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Re: [carfree_cities] A brief introduction

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  • J.H. Crawford
    ... Hello and welcome. Our purpose here is to bring carfree cities to realization as quickly as possible. We ve just shifted the focus of this list from a
    Message 1 of 9 , Sep 19, 2000
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      Roy Preston said:

      >Hopefully, this list will be used for both education, and as a vent for my
      >frustrations?

      Hello and welcome.

      Our purpose here is to bring carfree cities to realization
      as quickly as possible. We've just shifted the focus of this
      list from a rather chatty discussion to a serious consideration
      of what to do next and how. We'll welcome your input on these
      questions.

      Regards,


      ###

      J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
      postmaster@... Carfree.com
    • Roy Preston
      Hi everybody. I m new to this list, so I do hope I m in the company of like-minded people. May I introduce myself: I m an ex-car driver, forced out of my
      Message 2 of 9 , Sep 19, 2000
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        Hi everybody. I'm new to this list, so I do hope I'm in the company of
        like-minded people.

        May I introduce myself:

        I'm an ex-car driver, forced out of my addiction ten years ago by failed
        spine operations -- can't sit for longer than a couple of minutes.

        Of course, while driving, I never saw it as an addiction; more as a
        necessity. Yes, I used to swear at cyclists (even though I was an avid
        cyclist myself) and curse at pedestrians for getting in my way; spend the
        occasional weekend tarting up the tin box -- just like all drivers, I
        suppose?

        It took a good two or three years of 'cold turkey' to realize how badly
        hooked I was, and a further couple of years to build up this hatred for all
        forms of motor transport.

        My mobility is now provided mostly by my legs and trains (where I can lay
        in the guard's van), and, if nothing else, by buses and taxis.

        I've been campaigning for 6-years on behalf of pedestrians in our town
        centre. This is a heavily car-based community in the UK, with a council
        that does *nothing* to help pedestrians, so I'm fighting on three fronts:
        the drivers; the council & councillors; and the traders (probably the most
        vociferous and most influential fraction!).

        Hopefully, this list will be used for both education, and as a vent for my
        frustrations?

        Roy Preston
      • Louis-Luc Le Guerrier
        ... Good job! The threat caused to pedestrians by bad car drivers is, in my opinion, the worst problem associated with cars, because it s a big injustice and
        Message 3 of 9 , Sep 19, 2000
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          ...
          > I've been campaigning for 6-years on behalf of pedestrians in our town
          > centre. This is a heavily car-based community in the UK, with
          > a council
          > that does *nothing* to help pedestrians, so I'm fighting on
          > three fronts:
          > the drivers; the council & councillors; and the traders
          > (probably the most
          > vociferous and most influential fraction!).
          > Roy Preston
          Good job!
          The threat caused to pedestrians by bad car drivers is, in my opinion, the
          worst problem associated with cars, because it's a big injustice and danger
          at the same time. In these cases cars are used as a weapon like guns, and we
          must get rules as rigid and as severe as the ones for prohibiting guns.

          I've never driven in my whole life, and didn't really make it a case in the
          past. However since maybe 2 years, I've started to find the no-driving
          attribute as a status of pride for the person as being "self mobile", not
          handicapped.

          I do cycle too, and I watch for pedestrians like gems. When there's one in
          my way, I let the person feel I want to respect him. When an eventual car
          driver wants to pass in our way, I slow down to let the pedestrian pass,
          then I pass myself and watch the driver, letting him know that respecting
          non motorised traffic is a pleasure, not a duty.

          Louis-Luc
        • Roy Preston
          ... Excellent analogy, Louis-Luc, this has often crossed my mind. Cars are virtually cocked guns in the hands of semi-pros. They are allowed free access to
          Message 4 of 9 , Sep 19, 2000
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            >In these cases cars are used as a weapon like guns,

            Excellent analogy, Louis-Luc, this has often crossed my mind.

            Cars are virtually cocked guns in the hands of semi-pros. They are allowed
            free access to town centres and, apart from a 30 mph speed limit and a few
            parking restrictions, can do as they please.

