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Re: [carfree_cities] Two takes on "green" cars

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  • Jason Meggs
    Incidentally, noise pollution from vehicles contributes to many health harms including preventable mortality. In sum the social, health and economic costs are
    Message 1 of 11 , Apr 30, 2009
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      Incidentally, noise pollution from vehicles contributes to many health harms
      including preventable mortality.

      In sum the social, health and economic costs are enormous.

      Hearing damage for drivers and those exposed (e.g., those who walk and
      bicycle near traffic) is only one of the harms.

      As for bicycles being silent, bells and the voice both work if the rider is
      attentive. A noisemaker in the spokes is also viable. Personally, laws
      requiring noisemakers on bikes would be an all-around bad idea. Better to
      address the occasional reckless cyclist in other ways.

      Diesels need to be replaced with electrification, which reduces harmful
      noise as well. Petroleum is too valuable, and too harmful, to be wasted on
      transportation anyway. Electrification does not eliminate noise but warning
      devices may be important there as well, although a different case from
      silent cars.

      Jason


      On Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 4:16 PM, Jason Meggs <jmeggs@...> wrote:

      > Glad to hear the "silent" car hazard is being studied.
      >
      > A friend of mine who is pregnant was recently struck by a prius while
      > riding her bicycle, injuring her sacrum and complicating her pregnancy with
      > severe pain from the injury.
      >
      > The prius was stopped, evidently the driver was talking on the phone. My
      > friend, an experienced cyclist, rode out into the intersection to cross and
      > was suddenly on the driver's hood, then the street, didn't hear the car
      > coming. Brings the "gun with a silencer" concern home, personally.
      >
      > The police still have not issued a report, months later, and I have to fear
      > based on experience that it will be unfairly disfavorable to her.
      >
      > Jason
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > On Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 4:06 PM, Jym Dyer <jym@...> wrote:
      >
      >>
      >>
      >> > 1. A recent initiative in the US Senate to study the
      >> > hazards posed by "silent" car technologies is praised
      >> > by the US National Federation of the Blind:
      >> http://www.nfb.org/nfb/NewsBot.asp?MODE=VIEW&ID=437
      >> > Of course, that this is a problem is not news among
      >> > critics of the urban automobile, who anticipated this
      >> > kind of thing several years ago.
      >>
      >> =1= I am of course sympathetic to this problem, but it is a
      >> foreground/background problem caused by car culture, making
      >> noise pollution the norm. Also, I've been driving a "silent
      >> vehicle" for years (a bicycle) and I'm not so sure there's
      >> technological solution to that.
      >>
      >> > Worldchanging: Bright Green: My Other Car is a Bright Green City
      >> http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/007800.html
      >>
      >> =2= A very welcome development from the coiner of the phrase
      >> "bright green!" The "bright green" crowd emphasizes positive
      >> technological solutions to environmental problems, but alas the
      >> "positive" part is often used as a rhetorical dodge to dismiss
      >> valid criticism (as "negative"). They tend to be ga-ga over
      >> "green" cars, so I'm glad Alex Steffen is writing this.
      >> <_Jym_>
      >> (An 0ld Sk00l Appropriate Technology Type)
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >
      >


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • chbuckeye
      Sorry to hear about your friend, but this seems like an accident borne of a careless driver rather than a silent car. Any time I see a car stopped at an
      Message 2 of 11 , May 1, 2009
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        Sorry to hear about your friend, but this seems like an accident borne of a careless driver rather than a silent car.

        Any time I see a car stopped at an intersection I think it's safe to cross, as did your friend. Since cars generally are bigger and faster than pedestrians and cyclists, you don't have much time, if any, to react to a car that decides to enter the intersection you're already in, even if you do hear an engine revving.



