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What is a carfree area?

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  • Will Stewart
    ... This does bring up the point about gray areas, i.e., instead of being completely carfree, most places I ve heard discussed still have limited car-enabled
    Message 1 of 11 , Dec 3, 2000
      Mike Lacey wrote:

      >A car free neighborhood is not (in my opinion) a single use
      >development that bans cars. Thus I think that a car free shopping
      >street in Ottawa or Tokyo, while a good thing, is no more a car
      >free neighborhood than a suburban shopping mall or airport,
      >especially if these streets rely on nearby parking garages to
      >service them.

      This does bring up the point about gray areas, i.e., instead of being completely carfree, most
      places I've heard discussed still have limited car-enabled transportation, even if it means
      car-sharing. So if a 14 block area does not have automobile traffic and is served effectively
      by rail/bus, is it primary carfree? Do we need to come up with quantifying factors to give a
      sense of measurement?

      Some factors that are obvious;
      1. Ratio of cars per capita (adult): includes both shared and private. We should actually refer
      to vehicles, as my area seems to be almost carfree, with everyone driving SUVs, pickups, and
      minivans...
      2. Ratio of mass transit use: the percentage of the persons entering/exiting the area do so by
      this manner, instead of driving to a nearby parking lot and walking/shuttling in.
      3. Amount of parking spots and vehicle trips within the area per day.
      4. Mixed Use: Should include, as a minimum, residential and retail, with office space getting
      bonus points. Otherwise, it's just a pedestrian friendly area. Of course, I'm sure there are
      mix percentages of each that would be optimal, probably based on units, types of retail
      (grocery, pharmacy, other frequently visited places) within walking distance, and square
      footage. This probably requires a minimum number each for a critical mass effect, in order to
      bring in the basic necessary retail.
      5. Open Space: active and passive parks within/adjacent to the area. This is more of a
      livability issue.

      Of course, some of the factors above effect each other, such as 2 and 3

      Will Stewart
    • J.H. Crawford
      ... There s a much simpler test, IMHO: if you can walk down the middle of the street without worrying about what s bearing down on you, you re in an area
      Message 2 of 11 , Jan 3, 2001
        Will Stewart said:

        >Mike Lacey wrote:
        >
        >>A car free neighborhood is not (in my opinion) a single use
        >>development that bans cars. Thus I think that a car free shopping
        >>street in Ottawa or Tokyo, while a good thing, is no more a car
        >>free neighborhood than a suburban shopping mall or airport,
        >>especially if these streets rely on nearby parking garages to
        >>service them.
        >
        >This does bring up the point about gray areas, i.e., instead of being completely carfree, most
        >places I've heard discussed still have limited car-enabled transportation, even if it means
        >car-sharing. So if a 14 block area does not have automobile traffic and is served effectively
        >by rail/bus, is it primary carfree? Do we need to come up with quantifying factors to give a
        >sense of measurement?
        >
        >Some factors that are obvious;
        >1. Ratio of cars per capita (adult): includes both shared and private. We should actually refer
        >to vehicles, as my area seems to be almost carfree, with everyone driving SUVs, pickups, and
        >minivans...
        >2. Ratio of mass transit use: the percentage of the persons entering/exiting the area do so by
        >this manner, instead of driving to a nearby parking lot and walking/shuttling in.
        >3. Amount of parking spots and vehicle trips within the area per day.
        >4. Mixed Use: Should include, as a minimum, residential and retail, with office space getting
        >bonus points. Otherwise, it's just a pedestrian friendly area. Of course, I'm sure there are
        >mix percentages of each that would be optimal, probably based on units, types of retail
        >(grocery, pharmacy, other frequently visited places) within walking distance, and square
        >footage. This probably requires a minimum number each for a critical mass effect, in order to
        >bring in the basic necessary retail.
        >5. Open Space: active and passive parks within/adjacent to the area. This is more of a
        >livability issue.
        >
        >Of course, some of the factors above effect each other, such as 2 and 3

        There's a much simpler test, IMHO: if you can walk down the middle of
        the street without worrying about what's bearing down on you, you're
        in an area that's effectively carfree. Of course, just because it's
        carfree doesn't mean that it's mixed use or has good public transport,
        but these things tend to go hand-in-hand.



        ###

        J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
        postmaster@... Carfree.com
      • Mike Lacey
        ... of ... transport, ... I agree although I would look for a carfree area to be more than just a main street (I know you would too but I just want to clarify
        Message 3 of 11 , Jan 3, 2001
          --- In carfree_cities@egroups.com, "J.H. Crawford" <postmaster@c...>
          wrote:
          > There's a much simpler test, IMHO: if you can walk down the middle
          of
          > the street without worrying about what's bearing down on you, you're
          > in an area that's effectively carfree. Of course, just because it's
          > carfree doesn't mean that it's mixed use or has good public
          transport,
          > but these things tend to go hand-in-hand.