            Gun owners are governed by extremely strict laws and have their own,
            dedicated shooting ranges.

            I see the motorways and dual-carriageways as the motorist's 'shooting
            ranges' but in residential areas they should be either banned or forced to
            comply to a 5 mph speed limit -- similar to the Home Zones popular in the
            Netherlands (Now, they know what they're doing!).

            Three cheers for your 'cycling' sentiments, too.

            Roy P(edestrian)
          • J.H. Crawford
            You will all recall that Time recently did a special issue on the environment--100% sponsored by Ford Motor Company. In July, I was supposed to have appeared
            Message 5 of 9 , Sep 20, 2000
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              You will all recall that Time recently did a special
              issue on the environment--100% sponsored by Ford
              Motor Company.

              In July, I was supposed to have appeared on the
              talk show hosted by RonandFez.com, but this appearance
              was cancelled at the last minute, seemingly due to the
              presence of... automobile advertisers in the studio.

              We need to think some about how we're going to get the
              carfree message into the mainstream media--they're going
              to be under the thumb of the auto industry, which, I believe,
              spends $40 BILLION a year on ads.

              You will also recall that Chrysler tried to get all magazines
              in which it advertises to let Chrysler approve the content
              before press time. They had to pull back on this, but I'll
              bet that it was more or less implemented anyway (probably
              by threats to pull ads in future issues).

              Clearly, the carfree idea is going to have to get a foothold
              on the Internet and public radio, where the advertisers do
              not yet rule the roost. (Up to now, my most important media
              appearances have almost all been on public radio stations,
              except in Canada, where a few for-profit stations have had
              me on.)

              Ideas?



              ###

              J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
              postmaster@... Carfree.com
            • Roy Preston
              Whenever I m feeling down, I always turn to the following little gem to buck me up. So I thought I d share it with you all. It s an article from Transport
              Message 6 of 9 , Sep 22, 2000
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                Whenever I'm feeling down, I always turn to the following little gem to
                buck me up. So I thought I'd share it with you all. It's an article from
                Transport 2000's publication 'Transport Retort' entitled 'People Have
                Rights' by Fred Trott, a campaigner on traffic issues. I'd especially like
                to bring to your attention the second paragraph:

                -------------------

                TRANSPORT reform is an issue of human rights. Everyone can choose whether
                or not to get into a car but even people who never use cars are still
                affected by them. Pedestrians and cyclists have no say over the effects of
                car exhaust fumes on them. Victims of pollution are denied that most basic
                human right of all: the right to enjoy good health and, in severe cases,
                the right to life itself.

                The motoring lobby often meets calls for the restriction of car use by
                appeals to the principles of freedom and choice. The rhetoric is
                self-serving hypocrisy The defenders of car culture do not talk about the
                freedom of people to choose whether or not to breathe air polluted by
                carcinogens and other toxic substances. The links between traffic pollution
                and respiratory problems (including asthma), lung cancer, heart disease and
                leukaemia are well known. People are being sacrificed on the altar of car
                culture.

                Environmental campaigners should emphasise that the problem of pollution
                from traffic is as much a human rights issue as anything. Motorists are
                uncomfortable with this because it points to the irresponsibility of their
                behaviour. Even the most obdurate motorists feel uneasy at the prospect of
                defending the proposition that their convenience or fun is worth someone's
                health or life

                Politicians are embarrassed by the human rights argument because it
                underlines their moral dury to do what is right rather than what is popular
                with the motoring lobby. The very foundation of democracy is that people
                should have the freedom to do what they like as long as they do no harm to
                others. But motoring does do harm to others and a democratic politician's
                first duty is to protect their constituents from harm. Therefore
                politicians have an over-riding moral duty to combat car culture.

                There is nothing controversial in the proposition that the Government
                should intervene in order to protect people from the effects of excessive
                car use, even if this involves restrictions on individual freedom of
                choice. For example, no-one seriously questions the right of the State to
                prevent motorists from drinking and driving. Everyone recognises that the
                preferences of the would-be drink-driver must be subordinate to the rights
                of people not to be mown down in the streets. Shouldn't people have an
                equal right not to he killed by cancer or heart disease caused by vehicle
                exhausts?

