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Re: What about the weather? again..

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  • Tuomo Valkonen
    ... Skis. I would love to move relatively short (and not too hilly... but there s already a well-tested solution to that) distances by skis in the winter[*].
    Message 1 of 30 , Feb 7, 2008
      On 2008-02-07, Don <fsstudio@...> wrote:
      > Weather/temperature/nighttime ?
      > - covered walk ways?
      > - over/underground pathways; subway without the train?
      > - other people moving systems?

      Skis.

      I would love to move relatively short (and not too hilly... but
      there's already a well-tested solution to that) distances by skis
      in the winter[*]. Skiing is faster than walking, but not as chilly
      as bicycling, demanding more warming motion (unfortunately meaning
      it's also more sweaty business). Another nice thing about skis is
      that it's easy to carry them in (the hypothetical) public transport,
      unlike bicycles. They also don't demand so much "parking" space,
      if any.

      But presently skiing has been reduced from an utility sport into mere
      entertainment and fitness even more so than bicycling: you can't well
      ski anywhere in cities (around here anyway), because all the paths are
      gritted, and intersect the dry asphalt where the metal cages live.

      Given a wide bicycle bouleward as in the Reference Design, I think
      even half (one lane) of it should be reserved for skiing in the
      winter (skating style space in the middle, plus classic tracks to
      each direction on both sides of it), assuming there's going to be
      any winters anymore. On other streets there could also be at least
      a single classic skiing track, but skating style demands too much
      space in most places.

      ---

      [*] I define winter as "when there's snow". These past two years
      there hasn't been much of a winter. Even now it's about +1C and
      something wet is falling from the skies, wheras typically the
      temperatures at this time of the year can reach -30C or so. One
      really annoying effect of snowless non-winter is that the metal
      cages still have studded tyres under them, and without snow and
      ice for the studs to bite into, and snow to act as a dampener,
      the noise levels are simply infernal.

      At those -30C tempatures, and over relatively short distances (of
      less than 5km or so), I've actually found the major challenges to
      bicycling to be not the so much the cold as such, but a) failing
      equipment, such a crankarms cracking, b) having to leave the bicycle
      outside for the day, so that the gears, breaks, and the chain
      freeze over, c) trying to avoid losing the breath, because
      breathing gets difficult in the cold air.

      In fact, the worst time for bicycling is when the snow starts
      melting, which hasn't recently been restricted to the spring.
      Then you're practically swimming in the slush, because road
      maintenance takes precedence if there's any multi-use path
      maintenance at all -- no proper bicycle paths here -- and the
      slush from the road just gets pushed on these paths. Also
      during the winter the snow from the road is piled on the
      sides of the multi-use path, making it even narrower, and
      adding to the slush.

      --
      Tuomo
    • Doug Salzmann
      Folks, we need to get back to the real world, here. In the real world, some 30% to 40% of the population (depending upon what studies you accept) is at least
      Message 2 of 30 , Feb 7, 2008
        Folks, we need to get back to the real world, here.

        In the real world, some 30% to 40% of the population (depending upon
        what studies you accept) is at least partially disabled
        (mobility-impaired) for some period of time during an average year.

        As the saying goes, it happens; and it doesn't take much.

        How far will you ski with a raging headache? Cycle with a sprained
        ankle, or on a creaky day when you're 83 years old? Roller skate in a
        buffalo herd?

        The answer is, "Not very far," and should probably taken as about the
        same as the "design distance" between home or work and the nearest
        transit halt.

        Cycling, skiing, small-wheeled transport -- all are fine for those who
        desire to, and are able to, use them (provided they don't threaten or
        intrude upon pedestrian movement), but they cannot be relied upon by an
        entire population.

        The answers to the carfree mobility problem are in the design of the
        built environment and the design and operation of the transit system.
        Both are covered rather comprehensively in Joel's book.


        -Doug


        Tuomo Valkonen wrote:
        >
        >
        > On 2008-02-07, Don <fsstudio@...
        > <mailto:fsstudio%40suscom-maine.net>> wrote:
        > > Weather/temperature/nighttime ?
        > > - covered walk ways?
        > > - over/underground pathways; subway without the train?
        > > - other people moving systems?
        >
        > Skis.
        >
        > I would love to move relatively short (and not too hilly... but
        > there's already a well-tested solution to that) distances by skis
        > in the winter[*]. Skiing is faster than walking, but not as chilly
        > as bicycling, demanding more warming motion (unfortunately meaning
        > it's also more sweaty business). Another nice thing about skis is
        > that it's easy to carry them in (the hypothetical) public transport,
        > unlike bicycles. They also don't demand so much "parking" space,
        > if any.