        --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, Jason Meggs <jmeggs@...> wrote:
        >
        > Glad to hear the "silent" car hazard is being studied.
        >
        > A friend of mine who is pregnant was recently struck by a prius while riding
        > her bicycle, injuring her sacrum and complicating her pregnancy with severe
        > pain from the injury.
        >
        > The prius was stopped, evidently the driver was talking on the phone. My
        > friend, an experienced cyclist, rode out into the intersection to cross and
        > was suddenly on the driver's hood, then the street, didn't hear the car
        > coming. Brings the "gun with a silencer" concern home, personally.
        >
        > The police still have not issued a report, months later, and I have to fear
        > based on experience that it will be unfairly disfavorable to her.
        >
        > Jason
        >
      • J.H. Crawford
        Hi All, The other point that needs to be made here is that if ALL vehicles are relatively quiet, they will all be audible. It s only when there is a large
        Message 3 of 11 , May 1, 2009
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          Hi All,

          The other point that needs to be made here is that
          if ALL vehicles are relatively quiet, they will all
          be audible. It's only when there is a large disparity
          between the sound levels of the vehicles that the
          quiet ones cannot be heard.

          The noise in New York City is nearly deafening. People
          who live there for any length of time yell all the time,
          as they cannot otherwise make themselves heard.

          The roar of traffic carries all the way up to the
          observation deck of the Empire State Building,
          which is nearly a thousand feet above the street.

          Best,

          Joel


          At 2009-05-01 08:37, you wrote:


          >Sorry to hear about your friend, but this seems like an accident borne of a careless driver rather than a silent car.
          >
          >Any time I see a car stopped at an intersection I think it's safe to cross, as did your friend. Since cars generally are bigger and faster than pedestrians and cyclists, you don't have much time, if any, to react to a car that decides to enter the intersection you're already in, even if you do hear an engine revving.
          >
          >--- In <mailto:carfree_cities%40yahoogroups.com>carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, Jason Meggs <jmeggs@...> wrote:
          >>
          >> Glad to hear the "silent" car hazard is being studied.
          >>
          >> A friend of mine who is pregnant was recently struck by a prius while riding
          >> her bicycle, injuring her sacrum and complicating her pregnancy with severe
          >> pain from the injury.
          >>
          >> The prius was stopped, evidently the driver was talking on the phone. My
          >> friend, an experienced cyclist, rode out into the intersection to cross and
          >> was suddenly on the driver's hood, then the street, didn't hear the car
          >> coming. Brings the "gun with a silencer" concern home, personally.
          >>
          >> The police still have not issued a report, months later, and I have to fear
          >> based on experience that it will be unfairly disfavorable to her.
          >>
          >> Jason
          >>
          >
          >



          ----- ### -----
          J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
          mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
        • Matt Hohmeister
          Of course, NYC s high density intensifies traffic noise, but even here in Tallahassee, FL, the outdoors--save for rural areas--are also nearly deafening. It s
          Message 4 of 11 , May 1, 2009
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            Of course, NYC's high density intensifies traffic noise, but even here in Tallahassee, FL, the outdoors--save for rural areas--are also nearly deafening. It's just not noticed as much because the number of pedestrians in most of the city hovers around zero. However, it's still clearly audible even inside with all the windows shut.

            Here are some other noises of interest:

            - Traffic. There's no point in the urban service area that's not close enough to a busy road to make the traffic audible--especially some motorcycles, which can be heard for miles.

            - Air conditioning compressors. I've mentioned this before, and a carfree city is likely to put them on roofs, as opposed to the American method of putting them in the worst possible locations, like apartment hallways, house balconies, or right outside bedroom windows. That is, if there's no district chilled water.

            - Two-stroke lawn-care appliances. This is a biggie, and I'm not talking about the occasional chainsaw to remove a tree that's threatening to fall. From downtown to the suburbs, lawn-care services will spend hours on end running two-stroke leaf blowers, weed trimmers, and hedge trimmers, which produce deafening amounts of noise. Even the City itself does this--no wonder nobody wants to use the downtown parks. I guess laying extension cords is just too much work. Those of you in Europe--is this a problem there too?

            - Dogs. Many residents leave their dogs outside while at work or sleeping, and they bark for hours on end. I'm wondering how carfree cities would handle this--I sure wouldn't want to live in a row house next to someone like this.