                There are draconian measures in place against smokers to protect people
                from the effects of passive smoking, which causes 350 deaths a year
                according to Government figures, yet little is done to protect people
                against the much more serious damage caused by traffic pollution: between
                12,000 and 24,000 deaths a year.

                The hypocrisy of the motoring lobby is evident in all sorts of other ways.
                Motorists call for freedom and choice, but it is motorists themselves who
                restrict the freedom of cyclists and pedestrians, forcing them off the
                roads by making them too dangerous. Similarly how can motorists complain if
                their neighbours play loud music when cars can create devastating noise
                pollution in busy streets? There are health implications here too. The
                British Medical Association blames much of the rise in obesity and related
                problems like diabetes on the decline of cycling and walking. Noise
                pollution from traffic has been linked to depression and stress, with
                knock-on effects on rates of heart disease.

                Nobody likes to think of him or herself as behaving selfishly, but by
                driving unnecessarily that is precisely what he or she is doing.

                The appeal to human rights can make individuals and institutions examine
                their consciences. This can only help to protect the innocent from the
                ravages of car culture.

                -------------------

                Roy P(ass on please!)
              • J.H. Crawford
                ... I m not sure without digging just where you got the quote, but if you ll look over the site more generally, and especially the book, you ll see that I m
                Message 7 of 9 , Sep 24, 2000
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                  L Danish said:

                  >> carcinogens and other toxic substances. The links between traffic
                  >pollution
                  >> and respiratory problems (including asthma), lung cancer, heart
                  >disease and
                  >> leukaemia are well known. People are being sacrificed on the altar
                  >of car
                  >> culture.
                  >
                  >While I whole-heartedly agree with this sentiment, it seems to me
                  >that dwelling on "the pollution problem" is disingenuous for the
                  >simple reason that it will get solved via technological tweaks to our
                  >existing car-culture.
                  >Much as people now tell me with a straight face that they are
                  >environmentally-friendly because they recycle pop containers -- the
                  >masses will soon be driving more-and-more since their new vehicles
                  >will soon be LEV and ULEV. They will take to heart the message that
                  >these vehicles produce 90% less (or whatever) pollution, so by, say,
                  >doubling their driving they are putting out less that half the
                  >pollution -- right?

                  I'm not sure without digging just where you got the quote,
                  but if you'll look over the site more generally, and especially
                  the book, you'll see that I'm making a whole range of arguments,
                  of which pollution is only one, and not, in my opinion, even
                  the most important one.

                  I think you're right--the pollution problems MAY turn out
                  to have a technological solution (although I wouldn't really
                  bet on it, for the reasons you mention; after all, pollution
                  hasn't gotten that much better, and is in some cases worse,
                  despite 30 years of auto-emission technology improvements).

                  Regards,


                  ###

                  J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                  postmaster@... Carfree.com
                • L Danish
                  ... pollution ... disease and ... of car ... While I whole-heartedly agree with this sentiment, it seems to me that dwelling on the pollution problem is
                  Message 8 of 9 , Sep 24, 2000
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                    > carcinogens and other toxic substances. The links between traffic
                    pollution
                    > and respiratory problems (including asthma), lung cancer, heart
                    disease and
                    > leukaemia are well known. People are being sacrificed on the altar
                    of car
                    > culture.

                    While I whole-heartedly agree with this sentiment, it seems to me
                    that dwelling on "the pollution problem" is disingenuous for the
                    simple reason that it will get solved via technological tweaks to our
                    existing car-culture.
                    Much as people now tell me with a straight face that they are
                    environmentally-friendly because they recycle pop containers -- the
                    masses will soon be driving more-and-more since their new vehicles
                    will soon be LEV and ULEV. They will take to heart the message that
                    these vehicles produce 90% less (or whatever) pollution, so by, say,
                    doubling their driving they are putting out less that half the
                    pollution -- right?
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