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Re: Any existing car free cities in US?

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  • sarati@email.com
    ... on ... it ... outrageous? ... In the last year or so, I too have dreamed about creating a car-free community somewhere, or redesigning an existing town or
    Message 1 of 17 , Sep 30, 2000
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      > 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
      > interested
      > in this idea.

      In the last year or so, I too have dreamed about creating a car-free
      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.

      Susan Arati
      sarati@...
    • Ronald Dawson
      ... I have a video clip of a fictional carfree place that you might want to watch? http://www.startrek.com/library/media_voy.asp?id=19242 Dawson
      Message 2 of 17 , Oct 1, 2000
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        Sam K wrote:
        >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
        >interested in this idea.

        I have a video clip of a fictional carfree place that you might want to
        watch?
        http://www.startrek.com/library/media_voy.asp?id=19242 Dawson
      • Louis-Luc Le Guerrier
        ... Excellent idea! In the house I currently live in, there is driveway for 6 cars. In winter it takes an hour with a snow blower to remove snow, and in the
        Message 3 of 17 , Oct 1, 2000
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          > -----Original Message-----
          > From: sarati@... [mailto:sarati@...]
          > Sent: 1 octobre, 2000 02:54
          > To: carfree_cities@egroups.com
          > Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: Any existing car free cities in US?
          >
          >
          >
          > > 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
          > > interested
          > > in this idea.
          >
          Excellent idea! In the house I currently live in, there is driveway for
          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-free
          > 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.
          >
          Yes. We just need to gather our forces and start a real project.
          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-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.
          >
          It's typically the worst situation there could be for a child to grow. They
          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
          our project.

          I sincerely wish you good luck to find a better place in your case.

          Louis-Luc
        • guy@subrosa.org
          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
          Message 4 of 17 , Oct 5, 2000
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            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.

            Guy
          • Mark Watson
            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.
            Message 5 of 17 , Oct 6, 2000
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              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
              toward quitting."

              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.
              http://www.egroups.com/group/CarFree

              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.

              Mark

              ********************************************************
              ride safe. ride often. ride everywhere.

              Mark Watson __o
              `\<
              (o)/(o)

              mark_a_watson@... Seattle, WA, USA
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