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  • Ronald Dawson
    ... 5 ... a ... no ... investment ... minutes ... suburbs ... cities ... congestion
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 3, 2001
    • 0 Attachment
      >http://www.accessatlanta.com/partners/ajc/epaper/editions/today/opinion_a31
      5
      >98903421e10e00e5.html
      >
      >OPINION TODAY • January 2, 2001
      >
      >Journal: Europe's lessons on Atlanta traffic
      >Staff
      >Tuesday, January 2, 2001
      >
      >
      >AS THE Atlanta region faces the monumental task of finding solutions to the
      >burgeoning traffic problem, state and local officials often cite Europe as
      a
      >prototype of how to move people around more quickly.
      >
      >Officials such as members of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority
      >frequently point to European capitals such as London or Paris, where heavy
      >investments have been made in public transportation and rail systems.
      >
      >But the belief that mass transit is the cure is a huge misconception.
      >Europeans from the French to the Germans, the Norwegians and the Dutch have
      >spent billions of dollars on public transport in the past quarter century
      >but have weak market share response for the investment.
      >
      >Just as in America, Europeans increasingly choose to use their own vehicles
      >to get around.
      >
      >In the groundbreaking book "Transport in Europe," published in 1997, author
      >Christian Gerondeau reveals the truth behind these commonly held ideas that
      >Europeans widely embrace mass transit. Gerondeau, a transportation policy
      >analyst, is a former transportation adviser to the French government and
      >author of the Paris Area Railway Master Plan.
      >
      >"The numerous attempts at easing road traffic by creating high-speed
      >railways, undergrounds, tramways, specialized railways, combined transport
      >systems, waterways and so forth have all failed," he writes. "For the great
      >majority of transport that take place on the European continent, there is
      no
      >alternative to individual transport."
      >
      >Transportation officials attempting to solve Atlanta's traffic woes could
      >learn some lessons from Europe's experience with transportation. It busts
      >many of the stereotypes public policymakers embrace too firmly. Among them:
      >
      >The perception that European governments still focus transportation
      >investments on public transit. Gerondeau writes that insufficient
      investment
      >in roads over recent decades has hurt the European economy. Sensing that,
      >Spain, Portugal, Germany, France, Sweden and Eastern European nations have
      >in recent years made roadway construction the highest priority.
      >
      >For example, France is in the middle of an ambitious extension of its road
      >network, including tunnels under Paris and under the historic city of
      >Versailles. In 1993, France decided to accelerate the completion of its
      >national motorway system with a target of constructing more than 150 miles
      >of roads per year.
      >
      >The perception that rail systems are the transportation mode of choice in
      >Europe and that they relieve road congestion.
      >
      >The facts, throughout Europe, contradict that idea. Nearly 80 percent of
      >working West Europeans commute every day by car. And where rail investments
      >have been made, traffic has not eased.
      >
      >For example, the city of Toulouse, France, opened an underground railway in
      >1993. As a result, road congestion declined by an imperceptible 1 percent.
      >Hardly a good return for a $500 million investment.
      >
      >When the high-speed train line from Lille to Paris opened that same year,
      >projections were that it would take almost one-third the motorists off the
      >A1 highway between the two cities. Despite a heavy promotional campaign,
      >"The new TGV had practically no impact on the traffic on the motorway that
      >runs parallel to it," Gerondeau wrote. The same happened in Zurich,
      >Switzerland, after a massive investment in public transportation.
      >
      >The perception that mass transit saves time. "Thanks to the ease with which
      >it transports its users from door to door without breaks, without waiting,
      >and without too much walking, the car is an exceptional time-saver in most
      >situations compared to walking or public transport," Gerondeau writes.
      >
      >In France, it takes an average of only 19 minutes to get to work, 17
      minutes
      >in Italy and 25 minutes in Germany. Yet the average door-to-door work trip
      >for those using public transportation in Europe is 38 minutes.
      >
      >Just as in America, affluence is driving more and more people to the
      suburbs
      >of major European cities. And as a result, the jobs are fleeing inner
      cities
      >as well.
      >
      >In France, a study of commutes in urban areas showed that only 16 percent
      >were to city centers. Sixty-four percent of commutes were from suburb to
      >suburb. Sounds just like Atlanta. But unfortunately, public planners here
      >are not responding accordingly.
      >
      >Gerondeau provides a wonderful road map for planners, transportation
      >policymakers and political leaders attempting to tackle Atlanta's
      congestion
      >problems. If officials, including members of the Georgia Regional
      >Transportation Authority, are serious about improving mobility, they should
      >proceed cautiously before writing off much-needed road projects and
      >overinvesting in mass transit.
      >
    • Mike Lacey
      As Churchill once said, they use their statistics like a drunk uses a lampost, for support rather than illumination. Whatever the figures might suggest, one
      Message 2 of 9 , Jan 3, 2001
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        As Churchill once said, they use their statistics like a drunk uses a
        lampost, for support rather than illumination.
        Whatever the figures might suggest, one only has to visit a European
        City to see how much smaller the role of the automobile is in the
        landscape, how much narrower the roadways, how many city centres are
        carfree, how many more people walk in the streets(surely the ultimate
        measure of the success of a city), how much more vital the city is,
        and of course how much more convenient the transit.
        Its not a case of how fast we can get there, its whether there is
        anywhere worth getting to.
        And then of course there's Japan....

        Mike

        --- In carfree_cities@egroups.com, "Ronald Dawson" <rdadddmd@t...>
        wrote:
        >
        >http://www.accessatlanta.com/partners/ajc/epaper/editions/today/opini
        on_a31
        > 5
        > >98903421e10e00e5.html
        > >
        > >OPINION TODAY • January 2, 2001
        > >
        > >Journal: Europe's lessons on Atlanta traffic
        > >Staff
        > >Tuesday, January 2, 2001
        > >
        > >
        > >AS THE Atlanta region faces the monumental task of finding
        solutions to the
        > >burgeoning traffic problem, state and local officials often cite
        Europe as
        > a
        > >prototype of how to move people around more quickly.
        > >
        > >Officials such as members of the Georgia Regional Transportation
        Authority
        > >frequently point to European capitals such as London or Paris,
        where heavy
        > >investments have been made in public transportation and rail
        systems.
        > >
        > >But the belief that mass transit is the cure is a huge
        misconception.
        > >Europeans from the French to the Germans, the Norwegians and the
        Dutch have
        > >spent billions of dollars on public transport in the past quarter
        century
        > >but have weak market share response for the investment.
        > >
        > >Just as in America, Europeans increasingly choose to use their own
        vehicles
        > >to get around.
        > >
        > >In the groundbreaking book "Transport in Europe," published in
        1997, author
        > >Christian Gerondeau reveals the truth behind these commonly held
        ideas that
        > >Europeans widely embrace mass transit. Gerondeau, a transportation
        policy
        > >analyst, is a former transportation adviser to the French
        government and
        > >author of the Paris Area Railway Master Plan.
        > >
        > >"The numerous attempts at easing road traffic by creating high-
        speed
        > >railways, undergrounds, tramways, specialized railways, combined
        transport
        > >systems, waterways and so forth have all failed," he writes. "For
        the great
        > >majority of transport that take place on the European continent,
        there is
        > no
        > >alternative to individual transport."
        > >
        > >Transportation officials attempting to solve Atlanta's traffic
        woes could
        > >learn some lessons from Europe's experience with transportation.
        It busts
        > >many of the stereotypes public policymakers embrace too firmly.
        Among them:
        > >
        > >The perception that European governments still focus transportation
        > >investments on public transit. Gerondeau writes that insufficient
        > investment
        > >in roads over recent decades has hurt the European economy.
        Sensing that,
        > >Spain, Portugal, Germany, France, Sweden and Eastern European
        nations have
        > >in recent years made roadway construction the highest priority.
        > >
        > >For example, France is in the middle of an ambitious extension of
        its road
        > >network, including tunnels under Paris and under the historic city
        of
        > >Versailles. In 1993, France decided to accelerate the completion
        of its
        > >national motorway system with a target of constructing more than
        150 miles
        > >of roads per year.
        > >
        > >The perception that rail systems are the transportation mode of
        choice in
        > >Europe and that they relieve road congestion.
        > >
        > >The facts, throughout Europe, contradict that idea. Nearly 80
        percent of
        > >working West Europeans commute every day by car. And where rail
        investments
        > >have been made, traffic has not eased.
        > >
        > >For example, the city of Toulouse, France, opened an underground
        railway in
        > >1993. As a result, road congestion declined by an imperceptible 1
        percent.
        > >Hardly a good return for a $500 million investment.
        > >
        > >When the high-speed train line from Lille to Paris opened that
        same year,
        > >projections were that it would take almost one-third the motorists
        off the
        > >A1 highway between the two cities. Despite a heavy promotional
        campaign,
        > >"The new TGV had practically no impact on the traffic on the
        motorway that
        > >runs parallel to it," Gerondeau wrote. The same happened in Zurich,
        > >Switzerland, after a massive investment in public transportation.
        > >
        > >The perception that mass transit saves time. "Thanks to the ease
        with which
        > >it transports its users from door to door without breaks, without
        waiting,
        > >and without too much walking, the car is an exceptional time-saver
        in most
        > >situations compared to walking or public transport," Gerondeau
        writes.
        > >
        > >In France, it takes an average of only 19 minutes to get to work,
        17
        > minutes
        > >in Italy and 25 minutes in Germany. Yet the average door-to-door
        work trip
        > >for those using public transportation in Europe is 38 minutes.
        > >
        > >Just as in America, affluence is driving more and more people to
        the
        > suburbs
        > >of major European cities. And as a result, the jobs are fleeing
        inner
        > cities
        > >as well.
        > >
        > >In France, a study of commutes in urban areas showed that only 16
        percent
        > >were to city centers. Sixty-four percent of commutes were from
        suburb to
        > >suburb. Sounds just like Atlanta. But unfortunately, public
        planners here
        > >are not responding accordingly.
        > >
        > >Gerondeau provides a wonderful road map for planners,
        transportation
        > >policymakers and political leaders attempting to tackle Atlanta's
        > congestion
        > >problems. If officials, including members of the Georgia Regional
        > >Transportation Authority, are serious about improving mobility,
        they should
        > >proceed cautiously before writing off much-needed road projects and
        > >overinvesting in mass transit.
        > >
      • philip@aal.cix.co.uk
        ... Bad examples; Britain (and I suspect, France) are amongst the most economically and culturally centralised nations in the western world. The whole of
        Message 3 of 9 , Jan 4, 2001
        • 0 Attachment
          > >OPINION TODAY � January 2, 2001
          > >
          > >Journal: Europe's lessons on Atlanta traffic
          > >Staff Tuesday, January 2, 2001
          > >
          > >
          > >Officials such as members of the Georgia Regional Transportation
          > Authority frequently point to European capitals such as London or Paris,
          > where heavy investments have been made in public transportation and rail
          > systems.

