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Life Without Cars

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  • J.H. Crawford
    This bog may be interesting to folks on this list: http://www.newworldeconomics.com/archives/2008/122108.html Life Without Cars December 21, 2008 Life used to
    Message 1 of 9 , Dec 23, 2008
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      This bog may be interesting to folks on this list:

      http://www.newworldeconomics.com/archives/2008/122108.html



      Life Without Cars



      December 21, 2008



      Life used to be without cars. Before 1925 or so, only the wealthy had automobiles, and before 1900 nobody did. Most of the cities and civilizations of the world were developed without cars. Indeed, I would argue that there really hasn't been much in the way of cities and civilizations built since cars became common. Try to name the top ten achievements of European culture after 1950. Name the top ten built environments created after 1950.

      However, it is hard today for many to imagine a world without cars. This is because we've created an environment in which cars are something close to a necessity. You might as well ask people 40 feet underwater if they can imagine a world without SCUBA gear. So, what we really need to imagine here is not trying to live in a car-dependent wasteland without a car, but rather an environment in which a car is unnecessary and even a useless pain in the butt. Just try to climb Mt. Rainier with your SCUBA gear on. When you are halfway up Mt. Rainier, it becomes very easy to imagine life without SCUBA.

      The funny thing is, Life Without Cars (I've done it) is actually a lot of fun. There is no hardship or privation involved. It's cheaper, too, which means everyone can play. Probably the closest many Americans have come to a Life Without Cars is the time they may have spent at a residential university. The university campus is about the best example of a no-car-needed environment you'll find in the U.S. these days. And wasn't it fun? Yes, you can have a car for the occasional weekend trip, but on the other hand, you might spend all your time on campus and not want even for that.

      There is talk now about finally building out some rail lines in the U.S. I was talking with a friend of mine who is not really a railroad fan. "But, the costs aren't justified!" he said. Hey, this is government work in the year 2008. You better believe the costs won't be justified. They will be padded on the order of hundreds of percent. The U.S. government today is mostly a money-laundering operation. When you're engaging in huge "stimulus" spending, the goal is not whether the benefits justify the costs. The goal is to be left with anything worthwhile at all, once the smoke clears from setting all that money afire. I saw the Japanese government spend enormous amounts on all kinds of stuff. The most worthwhile projects were the train projects. The majority of the spending created nothing of value.

      Look at the pretty girls!

      OK, now look at the environment they are in. This is in Kyoto. It is not indoors, it is outdoors. Howdya like that street? Is it Really Narrow or what?

      Now look at the lights. These are signs for little stores -- mostly bars, clubs and restaurants. We can see probably a dozen signs in this picture.

      Mmmmm....girls....booze....

      Now look at the girls again, especially the fabulous clothes they are wearing. Fits right in, doesn't it? You can't wear this sort of thing in an automobile-dominated environment. Maybe a short taxi ride, but you aren't going to go shopping at the Big Box Mart in such glorious fashion.

      Would you believe that, before 1910 or so, everyone dressed like this? In Europe or elsewhere in Asia as well, everyone (who wasn't dirt poor) had stunning clothes. Men too. It's not like the Japanese were total nutjobs or something. This was normal.

      Would you believe people wore this stuff every day? Rich people, admittedly. But, even so. (Tissot, 1875)

      Tissot, 1877. Just a Saturday laying around the house.

      Look at how the home is furnished. Wow! There is an aesthetic sophistication here that we come nowhere close to today. Yes, I know this is "old fashioned" and that we are all supposed to lust for the All White New York Apartment, or whatever they are pitching in the Pottery Barn catalog this Christmas. It is very clear to me that people a hundred years ago accomplished vastly more than people today. This is because, I argue, they lived in a built environment which had not yet been destroyed by cars.

      A pretty girl. (Whistler, 1882)

      Even when people are relatively poor, they dress well, if they are not in an automobile environment.

      Traditional Vietnamese women's wear. All custom tailored. Yes, regular women really do dress like this every day. Or, they used to, when they didn't have cars (in the mid-1990s when I was last there.) I think they're wearing mostly western clothes these days. Too bad.

      Balinese women in traditional wear.

      I don't know why I stuck this in here, except that it doesn't have a car. Chinese junk in Halong Bay, Vietnam. Seems like there could be some sort of interesting no-car lifestyle attached.

      So, you might be wondering -- what's with the girls? I figure city-building tends to be men's work. How about if we build an environment in which women can wear this sort of thing and not feel like a freak? That might be fun. (Besides, all advertisers know that if you want to sell something, you have to stick a pretty girl in the picture. Seeing as I'm mostly selling alternative street width, I figure I better sprinkle some chicks in there.)

      That's today's message.

      Life Without Cars Is Fun.



      Matera, a small town in Italy. If the town you lived in looked like this, you wouldn't have to get on a plane and go to Italy.

      Matera again.

      Amalfi Coast, Italy.

      Harajuku, Tokyo.

      Look at the girls....

      OK, this is more of a contemporary theme. We don't have to get in a time machine and imitate the habits of 100 years ago. However, despite the aesthetic differences, this is still Life Without Cars. We can appreciate the accomplishments of those prior generations, and use them to help make something even better. Look at the street. This is outdoors, not indoors. Note that it is Really Narrow. Look at all the fun stuff all over the place. It's a big playground.

      The "contemporary" versions of Life Without Cars are not nearly as aesthetically sophisticated as the traditional versions. But, they are still pretty good, and have their own charms.

      See also that we are not in a Hypertrophic City, with supergigantic buildings linked with superhighways. No helicopter perspective here.

      <http://www.newworldeconomics.com/archives/2008/072008.html>July 20, 2008: The Traditional City vs. the "Radiant City"

      <http://www.newworldeconomics.com/archives/2008/081008.html>August 10, 2008: Visions of Future Cities

      Life Without Cars can be more interesting at every level. Once you get the cars out of the picture, architecture tends to be a lot more interesting.

      Life Without Cars circa 1787

      Paris, possibly 1880s.


      The way people lived. Nineteenth-century house in Saratoga Springs, NY.

      Santorini, Greece

      Santorini, closer up. Not a place you'd want to drive. Trust me.

      Old Shanghai

      Japanese village

      Retaurants in Napoli, Italy. Note the Really Narrowness of the street.



      As for the how-to, it's easy. Sometimes you need to get from Point A to Point B. You either walk or take the train. Problem solved.

      I hope you got a flavor of what it is like to be in an environment in which a car is not necessary, and is in fact an irrelevant encumbrance. Humans have about 5000 years of experience in building environments like these, so it shouldn't be too difficult.

      People are starting to sense that the mcmansion/big box/superhighway fantasy is coming to an end. It was a failed experiment. We will have a chance to do something new. Some people will get rich building no-car environments that people want to live in.

      Please don't build a lot of dogshit. We already did that once. It is really not necessary.



      Smells like dogshit, looks like dogshit, feels like dogshit, sounds like dogshit, tastes like dogshit ...





      ----- ### -----
      J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
      mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
    • manfredstrobl
      you are right. a car-free lifestyle is better and healthier. selling my car has improved my quality of life. i cannot imagine owning a car any more. too
      Message 2 of 9 , Dec 24, 2008
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        you are right. a car-free lifestyle is better and healthier.
        selling my car has improved my quality of life.
        i cannot imagine owning a car any more. too unhealthy and too
        inconvenient: where to park it, fines, insurance, payments and on and
        on and on. yesterday i went to the supermarket at minus 30 degrees in
        the snow. the ride is about 30 minutes. i was sweating.
        i live in the cleanest city in the world, air quality is great,
        services are excellent: 400 kilometers of biking pathes get cleared
        from the snow immediately.

        on my travels i am trying to find a place for years that comes close.
        a place that is unpolluted, gives bikes and pedestrians a priority and
        favours car-free living. reason is that i like beaches, golf and
        tennis all year.

        the closest place from here is seattle/portland. good infrastructure,
        biking is a priority, portland tax-free etc. unfortunately it is
        raining half of the year, not suited for biking.

        next is california. lots of initiatives for biking. san diego is good.
        davis is great:
        http://cityofdavis.org/bicycles/streetfilms.cfm
        children in davis do not know what a school bus is!! theybike to
        school and they do not become obese like all the other children in the us.

        central and south america are impossible for biking. the air quality
        is so bad in the cities that anyone who tries will get pulminary
        diseases within days.
        there are exceptions:
        curitiba is the best city for biking, priority for busses and a
        network of biking pathes, air quality bad but not as bad as in any
        other city in south america.
        bogota has biking pathes, dont even think about using them (air), same
        as santiago.

        that is it in america. you have to go to europe in order to live
        car-free (safely and healthy):
        the best in europe is holland, the netherlands to be correct, holland
        is a part of the netherlands. most people dont know that. biking is
        great anywhere in the netherlands.
        copenhagen is another great biking city where many people live carless.

        northern europe is great for car-free living and so is central europe:
        norway,sweden,finland,germany,switzerland,austria
        southern and eastern europe are terrible for biking, they are still
        stuck in the car-culture.
        cost of living is extremely high in europe due to the bloated euro,
        depending on the country 50%-100% higher than in america.

        forget about car-free in asia, most countries are booming, the car is
        given all priorities, bikes are for loosers/poor people only.
        maybe japan is an exception. there are bikes everywhere in japan and
        car sales are going down for years.

        australia and nz are the worst for biking. they are big brother/
        patronising countries where politicians tell people what to do. they
        have introduced stupid laws that make it mandatory to wear a helmet
        when biking!!!
        as a result numbers of bikers have gone down dramatically. this is the
        best way to stop biking.


        as a summary there are very few places in america where you can live
        car-free safely and comfortably, there are virtually no places in asia
        but there are may places in europe where you can do so.
        in order to have a sunny year-round livestyle there is only san diego
        and davis as far as i know. the netherlands, northern europe and
        central europe are cold and wet in the winter.

        saludos,
        manfred








        --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...>
        wrote:
        >
        >
        > This bog may be interesting to folks on this list:
        >
        > http://www.newworldeconomics.com/archives/2008/122108.html
        >
        >
        >
        > Life Without Cars
        >
        >
        >
        > December 21, 2008
        >
        >
        >
        > Life used to be without cars. Before 1925 or so, only the wealthy
        had automobiles, and before 1900 nobody did. Most of the cities and
        civilizations of the world were developed without cars. Indeed, I
        would argue that there really hasn't been much in the way of cities
        and civilizations built since cars became common. Try to name the top
        ten achievements of European culture after 1950. Name the top ten
        built environments created after 1950.
        >
        > However, it is hard today for many to imagine a world without cars.
        This is because we've created an environment in which cars are
        something close to a necessity. You might as well ask people 40 feet
        underwater if they can imagine a world without SCUBA gear. So, what we
        really need to imagine here is not trying to live in a car-dependent
        wasteland without a car, but rather an environment in which a car is
        unnecessary and even a useless pain in the butt. Just try to climb Mt.
        Rainier with your SCUBA gear on. When you are halfway up Mt. Rainier,
        it becomes very easy to imagine life without SCUBA.
        >
        > The funny thing is, Life Without Cars (I've done it) is actually a
        lot of fun. There is no hardship or privation involved. It's cheaper,
        too, which means everyone can play. Probably the closest many
        Americans have come to a Life Without Cars is the time they may have
        spent at a residential university. The university campus is about the
        best example of a no-car-needed environment you'll find in the U.S.
        these days. And wasn't it fun? Yes, you can have a car for the
        occasional weekend trip, but on the other hand, you might spend all
        your time on campus and not want even for that.
        >
        > There is talk now about finally building out some rail lines in the
        U.S. I was talking with a friend of mine who is not really a railroad
        fan. "But, the costs aren't justified!" he said. Hey, this is
        government work in the year 2008. You better believe the costs won't
        be justified. They will be padded on the order of hundreds of percent.
        The U.S. government today is mostly a money-laundering operation. When
        you're engaging in huge "stimulus" spending, the goal is not whether
        the benefits justify the costs. The goal is to be left with anything
        worthwhile at all, once the smoke clears from setting all that money
        afire. I saw the Japanese government spend enormous amounts on all
        kinds of stuff. The most worthwhile projects were the train projects.
        The majority of the spending created nothing of value.
        >
        > Look at the pretty girls!
        >
        > OK, now look at the environment they are in. This is in Kyoto. It is
        not indoors, it is outdoors. Howdya like that street? Is it Really
        Narrow or what?
        >
        > Now look at the lights. These are signs for little stores -- mostly
        bars, clubs and restaurants. We can see probably a dozen signs in this
        picture.
        >
        > Mmmmm....girls....booze....
        >
        > Now look at the girls again, especially the fabulous clothes they
        are wearing. Fits right in, doesn't it? You can't wear this sort of
        thing in an automobile-dominated environment. Maybe a short taxi ride,
        but you aren't going to go shopping at the Big Box Mart in such
        glorious fashion.
        >
        > Would you believe that, before 1910 or so, everyone dressed like
        this? In Europe or elsewhere in Asia as well, everyone (who wasn't
        dirt poor) had stunning clothes. Men too. It's not like the Japanese
        were total nutjobs or something. This was normal.
        >
        > Would you believe people wore this stuff every day? Rich people,
        admittedly. But, even so. (Tissot, 1875)
        >
        > Tissot, 1877. Just a Saturday laying around the house.
        >
        > Look at how the home is furnished. Wow! There is an aesthetic
        sophistication here that we come nowhere close to today. Yes, I know
        this is "old fashioned" and that we are all supposed to lust for the
        All White New York Apartment, or whatever they are pitching in the
        Pottery Barn catalog this Christmas. It is very clear to me that
        people a hundred years ago accomplished vastly more than people today.
        This is because, I argue, they lived in a built environment which had
        not yet been destroyed by cars.
        >
        > A pretty girl. (Whistler, 1882)
        >
        > Even when people are relatively poor, they dress well, if they are
        not in an automobile environment.
        >
        > Traditional Vietnamese women's wear. All custom tailored. Yes,
        regular women really do dress like this every day. Or, they used to,
        when they didn't have cars (in the mid-1990s when I was last there.) I
        think they're wearing mostly western clothes these days. Too bad.
        >
        > Balinese women in traditional wear.
        >
        > I don't know why I stuck this in here, except that it doesn't have a
        car. Chinese junk in Halong Bay, Vietnam. Seems like there could be
        some sort of interesting no-car lifestyle attached.
        >
        > So, you might be wondering -- what's with the girls? I figure
        city-building tends to be men's work. How about if we build an
        environment in which women can wear this sort of thing and not feel
        like a freak? That might be fun. (Besides, all advertisers know that
        if you want to sell something, you have to stick a pretty girl in the
        picture. Seeing as I'm mostly selling alternative street width, I
        figure I better sprinkle some chicks in there.)
        >
        > That's today's message.
        >
        > Life Without Cars Is Fun.
        >
        >
        >
        > Matera, a small town in Italy. If the town you lived in looked like
        this, you wouldn't have to get on a plane and go to Italy.
        >
        > Matera again.
        >
        > Amalfi Coast, Italy.
        >
        > Harajuku, Tokyo.
        >
        > Look at the girls....
        >
        > OK, this is more of a contemporary theme. We don't have to get in a
        time machine and imitate the habits of 100 years ago. However, despite
        the aesthetic differences, this is still Life Without Cars. We can
        appreciate the accomplishments of those prior generations, and use
        them to help make something even better. Look at the street. This is
        outdoors, not indoors. Note that it is Really Narrow. Look at all the
        fun stuff all over the place. It's a big playground.
        >
        > The "contemporary" versions of Life Without Cars are not nearly as
        aesthetically sophisticated as the traditional versions. But, they are
        still pretty good, and have their own charms.
        >
        > See also that we are not in a Hypertrophic City, with supergigantic
        buildings linked with superhighways. No helicopter perspective here.
        >
        > <http://www.newworldeconomics.com/archives/2008/072008.html>July 20,
        2008: The Traditional City vs. the "Radiant City"
        >
        > <http://www.newworldeconomics.com/archives/2008/081008.html>August
        10, 2008: Visions of Future Cities
        >
        > Life Without Cars can be more interesting at every level. Once you
        get the cars out of the picture, architecture tends to be a lot more
        interesting.
        >
        > Life Without Cars circa 1787
        >
        > Paris, possibly 1880s.
        >
        >
        > The way people lived. Nineteenth-century house in Saratoga Springs, NY.
        >
        > Santorini, Greece
        >
        > Santorini, closer up. Not a place you'd want to drive. Trust me.
        >
        > Old Shanghai
        >
        > Japanese village
        >
        > Retaurants in Napoli, Italy. Note the Really Narrowness of the street.
        >
        >
        >
        > As for the how-to, it's easy. Sometimes you need to get from Point A
        to Point B. You either walk or take the train. Problem solved.
        >
        > I hope you got a flavor of what it is like to be in an environment
        in which a car is not necessary, and is in fact an irrelevant
        encumbrance. Humans have about 5000 years of experience in building
        environments like these, so it shouldn't be too difficult.
        >
        > People are starting to sense that the mcmansion/big box/superhighway
        fantasy is coming to an end. It was a failed experiment. We will have
        a chance to do something new. Some people will get rich building
        no-car environments that people want to live in.
        >
        > Please don't build a lot of dogshit. We already did that once. It is
        really not necessary.
        >
        >
        >
        > Smells like dogshit, looks like dogshit, feels like dogshit, sounds
        like dogshit, tastes like dogshit ...
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > ----- ### -----
        > J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
        > mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
        >
      • Mike Coy
        ... I think your message was a little harsh. I agree that Europe is more supportive of a car-free lifestyle, but even in the USA, one can live car-free safely
        Message 3 of 9 , Dec 24, 2008
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          > as a summary there are very few places in america where you can live
          > car-free safely and comfortably, there are virtually no places in asia
          > but there are may places in europe where you can do so.

          I think your message was a little harsh. I agree that Europe is more
          supportive of a car-free lifestyle, but even in the USA, one can live
          car-free safely and comfortably. What we lack is the high-quality,
          low-car public spaces that can make the experience truly delightful.
          That sort of space is in short supply everywhere, but hopefully will
          be more common in the future... Isn't that the point of this list?

          I don't want anyone to think that they have to move to Europe to live
          car-free; there are many of us that do just fine in the USA without a
          car. It is still the thrifty, responsible, and low-stress choice. As
          more people make that choice, we will all be better off... and
          eventually the powers that be will wake up to the unmet demand for
          car-free areas.

          I think a discussion of the benefits of a car-free lifestyle (with or
          without a car-free built environment) is better suited for the CarFree
          list (carfree@yahoogroups.com).

          Mike Coy
          Car-free in Dayton, Ohio
        • manfredstrobl
          harsh??? how can a message be harsh? the climate can be harsh for biking. if you tell me this is harsh: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUkiyBVytRQ
          Message 4 of 9 , Dec 24, 2008
          • 0 Attachment
            harsh???
            how can a message be harsh?
            the climate can be harsh for biking. if you tell me this is harsh:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUkiyBVytRQ
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LriR6NY_RVE

            i will disagree. it is a crime. crimes like that do not exist anywhere
            in europe. bikers do not get harrassed in europe. in fact what you can
            see on those videos (many thousand more exist) is UNTHINKABLE anywhere
            else in the world (no, maybe in north korea or in iran they do that also)

            why is there no city in the usa on the list of the top 25 cities in
            the world?
            http://www.citymayors.com/features/quality_survey.html

            france is the best country to live in by internationalliving:
            http://www.il-ireland.com/il/qofl2009/

            and in the human development index of the united nations, the usa are
            not even among the top 10 in the world:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Development_Index

            why do you always talk about the usa? the usa are relatively small and
            unimportant country, accomodating only 2% of the world's population.

            living bike-free is not a topic of the usa. it is a global issue. and
            you are correct, it is also an american issue, in all of america,
            bogota, mexico city, santiago, curitiba etc.

            manfred






            --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Coy" <mike.coy@...> wrote:
            >
            > > as a summary there are very few places in america where you can live
            > > car-free safely and comfortably, there are virtually no places in asia
            > > but there are may places in europe where you can do so.
            >
            > I think your message was a little harsh. I agree that Europe is more
            > supportive of a car-free lifestyle, but even in the USA, one can live
            > car-free safely and comfortably. What we lack is the high-quality,
            > low-car public spaces that can make the experience truly delightful.
            > That sort of space is in short supply everywhere, but hopefully will
            > be more common in the future... Isn't that the point of this list?
            >
            > I don't want anyone to think that they have to move to Europe to live
            > car-free; there are many of us that do just fine in the USA without a
            > car. It is still the thrifty, responsible, and low-stress choice. As
            > more people make that choice, we will all be better off... and
            > eventually the powers that be will wake up to the unmet demand for
            > car-free areas.
            >
            > I think a discussion of the benefits of a car-free lifestyle (with or
            > without a car-free built environment) is better suited for the CarFree
            > list (carfree@yahoogroups.com).
            >
            > Mike Coy
            > Car-free in Dayton, Ohio
            >
          • Ron Wolf
            I m concerned, and even offended, regarding the tone of some recent posts. Manfred, you seem really POed. Why? You say that you live in a great place for
            Message 5 of 9 , Dec 28, 2008
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              I'm concerned, and even offended, regarding the tone of some recent
              posts.

              Manfred, you seem really POed. Why? You say that you live in a great
              place for biking, the best in North America. Great! I'd be proud and
              happy if I felt that I lived in a place like that. So why the 'tude?
              And then your reply to Mike is simply out of line. Mike says that he
              is car free - in Dayton no less! I'm sure that he understands (on a
              daily basis) the issues regarding coping with threatening car drivers.
              Manfred, you were and are harsh. So, why you are insulted by Mike's
              calling you out on it? Would be far more appropriate (tho probably not
              any more useful) if you directed your anger at those on the other side
              of the issue. From what he says, Mike seems to be one of the good
              guys. BTW, Manfred, you don't bother to tell us where this wonderful
              place that you live is. Maybe we're supposed to guess? Victoria?