          I agree although I would look for a carfree area to be more than just
          a main street (I know you would too but I just want to clarify that
          point)

          Regarding mixed use, I am inclined to agrree with Will that we must
          emphasize its important. Universal City Walk in North Hollywood is
          nominally carfree, yet it is little more than a glorified shopping
          mall. It is privately owned and maybe private ownership is where the
          carfree = mixed use rule breaks down. Lets just be careful what we
          wish for.
        • J.H. Crawford
          Re the discussion of what makes an area carfree: First of all, I d suggest ruling out any area that is not open 24 hours a day to any member of the public free
          Message 4 of 11 , Jan 4, 2001
            Re the discussion of what makes an area carfree:

            First of all, I'd suggest ruling out any area that
            is not open 24 hours a day to any member of the public
            free of charge. No Disneylands.

            Second, I'd rather not be absolutist about carfreedom.
            We should, however, note any exceptions to true
            carfree status. This ought to include delivery vehicles,
            residents, etc.

            Third, the quesiton of the size of the area is important.
            Single streets, unless unusually long, don't qualify IMHO.

            Fourth, "busways" are not carfree areas. Take the
            bus-and-taxi-only street in Vancounver. It's really
            no better than an ordinary car-infested street, except
            that the traffic is a little lighter.

            Fifth, rural areas are not relevant. That doesn't mean,
            however, that small, dense towns in rural areas shouldn't
            be included if they are substantially carfree.


            I don't think Manhattan deserves a listing. It's true that
            one can (must, even!) live carfree in Manhattan, but car,
            truck, and bus traffic is a huge quality-of-life issue in
            Manhattan.


            Let's decide on the important criteria. Stickerguy Pete has
            proposed to develop a database. In the mean time, I'll maintain
            the listing at:

            http://www.carfree.com/carfree_places.html

            which has recently been further revised.

            This whole topic generated a lot of discussion last summer
            at Ecoplan:

            http://www.ecoplan.org/access/general/honor-roll.htm

            but no final result was generated. Those following this
            discussion should probably have a look at the Ecoplan
            discussion for further thoughts and ideas.

            Let's build a set of criteria (as simple as possible)
            and set up a matrix. Suggested criteria:

            degree of carfree-ness
            size of carfree area
            population
            nature of the area (residential, mixed use, shopping area, etc.)

            Further thoughts?



            ###

            J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
            postmaster@... Carfree.com
          • Stickerguy Pete
            Joel, I should have waited to open this can of worms, because I can t REALLY work on this project the way I want to until I get to Italy. I should have a lot
            Message 5 of 11 , Jan 4, 2001
              Joel,
              I should have waited to open this can of worms,
              because I can't REALLY work on this project the
              way I want to until I get to Italy. I should have a lot
              of free time there.

              So if I seem quiet about all of this over the next coupla
              weeks, don't think my heart's not in it... I'll be in Italy
              on Feb 6, so I imagine that soon after that I'll get to
              start work on this project.

              - Pete


              At 01:48 PM 01/04/2001 +0000, you wrote:

              >Re the discussion of what makes an area carfree:
              >
              >First of all, I'd suggest ruling out any area that
              >is not open 24 hours a day to any member of the public
              >free of charge. No Disneylands.
              >
              >Second, I'd rather not be absolutist about carfreedom.
              >We should, however, note any exceptions to true
              >carfree status. This ought to include delivery vehicles,
              >residents, etc.
              >
              >Third, the quesiton of the size of the area is important.
              >Single streets, unless unusually long, don't qualify IMHO.
              >
              >Fourth, "busways" are not carfree areas. Take the
              >bus-and-taxi-only street in Vancounver. It's really
              >no better than an ordinary car-infested street, except
              >that the traffic is a little lighter.
              >
              >Fifth, rural areas are not relevant. That doesn't mean,
              >however, that small, dense towns in rural areas shouldn't
              >be included if they are substantially carfree.
              >
              >
              >I don't think Manhattan deserves a listing. It's true that
              >one can (must, even!) live carfree in Manhattan, but car,
              >truck, and bus traffic is a huge quality-of-life issue in
              >Manhattan.
              >
              >
              >Let's decide on the important criteria. Stickerguy Pete has
              >proposed to develop a database. In the mean time, I'll maintain
              >the listing at:
              >
              > http://www.carfree.com/carfree_places.html
              >
              >which has recently been further revised.
              >
              >This whole topic generated a lot of discussion last summer
              >at Ecoplan:
              >
              > http://www.ecoplan.org/access/general/honor-roll.htm
              >
              >but no final result was generated. Those following this
              >discussion should probably have a look at the Ecoplan
              >discussion for further thoughts and ideas.
              >
              >Let's build a set of criteria (as simple as possible)
              >and set up a matrix. Suggested criteria:
              >
              >degree of carfree-ness
              >size of carfree area
              >population
              >nature of the area (residential, mixed use, shopping area, etc.)
              >
              >Further thoughts?
              >
              >
              >
              > ###
              >
              >J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
              >postmaster@... Carfree.com
              >
              >
              >To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
              >To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
              >carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
              >Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/