        --
        ==========================
        Doug Salzmann
        Post Office Box 378
        Tiburon, California 94920
        USA

        <doug@...>
      • Richard Risemberg
        ... Agreed. However, I think the original poster was referring to a human-powered city, which would indicate no mass transit either. Not practical, except for
        Message 3 of 30 , Feb 7, 2008
          On Feb 7, 2008, at 9:28 AM, Doug Salzmann wrote:

          > The answers to the carfree mobility problem are in the design of the
          > built environment and the design and operation of the transit system.
          > Both are covered rather comprehensively in Joel's book.


          Agreed. However, I think the original poster was referring to a
          human-powered city, which would indicate no mass transit either. Not
          practical, except for fairly small villages.

          Also (and this is something I have gone over on the Urban Ecology
          list at length), we have to consider that survival and cultural
          continuation require that we live in harmony with the weather. This
          means traveling less in winter, not requiring accommodation so that
          we can travel when we are sick or injured, not having cheap tomatoes
          in January in the northern hemisphere, etc. Maybe not living in some
          places that just require to much energy comfortably to accommodate
          humans.

          On the other hand, a largely human-powered city, which means in real
          life mostly walking and bicycling, has been shown statistically to
          reduce disability throughout life. In Japan and northern Europe,
          people bicycle quite unheroically through the winter at advanced
          ages, as well as very young ages.

          And even now, even in the US, cyclists live longer and are disabled
          less frequently than the general population, despite the perception
          of inconvenience and danger. If I recall the Fed's stats on
          accidents correctly, the death rate per million miles traveled is
          very slightly less for cyclists than for motorists.

          In Copenhagen, where well over 30% of all utility trips are done on
          bicycles, and no one wears helmets, there were only six deaths from
          cycling accidents in 2006. Copenhageners cycle over 1,000,000 kms
          daily on average. This despite snow, rain, cold, and cars. Only 17%
          of Copenhageners cycle for "exercise or recreation"; the rest is
          utility riding.

          Here's a link to the (PDF) report from Copenhagen's city government:
          http://www.sfbike.org/download/copenhagen/bicycle_account_2006.pdf

          There is a tram system there; does anyone on this list know whether
          they have a metro?

          Rick
          --
          Richard Risemberg
          http://www.bicyclefixation.com
          http://www.newcolonist.com
          http://www.rickrise.com







          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Erik Sandblom
          ... on ... from ... 17% ... whether ... They have a lovely new driverless metro, and you can even take bikes on it! Full size, non-folding, perfectly normal
          Message 4 of 30 , Feb 7, 2008
            --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, Richard Risemberg
            <rickrise@...> wrote:
            >
            > In Copenhagen, where well over 30% of all utility trips are done
            on
            > bicycles, and no one wears helmets, there were only six deaths
            from
            > cycling accidents in 2006. Copenhageners cycle over 1,000,000 kms
            > daily on average. This despite snow, rain, cold, and cars. Only
            17%
            > of Copenhageners cycle for "exercise or recreation"; the rest is
            > utility riding.
            >
            > Here's a link to the (PDF) report from Copenhagen's city government:
            > http://www.sfbike.org/download/copenhagen/bicycle_account_2006.pdf
            >
            > There is a tram system there; does anyone on this list know
            whether
            > they have a metro?


            They have a lovely new driverless metro, and you can even take bikes
            on it! Full size, non-folding, perfectly normal bikes: Pictures:

            http://eriksandblom.blogspot.com/2007/12/kbenhavn-2.html
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copenhagen_Metro

            Erik Sandblom
          • Erik Sandblom
            ... upon ... This is news to me. Where can I read more about it? Not having read the studies you refer to, I suspect this thinking is part of a mentality which
            Message 5 of 30 , Feb 7, 2008
              --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, Doug Salzmann <doug@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              > Folks, we need to get back to the real world, here.
              >
              > In the real world, some 30% to 40% of the population (depending
              upon
              > what studies you accept) is at least partially disabled
              > (mobility-impaired) for some period of time during an average year.



