[carfree_cities] Re: Any existing car free cities in US?
- Catalina Island, about 24 miles of the coast of Los Angeles, is largely
(though not entirely) car-free. There are some private cars and a lot
of golf carts, but most travel is by foot or bicycle (or coastal boat).
Of course there's only one town and it covers one square mile. But the
peacefulness is nice.
irv Thomas wrote:
> Seems like an island, somewhere, might be the best bet. Twenty years
> ago, at a Futurist Conference in Toronto, I remember taking a small
> (non-auto) ferry out to a small island several miles from the city,
> where there were actually homes in an auto-free environment.
Living Room Urban Ecology webzine: http://www.living-room.org
"There is more to life than increasing its speed." (Gandhi)
- richard risemberg <rickris-@...> wrote:
> Catalina Island, about 24 miles of the coast of Los Angeles, islargely
> (though not entirely) car-free. There are some private cars and a lotboat).
> of golf carts, but most travel is by foot or bicycle (or coastal
> Of course there's only one town and it covers one square mile. Butthe
> peacefulness is nice.Venice is, of course, made up entirely of islands. The, well,
insularity, of islands makes it a simple matter to limit access
to means that are desired. If Venice had been a land-based city
surrounded by open land, it would today probably be just another
city overrun by cars.
There are other ways to make "islands" than by surrounding
land with water. If a 100-square-mile parcel of land cold be
assembled in a rural area, the first thing to do would be to
establish a greenbelt at least a mile wide all around the
perimeter. The only rights-of-way that would be permitted
to cross this would be rail lines into the new city and
the necessary roads to connect the utility areas to the
external road network.
So thinking "island" is a useful conceptualization.
Of course, the conversion of existing cities to carfree cities
will not be able to proceed in this manner. Some other image
- Richard Risemberg <rickris-@...> wrote:
>Catalina Island, about 24 miles off the coast of Los Angeles, isSpeaking about L.A.
>largely (though not entirely) car-free.
Let's hope gas prices stay high enough, because old/bad habits are hard to
On the other side of the fence there is this article from the economist.
Welcome to contemporary western society?
- --- In email@example.com, "frank zappa" <jbemel@u...> wrote:
> I was wondering if there are any cities in the United States that
> at least car limited.There are cities that have pedestrian areas, sort of like outdoor
malls. It isn't much but it is a start.
> So anyway, I want to make this happen, or be part of it. I want tolive
> in a city where cars are almost non existant. If none exist in theUS,
> Lets start one damnit! I'd move anywhere in the US to live in a carcarsrcoffins.com,
> free city, so how bout it? BTW I found this off of
> you like bikes, check it out.I think you are on the right track in two ways -- you are a biker,
you are thinking about how to turn back the blight.
In the US, with its growing population of elderly (read that as less
and less capable drivers) there will be a market for housing in areas
that have most of the amenities within walking distance. Many of
these people will be on rather fixed incomes so that being able to
give up a car would be a relief. If a PLEASANT auto free life could
be developed for them, other people would follow.
I would like to see a complete redesign of sidewalks, a pedestrian
strip closest to the buildings, a bikers'/bladers' lane beside that,
then some close in handicapped parking interspersed with well planted
doggie toilet areas next to the the bikers' strip, and then finally
the auto area. Such sidewalks should be very spacious, lots of
planters with trees, lots of room for cafes to spill out onto the
sidewalk, bike parking stanchions.
Urban life needs people on the streets, with their children and their
pets, so that they are actually spending part of their lives there
rather than just hurrying from place to place and hoping they are not
mugged in the process.
A biker/ blading lane is essential -- there are a lot of closet
out there who refrain for the danger of sharing a lane with cars. I
hope you are careful as you bike -- I used to work in a large urban
hospital and I saw a lot the results of a lot of bike/auto collisions
and it wasn't pretty.
- I really wanted to get some kind of
> conversation going on how this could be done. I don't have all theOkay, this would be for the US.
> answers, in fact, I don't have ANY answers. So? Got any ideas?
There are co-operatives; in many cities they are old buildings which
are owned by many people each of whom has a proprietary lease.
Before someone can buy into one he is vetted for financial capability
of holding up his share, since everyone is responsible for paying for
the building and if one person welshes that requires everyone else to
There is a tax break as there is on mortgage interest, though it is
called something else. I will see if I can find the term and get
back with you.
