Re: [carfree_cities] Venice has motor problems, too!
>The Grand Canal of Venice was just featured on the latest "GreatYes, it does. I've always argued that the transport system in
>Streets" episode on PBS. Nathan Lane, the host, spoke with an
>expert on why Venice is sinking. The gentleman (sorry, I don't
>remember the expert's name!) said that the foundations of these
>great old buildings are crumbling due to the intense wakes
>created by heavy motorboat traffic. He also mentioned that "of
>course, they can't ban motorboat traffic," but something must be
>done to save the city.
>So Venice has motor problems too!
Venice, while agreeable for the users, is slow, inefficient,
and expensive. Wake damage to buildings and air pollution from
diesel engines in boats is an issue, although perhaps not such
a terribly serious issue. The New York Times of 29 August 2000
carried an article, "That Sinking Feeling, Again" as the lead
in the Science Times section. That article indicates that the
land in the Venetian lagoon has been sinking throughout the
entire 2000 years of archeological history, and that Venice
has always solved the problem by adding fill and building
higher. I don't think that the motorboat wakes can be called
"intense." There are speed limits on all the canals, and as
far as I have seen, they're pretty generally observed. The
wave energy in the open lagoon can be significant on windy
days, far in excess of the contribution of motorboats. It may
be that boat speeds should be still further reduced, but I
would not expect this to result in major changes. The problem
is simply that the water level is rising (due both to subsidence
and to rising sea level). Some scientists have questioned the
efficacy of the proposed gates at the entrances to the lagoon.
These would shut out the Adriatic during period of high water.
The problem is that these gates might have to be shut for so
many days a year that water quality in the lagoon would be
The worst contributor to the problem was the pumping of water
out of aquifers under the lagoon. This practice was stopped
quite a few years ago.
J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities