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Re: [carfree_cities] older drivers dying

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  • Martha Torell
    ... I haven t even gone to the link yet, but I forwarded your excerpts to a few people whom I think may need to see them. I am pretty sure 1) that we will get
    Message 1 of 4 , Aug 1, 2000
      > The danger to old folks who drive or merely RIDE in cars, is beginning
      > to get more attention:
      >
      > Auto Makers Retool to Fit an Aging U.S.
      > http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/20000731/t000071754.html

      I haven't even gone to the link yet, but I forwarded your excerpts to a
      few people whom I think may need to see them.

      I am pretty sure 1) that we will get car free. Cars will be around, but
      they will be sort of like private planes or tractors, a specialty
      vehicle that very few people need.
      2) that once we are car free, we will be horrified at the chances people
      took on a routine basis, risking their lives or grave injury to check
      out a sale at a shopping mall.

      Maybe we should do something like the AIDS quilt, perhaps the traffic
      death sound barrier. I'd like it someplace visible to drivers. Each
      brick is inscribed with the name of someone, pedestrian, driver or
      passenger who died a traffic death. You won't see any auto commercials
      shot with that in the scene.

      Martha
    • Birmingham University
      ... Yes, yes. Something that truly captures the sheer awfulness of what has happened combined with the astonishing and dreadful willingness of so many people
      Message 2 of 4 , Aug 1, 2000
        > Maybe we should do something like the AIDS quilt, perhaps the traffic
        > death sound barrier. I'd like it someplace visible to drivers. Each
        > brick is inscribed with the name of someone, pedestrian, driver or
        > passenger who died a traffic death. You won't see any auto commercials
        > shot with that in the scene.

        Yes, yes. Something that truly captures the sheer awfulness of what has
        happened combined with the astonishing and dreadful willingness of so many
        people to accept these deaths as a price worth paying for the "benefits" of
        driving.
        Simon
      • Doug Salzmann
        ... I think what stuns and saddens me most, and it just gets worse with each passing decade, is just that astonishing and dreadful willingness. How could
        Message 3 of 4 , Aug 1, 2000
          Martha wrote:

          > > Maybe we should do something like the AIDS quilt, perhaps the traffic
          > > death sound barrier. I'd like it someplace visible to drivers. Each
          > > brick is inscribed with the name of someone, pedestrian, driver or
          > > passenger who died a traffic death.

          and Simon responded:

          >Yes, yes. Something that truly captures the sheer awfulness of what has
          >happened combined with the astonishing and dreadful willingness of so many
          >people to accept these deaths as a price worth paying for the "benefits" of
          >driving.

          I think what stuns and saddens me most, and it just gets worse with each
          passing decade, is just that "astonishing and dreadful willingness." How
          could our fellows be so willing to accept the human and environmental
          atrocity the auto-dominated city has become? Can't they see how horrible
          it is?

          I'm afraid they really can't see it. For whatever reasons, they can't
          imagine a different world, at least not a different and better one. My
          wife, Linda, says (about this and much else), "They all believe the
          commercials." They certainly act as if they do. Can we do anything to
          change this?

          When we discuss progress in Portland, the lunacy in the Metroplex, ways to
          ameliorate the damage caused by auto-madness and endless carburbia, I find
          that I am of two minds.

          On the one hand, I understand the need for incremental progress. Surely we
          must take the steps we can to improve, however marginally, the places in
          which we find ourselves. How else is progress achieved? On the other
          hand, I feel in my heart that these baby steps are a waste of time and
          energy. We need to create real solutions, to serve as models for a future
          that works.

          My friend, Lois, is a landscape architect and urban designer of
          considerable talent and wisdom. She has a real knack for making awful
          sprawlburban places the best that they can be. A couple of years ago,
          amidst a battle over the best way to patch up a particularly ugly example
          of bad planning and design, she told us, "You know, it can't be tweaked."

          Lois meant that there are real limits imposed by the infrastructure that is
          the legacy of the auto age. If we want to solve fundamental problems, not
          just slap on temporary patches, we will have to alter that
          infrastructure. In some places, we will need to "scrape it off and start
          over." That's not impossible, of course. There are monumental challenges
          to meet, but it can be done.

          I think, though, that we need to start (at least in North America) with
          easier tasks. We need to begin with construction of carfree districts in
          places like the waterfront brownfield site Joel identified in Toronto,
          projects that are "small" enough to be reasonable, but complete enough to
          show the neighbors how this carfree business works -- in places without an
          existing autocentric infrastructure or native NIMBYs.

          Does this make sense? Do others also see this as a possible and promising
          project? Or, do you think that we must be satisfied with incrementalism,
          with those baby steps I hate? How do you see us getting where we want to go?


          -Doug
        • Michael Schramm
          ... I agree wholeheartedly. Incremental fixes will rarely if ever provide the impact needed to ameliorate our atrocious mobility problems. As in my discussin
          Message 4 of 4 , Aug 2, 2000
            >If we want to solve fundamental problems, not just slap on temporary
            >patches, we will have to alter that infrastructure. In some places,
            >we will need to "scrape it off and start over." That's not
            >impossible, of course. There are monumental challenges to meet, but
            >it can be done.

            I agree wholeheartedly. Incremental fixes will rarely if ever provide
            the impact needed to ameliorate our atrocious mobility problems. As
            in my discussin on DART, upon integrating alternative transit systems
            the net result is that they must compete (usually very poorly) with
            the existing road and highway infrastructure and are rarely realized
            to their full potential. Unfortunately the masses tend to place the
            blame on what has been introduced instead of focusing on the core
            issue.

            A paradigmatic vision is what is needed by the citizens and especially
            the leaders of this nation, but if the population at large remains
            insular and un-exposed to alternatives or is apathetic and misinformed
            as a result of propoganda administered by lobbies seeking to retain
            the status quo, there is little hope. What is needed is a "fight fire
            with fire" approach--educating the masses on how car dependance is
            wreaking social, environmental and monetary havoc of the highest order
            within our society. Books like "Asphalt Nation", "The Geography of
            Nowhere" and "Car-Free Cities" should be required reading. College
            courses should emphasize mobility issues in Sociology and Geography
            curriculums. I'm sure we could conjure up many more needed methods to
            broach the rampant "transit illiteracy" we face.

            Michael Schramm
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