              For myself, as much as anyone, I find the dominating and dangerous
              attitude of car drivers to be maddening, more than maddening.... So
              don't go claiming that I don't see the problem.

              And then the blog that started this is also written in a very POed
              tone. Ending with a bunch of vaguely directed cursing. Do I just not
              get it? It seems to be written as a blog praising the many fine places
              in the world that benefit - or once did - from being carless. Isn't
              that something to celebrate, to bring ourselves to in a positive
              manner? But no, here the author is only angry. Well, angry and sexist.
              I found the obsessively repetitive "pretty girls" thing to be just
              plain offensive. Joel, why bring this poor piece of writing to our
              attention?

              Look, I'm not a whimp, strong language and passion are frequently
              appropriate. And we certainly have a huge, and possibly futile, battle
              to fight in getting more of the world to want to be carfree. Passion
              is required. But doesn't it make sense to save the anger for those who
              fight against us? And it simply never makes sense to be offensively
              sexist. I think that these posts have done a dis-service to the cause.

              ____________Ron
            • Matthew Thyer
              Ron, I just caught up on some reading and went through the Manfred posts. I d suggest, not that I m defending anyone here, that there is a certain level of
              Message 6 of 9 , Dec 28, 2008
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                Ron,

                I just caught up on some reading and went through the "Manfred" posts. I'd suggest, not that I'm defending anyone here, that there is a certain level of frustration that comes with living a car-free or car-light lifestyle and its possible that Manfred may be experiencing this. I've found it to be a progression of little things that add up over time that make it increasingly difficult to stay optimistic in the face of this growing monster we're all kind of stuck with.

                I'm guessing here, but Manfred's tone appears to me to be one of frustration. Where's the help from government? Why must cars stink up the air in cities? When will it stop raining in Seattle and Portland? Choosing to take your bike, walk, or ride the bus or train is a personal decision that no one will help you with. There are fewer support organization around today for people trying to make the "right" decision than there is aid for those who simply don't care. You and I and everyone else who's ever tried to live in a reduced carbon footprint know that this is the "high road" which is never easier to traverse.

                That said the high road comes with its own rewards not available to those who avoid this path. You can only realize these rewards by continuing to climb.

                Manfred,

                I've lived car-free and car-light in several of the locations you mentioned. I'll say this, any urbanized area in Japan you can get where you're going via human power. There are still plenty of ped/bike communities in lesser developed parts of Asia including Korea and Thai Land. The poorer a nation is the more likely this will be the case. Seattle and Portland may get more than their fair share of rain, but its actually pretty easy to deal with in the grand scheme of things once you understand how to make it work in the saddle. In addition there are great public transit opportunities for those days you really can't bare another ride in the wet (although cost of living is higher). Also, I tele-work to Seattle most days of the week and this mode is catching on in many workplaces (my commute is the shuffle in my slippers down the hall). Anywhere that get's cold in the winter in Northern Europe probably has track setting equipment for the feitspad that crisscross these cities. Bring your bike inside for the winter and break out your xc-skis (or just walk).

                All,

                Maybe I'm missing something here, but I believe that we're our own best resource when it comes to maintaining the self discipline necessary to continue making the right decision. Getting the rest of the world to make this decision still isn't easy. We are examples of how this lifestyle can work and there are people who watch us thinking "maybe I could do that too." -- Matt ThyerEllensburg, WA
                http://www.wonkothesane.net/blog/




                To: carfree_cities@yahoogroups.comFrom: ronetele13@...: Sun, 28 Dec 2008 20:06:36 +0000Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: Life Without Cars