              This is news to me. Where can I read more about it?

              Not having read the studies you refer to, I suspect this thinking is
              part of a mentality which says that self-locomotion like walking,
              cycling or skiing is terribly strenuous and tiring. I find I can do
              15-30 minutes of gentle walking or cycling per day, even if I have a
              fever. It makes me more tired than when I'm not sick, but what
              doesn't? If I can't even do that, I don't have the energy to leave
              the apartment anyway.

              Cycling along a bike path with little or no car traffic is hardly
              more strenuous than riding a crowded, noisy subway train and having
              to stand and hold on.

              Another suspicion I have is that people might not connect/listen to
              their bodies to determine how much effort they can afford while sick.
              I can see lying down for five minutes at work if you cycled there
              with a fever. That's a good way to check that you don't overextend
              yourself. If you fall asleep deeply, you probably needed to sleep :-)

              Skiing to work is not as far-fetched as it sounds. In Ottawa, Canada,
              the canal freezes and people can skate to work.
              http://www.ottawakiosk.com/skating.html
              http://www.google.com/search?q=ottawa+skate+to+work


              > Cycling, skiing, small-wheeled transport -- all are fine for those
              who
              > desire to, and are able to, use them (provided they don't threaten
              or
              > intrude upon pedestrian movement), but they cannot be relied upon
              by an
              > entire population.
              >
              > The answers to the carfree mobility problem are in the design of
              the
              > built environment and the design and operation of the transit
              system.
              > Both are covered rather comprehensively in Joel's book.


              As I recall, the book doesn't mention people who are sick. Or does it
              mention electric wheelchairs? It does mention the 760m diametre of
              each district and that going anywhere will require 5-10 minutes of
              walking plus up to 25 minutes of riding the subway. I believe this is
              comparable to 10-20 minutes of walking, cycling or skiing. 20 minutes
              of sedate cycling will get you about five km or three miles. 40% of
              urban travel in the USA is shorter than two miles.
              http://www.2milechallenge.com/home.html

              So I believe cycling, walking and skiing has potential even when you
              are sick with a fever.

              Erik Sandblom
            • Don
              ... . I want to clarify that I didn t intend for this discussion to apply only to places without mass transit. Not at all. That is just one of the many
              Message 6 of 30 , Feb 9, 2008
                >
                > Agreed. However, I think the original poster was referring to a
                > human-powered city, which would indicate no mass transit either. Not
                > practical, except for fairly small villages.
                .
                I want to clarify that I didn't intend for this discussion to apply
                only to places without mass transit. Not at all. That is just one of
                the many destinations that must be reachable by walking/biking.


                > Cycling, skiing, small-wheeled transport -- all are fine for those
                > who desire to, and are able to, use them (provided they don't
                > threaten or intrude upon pedestrian movement), but they cannot be
                > relied upon by an entire population.

                This is right to my point and the crux of my question. All that
                everyone here has said about the ability to bike in weather, the
                benefits to general health, the percentage of this or that in whatever
                city, are all very true and very important. But Doug gets the
                question. What about everyone else, no matter what percentage they
                are? Everyone lives here (wherever we are), and, again, I wonder
                about what accommodations have been considered for times when, by
                choice or necessity, walking/biking is not the mode of choice.. I am
                really fishing for alternatives for inescapable hinderances like
                weather or disability or age. I wanted to pose the question and throw
                my ideas out there to invite others' creative thoughts and
                discoveries, not just rationale for ped/bike use, which needs no
                justification.

                > Here's a link to the (PDF) report from Copenhagen's city government:
                > http://www.sfbike.org/download/copenhagen/bicycle_account_2006.pdf
                .
                .
                > They have a lovely new driverless metro, and you can even take bikes
                > on it! Full size, non-folding, perfectly normal bikes: Pictures:
                >
                > http://eriksandblom.blogspot.com/2007/12/kbenhavn-2.html
                > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copenhagen_Metro

                Thanks for the links. The Copenhagen bike pdf is very interesting.
                Great metro idea! (Copenhagen seems to really have its sh*t together
                on this!) Light rail is a key element in the granularity of
                transportation infrastructure. I have seen other references to 'people
                movers', an even more fine grained mass transit solution, but possibly
                too expensive in many cases.

