Re: [carfree_cities] A brief introduction
- Roy Preston said:
>Hopefully, this list will be used for both education, and as a vent for myHello 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
J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
- Hi everybody. I'm new to this list, so I do hope I'm in the company of
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
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
> I've been campaigning for 6-years on behalf of pedestrians in our townGood job!
> 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
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
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.
>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.
- You will all recall that Time recently did a special
issue on the environment--100% sponsored by Ford
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
J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
- 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
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
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!)
- L Danish said:
>> carcinogens and other toxic substances. The links between trafficI'm not sure without digging just where you got the quote,
>> and respiratory problems (including asthma), lung cancer, heart
>> leukaemia are well known. People are being sacrificed on the altar
>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
>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?
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).
J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
> carcinogens and other toxic substances. The links between trafficpollution
> and respiratory problems (including asthma), lung cancer, heartdisease and
> leukaemia are well known. People are being sacrificed on the altarof 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
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?