Okay, now here's how it pertains to making autofree oases. When you
buy into such a place, the contract can read a little like a
neighborhood association, whether you will have planters on your
sill, even the colors of curtains, some limits on remodelling like
taking out structural supports -- you get the idea. Well, not all
cooperatives are single buildings. Near Birmingham, Michigan there
is one that looks like any group of two story apartment buildings.
But the point is, they can write the contract anyway they want for
the area that is cooperatively owned. The contract COULD require that
all cars be parked in one area, never driven in the rest of the
Barriers could enforce that, and signs explain it to the uninitiated.
I know it sounds penny ante, but if that co-operative had that in
their contract, if they isolated cars to one small part of the
grounds, there would be several car free acres - something parents
would be glad to have. It would also be quiet.
It may be hard to do in suburbia with each house with an attached
garage, a lot of people simply would not agree to making a car free
street, though, who knows, if one lot on the street was built with an
underground garage to which only the people on the street had access,
maybe you could get people to refrain from driving on the street.
That is a stretch though, there would be a lot of grousing about
weather and security.
Both of these approaches start small and as in any worthwhile
endeavor it takes some searching and scratching to find a way that
works. But once it is found, it will take fire.
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "frank zappa" <jbemel@u...> wrote:
> >Fine with me. Where and when?I don't think you could take over a town and turn it into Mackinac,
> I don't know. How could it be done? Could a bunch of like minded car
> haters just converged on a small town and sort of take it over? Tell
> enough people in the right groups and the place would get the
> reputation as a car free town.
but you may be able to get cooperation from neighbors and close off a
This is an awful thing to say, but if a child in your neighborhood is
hit by a car, that would be the time to push the idea.
By the way, even though Mackinac Island is getting commercialized, it
is still lovely. For some reason the insect life up there is more
abundant than it is downstate. My husband and I go up there every
summer and that is the only place we see a lot of honey bees. I
think this is because there is a ban on pesticides.
- What about a carefree block? Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone on
a single block agreed to remove the street and their driveways. In
their place they could plant flowers, vegetables and grass. Isn't it
amazing the idea of simply removing a single block is so outrageous?
I live in Cambridge MA (where unfortunately houses cost a small
fortune) but I would be more than happy to talk with anyone
in this idea.
> What about a carefree block? Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyoneon
> a single block agreed to remove the street and their driveways. Init
> their place they could plant flowers, vegetables and grass. Isn't
> amazing the idea of simply removing a single block is sooutrageous?
> I live in Cambridge MA (where unfortunately houses cost a smallIn the last year or so, I too have dreamed about creating a car-free
> fortune) but I would be more than happy to talk with anyone
> in this idea.
community somewhere, or redesigning an existing town or urban center
to operate without that iron shield we've wedged between ourselves
and our neighbors. There has to be enough of us, like-minded folk to
make this possible.
I live in Marin county, just north of San Francisco, the so-called
birthplace of mountain biking. You'd be quite shocked to see the
amount of car (and SUV !?!) traffic clogging the streets of our
towns, and an abysmal rate of carpooling I might add. I stand guilty
myself, as there is no plausible way to get my children to school
that doesn't require an automobile. And, we've NO schoolbus in the
district either. 4.6 miles, 1 mountain, and a crowded freeway stand
between home and school. Although a relocation is planned, I've not
yet found a workable option.
As for ideas on converting blocks or districts, I'm looking at
Alameda - for those of you familiar with the bay area. It is
virtually an island, with ferry service to San Francisco, near an
International Airport (Oakland) and even close to a BART line. I'm
not sure what is happening to the old military base, but if
available, it could be completely redesigned. I think Alameda is a
perfect size - large enough to support a thriving car-free community
with shops, neighborhoods, schools, business and offices, the
question is how do you convice the homeowners and business owners?
Oh, I'm very pleased to have found this forum, I've been reading
through some of the archived discussions and hope to get to know you
all better in the time to come. I'm also very much looking forward to
reading Carfree Cities, the website is amazing.
- Sam K wrote:
>What about a carefree block? Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone onI have a video clip of a fictional carfree place that you might want to
>a single block agreed to remove the street and their driveways. In
>their place they could plant flowers, vegetables and grass. Isn't it
>amazing the idea of simply removing a single block is so outrageous?
>I live in Cambridge MA (where unfortunately houses cost a small
>fortune) but I would be more than happy to talk with anyone
>interested in this idea.
> -----Original Message-----Excellent idea! In the house I currently live in, there is driveway for
> From: sarati@... [mailto:sarati@...]
> Sent: 1 octobre, 2000 02:54
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: Any existing car free cities in US?