                Another weather interdiction strategy I saw recently, right out of
                antiquity (duh), was to include arcades along pedestrian ways.

                Don
              • Richard Risemberg
                ... That s what community and family are for, and social and government structures that value help given to the incapacitated--and values it not only in
                Message 7 of 30 , Feb 10, 2008
                  On Feb 9, 2008, at 8:27 PM, Don wrote:

                  > But Doug gets the
                  > question. What about everyone else, no matter what percentage they
                  > are? Everyone lives here (wherever we are), and, again, I wonder
                  > about what accommodations have been considered for times when, by
                  > choice or necessity, walking/biking is not the mode of choice


                  That's what community and family are for, and social and government
                  structures that value help given to the incapacitated--and values it
                  not only in speeches but in hard cash, say, in payments to family
                  members who are helping an aged relative or disabled child, or to
                  caregivers who can push a wheelchair (perhaps a wheelchair that
                  doubles as a bicycle trailer), without the air of disparagement
                  towards such helpers, whether voluntary or paid, that the present
                  competitive society imposes.

                  Anyway, it's way easier to get a wheelchair onto any metro train here
                  in LA than it is to get it into a car. In fact, it's easier to get it
                  onto a bus equipped with the (required) lift than to jockey it into a
                  car, and then get your disabled self in to drive it.

                  And as a motorcyclist throughout my twenties, I've done crutch time too.

                  Rick
                  --
                  Richard Risemberg
                  http://www.bicyclefixation.com
                  http://www.newcolonist.com
                  http://www.rickrise.com







                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • kyle3054
                  ... I was recently told by a person that public transport will never be widely accepted because it can never be door-to-door. I said, it can never be
                  Message 8 of 30 , Feb 16, 2008
                    "Erik Sandblom" <eriksandblom@...> wrote:

                    > Not having read the studies you refer to, I suspect this thinking is
                    > part of a mentality which says that self-locomotion like walking,
                    > cycling or skiing is terribly strenuous and tiring.

                    I was recently told by a person that public transport will never be
                    widely accepted because "it can never be door-to-door." I said, "it
                    can never be door-to-door, but in most of a city it should be able to
                    get you within 1km of where you want to go, 15 minutes' walk is not
                    going to cause you great suffering."

                    Cheers,
                    Kyle
                    http://greenwithagun.blogspot.com/
                  • Christopher Miller
                    When you really think about door to door transport, it really turns out to be something of a canard. Sure, we endlessly hear from those who fervently believe
                    Message 9 of 30 , Feb 16, 2008
                      When you really think about "door to door" transport, it really turns
                      out to be something of a canard.

                      Sure, we endlessly hear from those who fervently believe in the
                      advantages of private automobiles that they are so much more
                      "convenient" and get you from door to door etc. Fact is, in most
                      cases, the only door you are more or less assured of getting to
                      directly with a car is either your suburban detached home or your in-
                      town duplex or triplex. If you live iin an apartment building you
                      have to travel between your door and either the parking garage or
                      where it is sitting out there in the parking lot or somewhere most
                      likely down the street. And when it comes to directions, whether you
                      are shopping at a mall, going to work or visiting someone, most of
                      the time you have to park it way away from the "door" in question and
                      walk for a minute or two between the car and said entrance, or if you
                      are in town, you have to park somewhere down the road, away on
                      another nearby street, or in a parking lot some way away and -- again
                      -- walk the distance to the door at the end of your itinerary. Which
                      is more enjoyable/taxing, I wonder, a three or four minute walk
                      between the bus/tram/metro stop and your house/shopping/work/school,
                      or a probably equivalent walk between your car and a similar
                      destination?

                      To look briefly at the flip side of the coin, public transit does not
                      necessarily entail long walks to or from the stop: in many cases, you
                      do end up pretty close to your destination door the way most bus
                      stops are spaced (at least in more built up areas). And of course, by
                      bicycle or other human powered transport modes, you have a way better
                      chance of starting from the origin door and ending up pretty close to
                      the destination door, and in where you can combine this with public
                      transit, the advantage gets even better for longer distances.