            - House parties. I've lived in student-heavy areas, and I'll say it: parties do not generate nearly as much noise as you think. My apartment's bathroom exhaust fan was probably louder inside my apartment than most nearby house parties. The real reason people call the police on house parties? The partygoers park up the street or apartment parking lot. With the only real problem caused by house parties out of the equation, no more problem here.

            - Electric tools. Air compressors and circular saws make enough noise that your neighbors will know what you're doing, but these noises are generally in short bursts and have never bothered me. Again, not a problem. Is there any easy way to contain electric tool noise from a construction site in a carfree area?

            > Hi All,
            >
            > The other point that needs to be made here is that
            > if ALL vehicles are relatively quiet, they will all
            > be audible. It's only when there is a large disparity
            > between the sound levels of the vehicles that the
            > quiet ones cannot be heard.
            >
            > The noise in New York City is nearly deafening. People
            > who live there for any length of time yell all the time,
            > as they cannot otherwise make themselves heard.
            >
            > The roar of traffic carries all the way up to the
            > observation deck of the Empire State Building,
            > which is nearly a thousand feet above the street.
            >
            > Best,
            >
            > Joel
          • Erik Sandblom
            ... A lot of the noise from cars is from the tyres, not the engine. I suspect tyre noise grows faster with speed than engine noise. It would be interesting to
            Message 5 of 11 , May 1, 2009
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              --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...> wrote:
              >
              > The other point that needs to be made here is that
              > if ALL vehicles are relatively quiet, they will all
              > be audible. It's only when there is a large disparity
              > between the sound levels of the vehicles that the
              > quiet ones cannot be heard.


              A lot of the noise from cars is from the tyres, not the engine. I
              suspect tyre noise grows faster with speed than engine noise. It would
              be interesting to know the cutoff point where more noise is coming
              from tyres.
            • J.H. Crawford
              ... In Amsterdam I almost never had a problem with this despite being surrounded by hundreds of families with doubtless dozens of dogs. The only regular
              Message 6 of 11 , May 3, 2009
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                Re:

                >- Dogs. Many residents leave their dogs outside while at work or sleeping, and they bark for hours on end. I'm wondering how carfree cities would handle this--I sure wouldn't want to live in a row house next to someone like this.

                In Amsterdam I almost never had a problem with this despite
                being surrounded by hundreds of families with doubtless
                dozens of dogs. The only regular offender was... an American
                family. They denied that their dog barked.

                >- Electric tools. Air compressors and circular saws make enough noise that your neighbors will know what you're doing, but these noises are generally in short bursts and have never bothered me. Again, not a problem. Is there any easy way to contain electric tool noise from a construction site in a carfree area?

                This can be objectionable. In the new book I have called
                for limits on tools and noise levels. (Some tools are
                MUCH quieter than others.) This is a reason to concentrate
                all construction activities in a short period.

                BTW--I have been building a deck recently, and I have been
                doing all the sawing by hand. With a sharp saw, it's nowhere
                near as difficult as you might think. Of course, where to
                get a saw sharpened these days is another matter.

                Best,

                Joel




                ----- ### -----
                J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
              • Matt Hohmeister
                My sister and brother-in-law--both American--have two dogs that bark very little. I guess you just have to know how to care for these very attention-hungry
                Message 7 of 11 , May 5, 2009
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                  My sister and brother-in-law--both American--have two dogs that bark very little. I guess you just have to know how to care for these very attention-hungry animals.

                  > In Amsterdam I almost never had a problem with this despite
                  > being surrounded by hundreds of families with doubtless
                  > dozens of dogs. The only regular offender was... an American
                  > family. They denied that their dog barked.

                  I've noticed that cheap power tools tend to make a LOT more noise than their better-made counterparts. Anyone who's ever used a direct-drive air compressor vs. a belt-driven compressor has noticed this.

                  I've heard proposals to regulate noise to 70 dB, measured at the property line, exception for burglar/fire/flood/temperature/etc alarms. A typical electric leaf blower is this loud at 50', ruling them out for use in most areas of a carfree city.