> > What about a carefree block? Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone
> > a single block agreed to remove the street and their driveways. In
> > their place they could plant flowers, vegetables and grass. Isn't
> > amazing the idea of simply removing a single block is so
> > I live in Cambridge MA (where unfortunately houses cost a small
> > fortune) but I would be more than happy to talk with anyone
> > interested
> > in this idea.
6 cars. In winter it takes an hour with a snow blower to remove snow, and
in the summer, all pines, small fruit, and leaves fall from trees, and they
use a gas sweeper to blow this away. Nearly half of the lot is dedicated
to cars. If I have a chance to buy a house that has a driveway, I'll first
modify the lot. I'll put a nice plant jar, or another ornament in the middle
of the driveway right next to the public sidewalk. Later I'll make a patio
and picnic table on the asphalt. If there are trees next to it, I guess I'll
remove the asphalt and put lawn. I'll make a nice concrete or brick wide
walkway right in front of my front door leading to the city walkway. If
there is a garage, I can't imagine all the ways I can make use of it instead
of storing a car: put bikes, carts, lawnmower, garden tools, wheelbarrow, or
even have enough room for a billard table!
> In the last year or so, I too have dreamed about creating a car-freeYes. We just need to gather our forces and start a real project.
> community somewhere, or redesigning an existing town or urban center
> to operate without that iron shield we've wedged between ourselves
> and our neighbors. There has to be enough of us, like-minded folk to
> make this possible.
It's contradictory. Real estate agents show that houses on a cul-de-sac as
an advantage because it's nearly carfree, but some people who buy such a
house may not separate from his car.
> I live in Marin county, just north of San Francisco, the so-calledIt's typically the worst situation there could be for a child to grow. They
> birthplace of mountain biking. You'd be quite shocked to see the
> amount of car (and SUV !?!) traffic clogging the streets of our
> towns, and an abysmal rate of carpooling I might add. I stand guilty
> myself, as there is no plausible way to get my children to school
> that doesn't require an automobile. And, we've NO schoolbus in the
> district either. 4.6 miles, 1 mountain, and a crowded freeway stand
> between home and school. Although a relocation is planned, I've not
> yet found a workable option.
can't walk or bike to school, and I guess they can't play in the streets,
and they don't even have a school bus. I feel so sad thinking a person
(especially a child) with good health, 2 arms and 2 legs, can't make it to
school or work because of those cars.
Me too, I plan to relocate as soon as I find a true carfree city, even if
Montreal is not that bad regarding transit. That's my ultimate life goal,
and I want to meet as many people as I can who have the same goal to serve
I sincerely wish you good luck to find a better place in your case.
- I agree with Louis, if I could have one thing above all in
my ideal city, it would be fewer cars. But I'm kind of impatient
with those who echo such sentiments without acting on them.
Anyone who feels this way should surely do all they can to kick
the private auto habit. I've done so, and nothing has been better
for my physical and mental health. If you don't act concretely on
your priorities, and can't see fit to make significant sacrifices
for them if necessary, how on Earth will they come to fruition?
Enough talk. Action!
I too would like to find enough people who share such sentiments
to make even a single carfree block in a city here in the US a
reality. But I doubt that anyone who lacks the commitment to start a
single carfree household, namely their own, would be prepared to work
for a whole carfree block, let alone city. This is the problem.
Would anyone who has already met the first hurdle of living carfree
themselves like to start with me on the next, starting a carfree
neighborhood, here in San Diego? Give me a call (858-558-1384) or
drop me an email.
- Hi Guy,
Are you inferring that members of this list are not carfree or car-lite? No
poll has been conducted that I know of. Egroups has that capability.
Although I'm not sure it should make a difference.
I read somewhere, maybe here, this analogy: A drug addict doesn't need to
be clean in order to say to his fellow addicts, "This sucks! Let's work
We are trying, in our own way, to bring about the revolution. Some of us
chose a house, job, etc. before enlightenment. So it is harder. [But my
PCFD was Sept 1st, & my car hasn't move since.]
Leading by example is a good, but not the only, way to fight the fight.
Also, I believe that this list is more concerned w/ changing the built
environment to get rid of the need for cars in cities. Not the day-to-day
struggles of being carfree in the current world.
A better source for that may be the CarFree list.
RE:San Diego, Bill Volk bvolk@... is member of that list & may be
able to help you in your local efforts. Please keep this list informed on
your progress. I am especially interested because that's my home town & I
still have family there.
ride safe. ride often. ride everywhere.
Mark Watson __o
mark_a_watson@... Seattle, WA, USA
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