                      There certainly is a "by the door" advantage for drivers living in
                      relatively low density housing, but I would venture to say that the
                      "by the door" advantage is probably with public transit users once in
                      town...



                      Anyone seeing weaknesses in my viewpoint is of course welcome to
                      challenge them, but I think this contrary viewpoint is worth
                      following up: has anyone actually done studies of relative "door to
                      door" convenience of different transportation modes, taking into
                      account the nature of the home base and the destination?


                      On 16-Feb-08, at 6:29 AM, kyle3054 wrote:

                      > "Erik Sandblom" <eriksandblom@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > > Not having read the studies you refer to, I suspect this thinking is
                      > > part of a mentality which says that self-locomotion like walking,
                      > > cycling or skiing is terribly strenuous and tiring.
                      >
                      > I was recently told by a person that public transport will never be
                      > widely accepted because "it can never be door-to-door." I said, "it
                      > can never be door-to-door, but in most of a city it should be able to
                      > get you within 1km of where you want to go, 15 minutes' walk is not
                      > going to cause you great suffering."
                      >
                      > Cheers,
                      > Kyle
                      > http://greenwithagun.blogspot.com/
                      >


                      Christopher Miller
                      Montreal QC Canada



                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • manfrommars_43
                      ... Except when you are transporting things such as groceries, furniture, clothing and so on. The car is not just a people transport, it s a truck for bringing
                      Message 10 of 30 , Feb 16, 2008
                        --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "kyle3054" <KyleSchuant@...> wrote:

                        > as recently told by a person that public transport will never be
                        > widely accepted because "it can never be door-to-door." I said, "it
                        > can never be door-to-door, but in most of a city it should be able to
                        > get you within 1km of where you want to go, 15 minutes' walk is not
                        > going to cause you great suffering."

                        Except when you are transporting things such as groceries, furniture,
                        clothing and so on.

                        The car is not just a people transport, it's a truck for bringing in
                        the goods to the home.

                        That's one of the big omissions in thinking in carfree design, they
                        are not accounting for the vast economic efficiencies of letting
                        individuals make the last mile transport of goods to the home. This
                        has lead to very efficient constructs such as the warehouse store.
                      • J.H. Crawford
                        ... A week spent in Manhattan would reveal that most people don t use cars to transport groceries and clothing. (Most people don t even have cars.) Small carts
                        Message 11 of 30 , Feb 16, 2008
                          A recent posting says, regarding public transport convenience:

                          >Except when you are transporting things such as groceries, furniture,
                          >clothing and so on.

                          A week spent in Manhattan would reveal that most people
                          don't use cars to transport groceries and clothing. (Most
                          people don't even have cars.) Small carts are used for heavy
                          loads of groceries, and furniture is delivered.

                          >The car is not just a people transport, it's a truck for bringing in
                          >the goods to the home.

                          It's one way to do it, yes.

                          >That's one of the big omissions in thinking in carfree design, they
                          >are not accounting for the vast economic efficiencies of letting
                          >individuals make the last mile transport of goods to the home. This
                          >has lead to very efficient constructs such as the warehouse store.

                          Actually, the big box stores are very INefficient, because they
                          require people to drive vast distances to use them. (They cannot
                          survive without huge catchment areas.) So, they offer very low
                          prices, but at the cost of externalizing huge transport costs
                          to the larger society. WalMart's "greening" is just window dressing.
                          The only way to green WalMart is to close it.

                          Best,

                          Joel




                          ----- ### -----
                          J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                          mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
                        • Richard Risemberg
                          ... Last year we got a large armoire from my wife s sister. Between my wife, her sister, and the sister s boyfriend, they own I think 5 cars, two of which are
                          Message 12 of 30 , Feb 16, 2008
                            On Feb 16, 2008, at 2:00 PM, manfrommars_43 wrote:

                            > Except when you are transporting things such as groceries, furniture,
                            > clothing and so on.
                            >
                            > The car is not just a people transport, it's a truck for bringing in
                            > the goods to the home.
                            >
                            > That's one of the big omissions in thinking in carfree design, they
                            > are not accounting for the vast economic efficiencies of letting
                            > individuals make the last mile transport of goods to the home. This
                            > has lead to very efficient constructs such as the warehouse store.


