maintaining expressways is very expensive. Michigan s highway budget is nearly all taken up in
              Message 6 of 16 , Jul 18, 2000
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                >
                > 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

                The 'pretty damn cheap' is what may get pols' attention. Maintaining
                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
                the mall.

                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
                autodependence.



                Martha
              • Ronald Dawson
                ... Sounds like you were writing about the Tandy Center in Fort Worth, Texas. http://www.startext.net/homes/railscene/tandy/tandy.htm Even though it connects
                Message 7 of 16 , Jul 18, 2000
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                  Martha Torell wrote:

                  >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.

                  Sounds like you were writing about the "Tandy Center" in Fort Worth, Texas.
                  http://www.startext.net/homes/railscene/tandy/tandy.htm
                  Even though it connects a mall to a parking lot, theoretically it could be
                  expanded. Dawson
                • Martha Torell
                  ... Nice link. Thanks. Yeah, maybe it is only a reflection of personality, but I suspect we will have quicker success with small projects like this, projects
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jul 19, 2000
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                    > Sounds like you were writing about the "Tandy Center" in Fort Worth, Texas.
                    > http://www.startext.net/homes/railscene/tandy/tandy.htm
                    > Even though it connects a mall to a parking lot, theoretically it could be
                    > expanded.

                    Nice link. Thanks.

                    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.

                    Martha
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