                I'm concerned, and even offended, regarding the tone of some recentposts. Manfred, you seem really POed. Why? You say that you live in a greatplace for biking, the best in North America. Great! I'd be proud andhappy if I felt that I lived in a place like that. So why the 'tude?And then your reply to Mike is simply out of line. Mike says that heis car free - in Dayton no less! I'm sure that he understands (on adaily basis) the issues regarding coping with threatening car drivers.Manfred, you were and are harsh. So, why you are insulted by Mike'scalling you out on it? Would be far more appropriate (tho probably notany more useful) if you directed your anger at those on the other sideof the issue. From what he says, Mike seems to be one of the goodguys. BTW, Manfred, you don't bother to tell us where this wonderfulplace that you live is. Maybe we're supposed to guess? Victoria?For myself, as much as anyone, I find the dominating and dangerousattitude of car drivers to be maddening, more than maddening.... Sodon't go claiming that I don't see the problem.And then the blog that started this is also written in a very POedtone. Ending with a bunch of vaguely directed cursing. Do I just notget it? It seems to be written as a blog praising the many fine placesin the world that benefit - or once did - from being carless. Isn'tthat something to celebrate, to bring ourselves to in a positivemanner? But no, here the author is only angry. Well, angry and sexist.I found the obsessively repetitive "pretty girls" thing to be justplain offensive. Joel, why bring this poor piece of writing to ourattention?Look, I'm not a whimp, strong language and passion are frequentlyappropriate. And we certainly have a huge, and possibly futile, battleto fight in getting more of the world to want to be carfree. Passionis required. But doesn't it make sense to save the anger for those whofight against us? And it simply never makes sense to be offensivelysexist. I think that these posts have done a dis-service to the cause.____________Ron






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              • manfredstrobl
                what kind of drugs are you on?
                Message 7 of 9 , Dec 29, 2008
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                  what kind of drugs are you on?




                  --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Ron Wolf" <ronetele13@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > I'm concerned, and even offended, regarding the tone of some recent
                  > posts.
                  >
                  > Manfred, you seem really POed. Why? You say that you live in a great
                  > place for biking, the best in North America. Great! I'd be proud and
                  > happy if I felt that I lived in a place like that. So why the 'tude?
                  > And then your reply to Mike is simply out of line. Mike says that he
                  > is car free - in Dayton no less! I'm sure that he understands (on a
                  > daily basis) the issues regarding coping with threatening car drivers.
                  > Manfred, you were and are harsh. So, why you are insulted by Mike's
                  > calling you out on it? Would be far more appropriate (tho probably not
                  > any more useful) if you directed your anger at those on the other side
                  > of the issue. From what he says, Mike seems to be one of the good
                  > guys. BTW, Manfred, you don't bother to tell us where this wonderful
                  > place that you live is. Maybe we're supposed to guess? Victoria?
                  >
                  > For myself, as much as anyone, I find the dominating and dangerous
                  > attitude of car drivers to be maddening, more than maddening.... So
                  > don't go claiming that I don't see the problem.
                  >
                  > And then the blog that started this is also written in a very POed
                  > tone. Ending with a bunch of vaguely directed cursing. Do I just not
                  > get it? It seems to be written as a blog praising the many fine places
                  > in the world that benefit - or once did - from being carless. Isn't
                  > that something to celebrate, to bring ourselves to in a positive
                  > manner? But no, here the author is only angry. Well, angry and sexist.
                  > I found the obsessively repetitive "pretty girls" thing to be just
                  > plain offensive. Joel, why bring this poor piece of writing to our
                  > attention?
                  >
                  > Look, I'm not a whimp, strong language and passion are frequently
                  > appropriate. And we certainly have a huge, and possibly futile, battle
                  > to fight in getting more of the world to want to be carfree. Passion
                  > is required. But doesn't it make sense to save the anger for those who
                  > fight against us? And it simply never makes sense to be offensively
                  > sexist. I think that these posts have done a dis-service to the cause.
                  >
                  > ____________Ron
                  >
                • Simon Baddeley
                  It took a decade for me to get to the point where I felt able to divorce my car having driven cars since I was 17 in 1959.
                  Message 8 of 9 , Dec 30, 2008
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                    It took a decade for me to get to the point where I felt able to divorce my
                    car having driven cars since I was 17 in 1959.

                    http://democracystreet.blogspot.com/search?q=amicable+divorce+carfree

                    It should have been easier for an academic with all the facilities for
                    hot-desking on campus and teleworking from home. I think I had to get the
                    car out of my head before I could get it out of my hands. Birmingham UK is
                    reasonably well covered by public transport and has a big network of canal
                    towpaths. The other big condition is that while I am carfree and glad of it
                    - our household is not. My wife still has a car which I borrow ­ rarely ­ to
                    carry heavy stuff. I also use it with her driving if we go out to visit.
                    Linda does the main shopping. The kind of changes needed to get my family to
                    copy me and that Joel has been writing about require transformation of
                    settlement patterns, reform of rapid transit and urban re-design - on an
                    immense scale. Those things will take much longer and require far greater
                    commitment than I needed just to divorce my car. I think that ­ barring some
                    crisis like 9/11 which had many NYs getting on bicycles for a while ­ change
                    has to come psychologically and through the slow grasp of the way a carfree
                    city might be. Asking people to take on the panoply of great theories about
                    the character of cities including Joel¹s work that look to reduce or
                    eliminate autodependency is a tall order. It raises the question of whether
                    you get a kid a bicycle for Christmas (or Eid or Diwali or ...) or that
                    great book by Jane Jacobs. Gosh I wish there was a children¹s version of
                    that with chapters on cycle maintenance and DVDs of city cycling and walking
                    ­ then you could give them the multimedia-book and the bike.