              --
              Sticker Guy! / 702 Records
              Po Box 204 Reno NV 89504
              ph 775-358-7865 fx 775-358-2453
              www.stickerguy.com

              PLEASE: Quote my message in your reply!
            • 3L
              ... Joel, Can Montreal Underground walkway network linking the metro and a vast number of buildings be part of the list? I m aware it s just beneath or over a
              Message 6 of 11 , Jan 4, 2001
                > >
                > >I don't think Manhattan deserves a listing. It's true that
                > >one can (must, even!) live carfree in Manhattan, but car,
                > >truck, and bus traffic is a huge quality-of-life issue in
                > >Manhattan.
                > >
                > >
                > >Let's decide on the important criteria. Stickerguy Pete has
                > >proposed to develop a database. In the mean time, I'll maintain
                > >the listing at:
                > >
                > > http://www.carfree.com/carfree_places.html
                > >
                Joel,
                Can Montreal Underground walkway network linking the metro and a vast number
                of buildings be part of the list?

                I'm aware it's just beneath or over a car-infested street network, but one
                can access a vast number of places without knowing about the existance of
                autos. Once it's on the list, it should be known worldwide, and we'll hope
                for more tunnels and outdoor carfree walkways or squares to link to the
                actual pedestrian network. It'll be cool when Montreal's outdoor carfree
                network will be as large as the indoor network.

                Louis-Luc
              • J.H. Crawford
                ... Hmmmm. Odd case. I supppose that it s interesting enought to warrant a mention, with a caveat about the nature of it. How large is the area in question?
                Message 7 of 11 , Jan 5, 2001
                  Louis-Luc said:

                  >Can Montreal Underground walkway network linking the metro and a vast number
                  >of buildings be part of the list?
                  >
                  >I'm aware it's just beneath or over a car-infested street network, but one
                  >can access a vast number of places without knowing about the existance of
                  >autos. Once it's on the list, it should be known worldwide, and we'll hope
                  >for more tunnels and outdoor carfree walkways or squares to link to the
                  >actual pedestrian network. It'll be cool when Montreal's outdoor carfree

                  Hmmmm. Odd case. I supppose that it's interesting enought to
                  warrant a mention, with a caveat about the nature of it.
                  How large is the area in question? (It was still pretty
                  small when I was last in Montreal in about 1976.)


                  ###

                  J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                  postmaster@... Carfree.com
                • Lanyon, Ryan
                  I would argue that grade separation does not make an area carfree. I m not familiar with too much of Montreal s underground network, but I do know Toronto s
                  Message 8 of 11 , Jan 5, 2001
                    I would argue that grade separation does not make an area carfree. I'm not
                    familiar with too much of Montreal's underground network, but I do know
                    Toronto's PATH (I think) system and discussions regarding the Linkages
                    project in Ottawa (to link buildings by enclosed pedestrian over- and
                    under-passes).

                    Removing pedestrians from the public right-of-way into a largely private or
                    commercial sphere (like a shopping mall) only serves to 'improve' conditions
                    for motorists. If those pesky pedestrians aren't spilling over the sidewalk
                    anymore, then cars can speed by faster and roads can be widened. This often
                    kills or reduces the healthy type of streetlife that Jane Jacobs describes,
                    since the eyes and ears are all indoors, and not in the community.

                    > -----Original Message-----
                    > From: 3L [SMTP:exqmtl@...]
                    > Sent: Friday, January 05, 2001 12:32 AM
                    > To: carfree_cities@egroups.com
                    > Subject: RE: [carfree_cities] Re: What is a carfree area?
                    >
                    > > >
                    > > >I don't think Manhattan deserves a listing. It's true that
                    > > >one can (must, even!) live carfree in Manhattan, but car,
                    > > >truck, and bus traffic is a huge quality-of-life issue in
                    > > >Manhattan.
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >Let's decide on the important criteria. Stickerguy Pete has
                    > > >proposed to develop a database. In the mean time, I'll maintain
                    > > >the listing at:
                    > > >
                    > > > http://www.carfree.com/carfree_places.html
                    > > >
                    > Joel,
                    > Can Montreal Underground walkway network linking the metro and a vast
                    > number
                    > of buildings be part of the list?
                    >
                    > I'm aware it's just beneath or over a car-infested street network, but one
                    > can access a vast number of places without knowing about the existance of
                    > autos. Once it's on the list, it should be known worldwide, and we'll hope
                    > for more tunnels and outdoor carfree walkways or squares to link to the
                    > actual pedestrian network. It'll be cool when Montreal's outdoor carfree
                    > network will be as large as the indoor network.
                    >
                    > Louis-Luc
                    >
                    >
                    > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
                    > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                    > carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
                    > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
                  • J.H. Crawford
                    ... I generally agree, but in the case of Montreal, the underground streets are so vast and heavily used that they ve taken on a life of their own, and the
                    Message 9 of 11 , Jan 5, 2001
                      Ryan Lanyon said:

                      >I would argue that grade separation does not make an area carfree. I'm not
                      >familiar with too much of Montreal's underground network, but I do know
                      >Toronto's PATH (I think) system and discussions regarding the Linkages
                      >project in Ottawa (to link buildings by enclosed pedestrian over- and
                      >under-passes).
                      >
                      >Removing pedestrians from the public right-of-way into a largely private or
                      >commercial sphere (like a shopping mall) only serves to 'improve' conditions
                      >for motorists. If those pesky pedestrians aren't spilling over the sidewalk
                      >anymore, then cars can speed by faster and roads can be widened. This often
                      >kills or reduces the healthy type of streetlife that Jane Jacobs describes,
                      >since the eyes and ears are all indoors, and not in the community.

                      I generally agree, but in the case of Montreal, the underground
                      streets are so vast and heavily used that they've taken on a life
                      of their own, and the area IS truly carfree. I think it's worth
                      including (when it's at this scale) even though I don't regard
                      it as a highly desirable condition. Even that having been said,
                      it's not an unreasonable solution in places where the winters
                      are bitterly cold.


                      ###

                      J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                      postmaster@... Carfree.com
                    • 3L
                      ... You make a good point. I ve already thought about that, and the fact there remain less pedestrians in the streets is the only disadvantage of an
                      Message 10 of 11 , Jan 5, 2001
                        > Removing pedestrians from the public right-of-way into a largely
                        > private or
                        > commercial sphere (like a shopping mall) only serves to 'improve'
                        > conditions
                        > for motorists. If those pesky pedestrians aren't spilling over
                        > the sidewalk
                        > anymore, then cars can speed by faster and roads can be widened.
                        > This often
                        > kills or reduces the healthy type of streetlife that Jane Jacobs
                        > describes,
                        > since the eyes and ears are all indoors, and not in the community.
                        >
                        You make a good point. I've already thought about that, and the fact there
                        remain less pedestrians in the streets is the only disadvantage of an
                        underground network. However, to the eyes of a citizen like me, I find it
                        much more attractive now to use the underground or metro, because it is
                        carfree (and not because it's weatherproof). I sometimes feel sad because my
                        absence from outdoor streetlife doesn't contribute to improve it, but I'm
                        attracted by *true* carfree areas because of the high quality of real-time
                        life it provides; no stress at all about potential danger, so 100% of your
                        attention is directed to you, you feel free like a bird, that flies over (or
                        under) the danger. I know that's not natural because we have legs (not
                        wings) and God gave them to us to use on the ground, and didn't ask us to
                        dig tunnels to be able to walk naturally.

                        Our job here (and everywhere else) is to discourage driving, widen sidewalks
                        on boulevards, turn smaller streets into free walkways, encourage bicycling,
                        severely punish bad drivers where cars are still allowed. When streets will
                        be as attractive as the underground, many people will choose the street.

                        Louis-Luc
                      • 3L
                        ... I ve heard there are 30 km of walkways. When you were there in 1976, there was only Place Ville-Marie - Queen Elizabeth - Gare Centrale, and Place-des-Arts
                        Message 11 of 11 , Jan 5, 2001
                          > Hmmmm. Odd case. I supppose that it's interesting enought to
                          > warrant a mention, with a caveat about the nature of it.
                          > How large is the area in question? (It was still pretty
                          > small when I was last in Montreal in about 1976.)
                          >
                          >
                          > ###
                          >
                          > J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                          > postmaster@... Carfree.com
                          I've heard there are 30 km of walkways. When you were there in 1976, there
                          was only Place Ville-Marie - Queen Elizabeth - Gare Centrale, and
                          Place-des-Arts - Complexe Desjardins - Complexe Guy Favreau links. Now you
                          can walk from Peel station, through McGill station down to Place Bonaventure
                          station. Very soon there will be a link between Bonaventure and
                          Square-Victoria stations, and by 2002 another walkway will link the World
                          Trade Centre to the Palais des Congres at Place d'Armes station.

                          Download the map of metro stations (listed above) and the grey lines show
                          all the pedestrian links.

                          http://www.stcum.qc.ca/metro/mapmetro.htm

                          Click the station of your choice on the main map, then the map of the
                          station is at the bottom of the page. The maps date from 1994, so some links
                          are missing. They should update the maps soon.

                          Louis-Luc
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