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Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Life Without Cars

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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 1 of 9 , Dec 30, 2008
      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/

      Richard Risemberg

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