                            Last year we got a large armoire from my wife's sister. Between my
                            wife, her sister, and the sister's boyfriend, they own I think 5
                            cars, two of which are SUVs. None of them could carry the armoire,
                            so we rented a van.

                            I shopped for groceries for a family of three for years on a standard
                            bicycles with dedicated grocery carryalls attached to the rack. An
                            Xtracycle (cheap attachments to stretch a standard mountain bike)can
                            carry six bags of groceries. A Dutch bakfiets ("box bike") can carry
                            three kids and two adults, or a few bags of cement; a longjohn cargo
                            bike can carry a washing machine.

                            Bikes at Work in Iowa runs a year-round haulage service using their
                            own design of bicycle cargo trailers to carry loads approaching 1,000
                            pounds.

                            Okay, you can't ride a bicycle at all--your religion prohibits it.
                            Okay,ka s Joel has pointed out in his book, you have cheap electric
                            pallet jack rentals at Metro stops for precisely that purpose. Bring
                            'em back the next day, or pass the rental on to someone else, using
                            the management systems developed for the Paris VeloLib bike rental
                            system.

                            Quit making excuses to drive. And don't forget that Metro-to-home
                            carry distances will be far shorter in a Crawfordian carfree city
                            than in a autocentric city where the need for wide roads and lots of
                            parking forces everything to be spread out.

                            Quote from an English fellow living in the Dutch town of Assen: "We
                            recently employed an electrician to work on our house. Much to my
                            surprise, he turned up on a bike. When he needed assistance, a second
                            electrician turned up - also on his bike."

                            Read the whole article here:
                            http://www.citycycling.co.uk/issue31/issue31page33.html

                            We can't let ourselves be trapped by old assumptions.

                            Rick
                            --
                            Richard Risemberg
                            http://www.bicyclefixation.com
                            http://www.newcolonist.com
                            http://www.rickrise.com
                          • Erik Sandblom
                            ... Not just to society, but to their very own customers as well. If your only real reason to own a car is to go to warehouses, than that s a very expensive
                            Message 13 of 30 , Feb 17, 2008
                              --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...>
                              wrote:
                              > >
                              > >That's one of the big omissions in thinking in carfree design, they
                              > >are not accounting for the vast economic efficiencies of letting
                              > >individuals make the last mile transport of goods to the home. This
                              > >has lead to very efficient constructs such as the warehouse store.
                              >
                              > Actually, the big box stores are very INefficient, because they
                              > require people to drive vast distances to use them. (They cannot
                              > survive without huge catchment areas.) So, they offer very low
                              > prices, but at the cost of externalizing huge transport costs
                              > to the larger society.


                              Not just to society, but to their very own customers as well. If your
                              only real reason to own a car is to go to warehouses, than that's a
                              very expensive way to go to warehouses. And as others have pointed
                              out, cars are too small and delicate to take things like furniture
                              anyway, which is why warehouses offer delivery.

                              Erik Sandblom
                            • Don
                              ... wrote:. ... Firstly I want to say I had no idea when I started this thread that such a fantastic discussion would follow. Glad I
                              Message 14 of 30 , Feb 17, 2008
                                --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Erik Sandblom"
                                <eriksandblom@...> wrote:.
                                > >
                                > > Actually, the big box stores are very INefficient, because they
                                > > require people to drive vast distances to use them. (They cannot
                                > > survive without huge catchment areas.) So, they offer very low
                                > > prices, but at the cost of externalizing huge transport costs
                                > > to the larger society.
                                >
                                >
                                > Not just to society, but to their very own customers as well. If your
                                > only real reason to own a car is to go to warehouses, than that's a
                                > very expensive way to go to warehouses. And as others have pointed
                                > out, cars are too small and delicate to take things like furniture
                                > anyway, which is why warehouses offer delivery.
                                >
                                > Erik Sandblom
                                >
                                Firstly I want to say I had no idea when I started this thread that
                                such a fantastic discussion would follow. Glad I brought it up!

                                I've come to this site as a result of doing a research paper on
                                sustainability as part of my architectural studies (Univesity of Maine
                                at Augusta, pass it on..). J.H. Crawford's book was a great resource,
                                and I have thought about much of it quite often recently, with this
                                site spurring me on.

