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Re: Life Without Cars

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  • 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 1 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 2 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






        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • manfredstrobl
        what kind of drugs are you on?
        Message 3 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 4 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.



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • 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 5 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







              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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