                    Happy New Year 2009.

                    Simon
                    http://democracystreet.blogspot.com
                    http://www.inlogov.bham.ac.uk/staff/baddeleys.htm

                    On 29/12/08 07:33, "Matthew Thyer" <matt_thyer@...> wrote:

                    > Ron,
                    >
                    > I just caught up on some reading and went through the "Manfred" posts. I'd
                    > suggest, not that I'm defending anyone here, that there is a certain level of
                    > frustration that comes with living a car-free or car-light lifestyle and its
                    > possible that Manfred may be experiencing this. I've found it to be a
                    > progression of little things that add up over time that make it increasingly
                    > difficult to stay optimistic in the face of this growing monster we're all
                    > kind of stuck with.
                    >
                    > I'm guessing here, but Manfred's tone appears to me to be one of frustration.
                    > Where's the help from government? Why must cars stink up the air in cities?
                    > When will it stop raining in Seattle and Portland? Choosing to take your
                    > bike, walk, or ride the bus or train is a personal decision that no one will
                    > help you with. There are fewer support organization around today for people
                    > trying to make the "right" decision than there is aid for those who simply
                    > don't care. You and I and everyone else who's ever tried to live in a reduced
                    > carbon footprint know that this is the "high road" which is never easier to
                    > traverse.
                    >
                    > That said the high road comes with its own rewards not available to those who
                    > avoid this path. You can only realize these rewards by continuing to climb.



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                  • Richard Risemberg
                    ... Good points about civic layout, but we can t really wait for the powers-that-be to change the world for us. We have to change our way of living first, and
                    Message 9 of 9 , Dec 30, 2008
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                      On Dec 30, 2008, at 3:01 AM, Simon Baddeley wrote:

                      > The other big condition is that while I am carfree and glad of it
                      > - our household is not. My wife still has a car which I borrow
                      > rarely to
                      > carry heavy stuff. I also use it with her driving if we go out to
                      > visit.
                      > Linda does the main shopping.


                      Good points about civic layout, but we can't really wait for the
                      powers-that-be to change the world for us. We have to change our way
                      of living first, and create a demand that they will eventually fill.
                      Government is generally reponsive (if you're lucky) rather than
                      proactive--and then, of course, you have to fight against the big
                      noise of corporate lobbying that usually overwhelms the voice of
                      popular desire.

                      I did all the shopping for a family of three for years on a standard
                      bike. New and relatively cheap bicycle tehcnologies--particularly
                      longtails--are becoming available that are specifically designed to
                      replace cars for families. I am myself considering buying a German-
                      made Yuba Mundo (well below US$1K) for hauling my business inventory
                      around, which i now do rather inconveniently by bus or standard bike,
                      or on foot. This bike can carry up to 400 pounds/180kg. I mention it
                      because it's the cheapest readymade solution (originally designed to
                      provide cheap goods transport to poor African communities). All
                      these longtails were inspired by the Xtracycle attachment which
                      converts a standard bike to a cargo carrier.

                      These have been taking off in Los Angeles, of all places--Ground Zero
                      of Carmageddon--and the burgeoning use of bikes here has made bicycle
                      accommodation a normal part of civic planning discourse. This
                      "softens the target" for eventual carfree districts. We are making
                      our own history here, in effect. Guerilla signs pop up denoting bike
                      crossings at difficult intersections; they are eventually taken down,
                      but then discussion has actively begun on converting certain streets
                      to "bike boulevards," in which car travel is severely restricted
                      while bicycles have through travel rights.

                      At the corner of Heliotrope and Melrose, sings indicate a "bicycle
                      district." They are on commercial rather than public property--
                      several bicycle-oriented businesses are there, including the Bicycle
                      Kitchen--and so they remain. And now, there are suddenly 16 bike
                      parking racks in a 30 meter stretch--installed by the city!

                      Small things, but most beginnings are.

                      Yuba cargo bikes: http://www.yubaride.com/index.html
                      Xtracycle: http://www.xtracycle.com/

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







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