                                Of the many obvious but invisible things JC pointed out was this very
                                fact that we as individuals are providing a dispersed distribution
                                network for the big box warehouses. That these stores are warehouses
                                is the revelation. Duh. And that it is necessary to walk across acres
                                of pavement after burning gas at $3/gal is just as telling. If only
                                the mindset of the masses could be tweaked to see the obvious (as I was).

                                As a student of architecture, still able to deal with the essence of
                                design before having to deal with the complexities of real practice, I
                                am able to see that it is the importance and loss of human scale that
                                is one of the worst aspects of this. My research paper focused on the
                                aspects of carfree v carfull neighborhoods on the
                                individual/family/neighborhood psychologically and culturally. It is
                                human contact at human scale, without intervening miles of pavement
                                (that doesn't seem that big from within a car at 70mph) that is lost
                                to us and our families and friends (or future friends we may never meet).
                              • manfrommars_43
                                ... Yes, but look at how much energy it takes to bring goods in and out of Manhattan. You can postulate that, oh yes, see how dense population is and how
                                Message 15 of 30 , Feb 17, 2008
                                  --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...>
                                  wrote:

                                  > A week spent in Manhattan would reveal that most people
                                  > don't use cars to transport groceries and clothing.

                                  Yes, but look at how much energy it takes to bring goods in and out of
                                  Manhattan. You can postulate that, oh yes, see how dense population
                                  is and how people can walk down to the corner grocery and get their
                                  tomatoes and they all walk everywhere...but what did it take to get
                                  those tomatoes through the bridges and tunnels and streets so that a
                                  few apartment dwellers can walk to get that tomato.

                                  My point (which, yes, I know I have made before) is that I worry that
                                  these plans merely shift or reallocate one efficiency for another.

                                  The other thing that really worries me is that inefficient systems,
                                  however distasteful, also provide a measure of freedom, redundancy and
                                  remove dependence on single points of failure. For example, when the
                                  bus union goes on strike, do people then starve? Does the corner
                                  grocery, seeing that people can only walk there, mark up prices sky
                                  high, because he knows he has a captive audience?

                                  Another thing: cars are not just transportation...they are powerful
                                  tools. We talk about Americans having guns so they can never be
                                  subverted by the government, but a car is a two ton machine that each
                                  and every family can have that can transport goods, people. The car
                                  can shape the land by letting people choose where they want to go.

                                  The proclivity of planners to create a Habitrail environment, assuming
                                  that humans will want to take the same path now and forever, shopping
                                  at the same store...well...something's missing.
                                • Richard Risemberg
                                  ... it s been computed, my lad, and it s far FAR more efficient to have a even trucks bring large quantities of tomatoes into a neighborhood for people to pick
                                  Message 16 of 30 , Feb 17, 2008
                                    On Feb 17, 2008, at 2:52 PM, manfrommars_43 wrote:

                                    > Yes, but look at how much energy it takes to bring goods in and out of
                                    > Manhattan. You can postulate that, oh yes, see how dense population
                                    > is and how people can walk down to the corner grocery and get their
                                    > tomatoes and they all walk everywhere...but what did it take to get
                                    > those tomatoes through the bridges and tunnels and streets so that a
                                    > few apartment dwellers can walk to get that tomato.


                                    it's been computed, my lad, and it's far FAR more efficient to have a
                                    even trucks bring large quantities of tomatoes into a neighborhood
                                    for people to pick up on foot, than for those same trucks to stop a
                                    little short, at some land-grabbing bigbox, and require people to
                                    make hundreds or car trips to pick up said tomatoes.

                                    As far as the car as a tool, yes, it's become a tool for isolation,
                                    for mindless self-aggrandizement, for destruction of both culture and
                                    the earth itself. Cars are inimical to community, and lead to an
                                    atomized population that never knows its neighbors or where it stands
                                    on the earth.

                                    As for your "habitrail" bullshit, Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and
                                    many other delightful cities with a real culture and a light
                                    footprint on the earth are built around transit and walking,
                                    accommodating very few cars per capita. They are the places everyone
                                    loves to visit and would live in if they could. Paris has TWICE the
                                    population density of New York and was not a robotic hell last time I
                                    visited.

                                    Get real.

                                    Rick
                                    --
                                    Richard Risemberg
                                    http://www.bicyclefixation.com
                                    http://www.newcolonist.com
                                    http://www.rickrise.com







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