                  > This can be objectionable. In the new book I have called
                  > for limits on tools and noise levels. (Some tools are
                  > MUCH quieter than others.) This is a reason to concentrate
                  > all construction activities in a short period.
                  >
                  > BTW--I have been building a deck recently, and I have been
                  > doing all the sawing by hand. With a sharp saw, it's nowhere
                  > near as difficult as you might think. Of course, where to
                  > get a saw sharpened these days is another matter.
                  >
                  > Best,
                  >
                  > Joel
                • Jason Meggs
                  Noise is an enormous public health problem which is only just beginning to be addressed again. In the USA, the EPA s nascent Noise Control Division was
                  Message 8 of 11 , May 5, 2009
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                    Noise is an enormous public health problem which is only just beginning to
                    be addressed again.

                    In the USA, the EPA's nascent Noise Control Division was remarkably gutted
                    by the new Reagan Admininstration. A calculation of lives and DALYs lost
                    due to that would surely be staggering. Noise kills. (One of the effects of
                    that act is that transit agencies cannot specify noise as a condition for
                    purchasing transit vehicles, and so transit vehicles often are many times
                    louder than private vehicles in the USA. This is particularly harmful as
                    transit corridors often run at night when other traffic is light, and
                    through the densest population centers where the most people are exposed.)

                    In Europe, noise has recently been identified as a top public health concern
                    and mobilization is taking place to address it in a variety of ways, and for
                    good reason:

                    "About 65% of the population of the European Union is exposed regularly to
                    sound levels (55-65 dB) that lead to serious annoyance, interference with
                    speech, and sleep disturbance. This proportion has increased over the past
                    decades.22<http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1116028#B22>Very
                    loud noise (65 to 75 dB) is associated with a small increase in
                    cardiovascular disease, which might have a large impact on the population in
                    view of the wide
                    exposure.23<http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1116028#B23>Furthermore,
                    the attention, problem solving ability, and reading acquisition
                    of children exposed regularly to aircraft noise are impaired. Noise also
                    interferes with memory, attention, and the ability to deal with complex
                    analytical problems.24<http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1116028#B24>Transportation
                    is the main source of noise in Europe, and road traffic is
                    the main source of human exposure to noise, except for people living near
                    airports or railway
                    lines.25<http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1116028#B25>"

                    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1116028

                    So yes, all onoise sources are needing a rethinking, and regulations of
                    power tools, vehicles, and more are critically important to public health.

                    Worth mentioning that in Berkeley, CA at least, use of private
                    combustion-powered leaf blowers has been banned.

                    Jason Meggs



                    On Sun, May 3, 2009 at 6:25 PM, J.H. Crawford <mailbox@...> wrote:

                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Re:
                    >
                    >
                    > >- Dogs. Many residents leave their dogs outside while at work or sleeping,
                    > and they bark for hours on end. I'm wondering how carfree cities would
                    > handle this--I sure wouldn't want to live in a row house next to someone
                    > like this.
                    >
                    > In Amsterdam I almost never had a problem with this despite
                    > being surrounded by hundreds of families with doubtless
                    > dozens of dogs. The only regular offender was... an American
                    > family. They denied that their dog barked.
                    >
                    > >- Electric tools. Air compressors and circular saws make enough noise that
                    > your neighbors will know what you're doing, but these noises are generally
                    > in short bursts and have never bothered me. Again, not a problem. Is there
                    > any easy way to contain electric tool noise from a construction site in a
                    > carfree area?
                    >
                    > This can be objectionable. In the new book I have called
                    > for limits on tools and noise levels. (Some tools are
                    > MUCH quieter than others.) This is a reason to concentrate
                    > all construction activities in a short period.
                    >
                    > BTW--I have been building a deck recently, and I have been
                    > doing all the sawing by hand. With a sharp saw, it's nowhere
                    > near as difficult as you might think. Of course, where to
                    > get a saw sharpened these days is another matter.
                    >
                    > Best,
                    >
                    > Joel
                    >
                    > ----- ### -----
                    > J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                    > mailbox@... <mailbox%40carfree.com> http://www.carfree.com
                    >
                    >
                    >


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