          Bad examples; Britain (and I suspect, France) are amongst the most
          economically and culturally centralised nations in the western world. The
          whole of British life is dictated by what is good for London. The city's
          transport problems are a direct result of an overheated economy, a virtual
          monopoly of the Media industry, cultural & sports events and an Air
          Transport industry that begs, cajoles & even forces people from the rest
          of the UK to fly from or via London Airports.
          > >
          > >But the belief that mass transit is the cure is a huge misconception.
          > >Europeans from the French to the Germans, the Norwegians and the Dutch
          > have spent billions of dollars on public transport in the past quarter
          > century but have weak market share response for the investment.

          > >Just as in America, Europeans increasingly choose to use their own
          > vehicles to get around.
          > >
          Whilst this criticism of (mainland) European policy is surprising, it only
          goes to re-enforce British folly in its obsession for Rail.

          Great Britain* differs from mainland Europe in a number of relevant ways:

          1. UK car ownership is currently lower than in mainland Europe. In other
          words, the potential increase in car ownership (and therefore usage) is
          much greater in the UK.

          2. Public Transport fares (particularly Rail) form a much higher
          proportion of income in the UK than in most European countries.

          3. Different public transport modes compete with each other in the UK,
          especially in the local urban/suburban context.

          *As with many aspects of British life, London differs from the rest of the
          UK; whilst car ownership in London is slightly lower than the UK average,
          its public transport is more co-ordinated/integrated, and particularly in
          the suburbs (LT Zones 2-6 for those familiar with the city) is
          considerably more affordable when average wages are taken into account.

          In the UK, barely 10% of the population live within "walking distance" of
          a Rail station/halt, although the proportion is higher in South-East
          England. All the investment in the world in such an inflexible form of
          transport is going to increase this proportion by much. The rest of the
          population would always depend on buses for their transport needs, unless
          of course, they drive (or if they are fit, and thrive on everyday danger;
          Cycle). Unfortunately, whilst billions are being invested in Rail to give
          motorists a choice, very little is being invested in the more affordable
          (for regular users, anyway) & flexible mode of Buses, and subsidies to
          keep "socially necessary" bus journeys running for shift workers etc. are
          being cut.
        • Guy Berliner
          The most interesting thing about this article is the unexamined assumption revealed ever so briefly in passing in the very last paragraph. There, the writer
          Message 4 of 9 , Jan 4, 2001
          • 0 Attachment
            The most interesting thing about this article is the
            unexamined assumption revealed ever so briefly in passing
            in the very last paragraph. There, the writer warns officials
            to proceed cautiously before "writing off much-needed road
            projects" if "[they] are serious about improving mobility."

            The unstated assumption, of course, is that "improving
            mobility" should be the watchword, the only true goal of all
            transportation. This is the logic that brought us the SST,
            the automobile, leaded gasoline, Bhopal, and every other
            disastrous innovation of modern times. Absent from this
            unstated assumption is any notion that "improved mobility"
            might be incompatible with other goals, like livable cities.

            It's really pretty hopeless to even attempt to have an intelligent
            dialogue with people like the writer of this piece whose thinking
            is so sclerotic. The only faint hope I detect is that, at least
            he does consider time spent in transit as a worthy measure of
            transport effectiveness, as indicated by his statistics on commute
            times. But unfortunately, like so many inept commentators on the
            subject, the thought has never crossed his mind that any other factor
            than mode of transport might interact with the latter. Like the
            invasion of exclusively auto-centered development models, such as the
            Walmartization of retail sales, now spreading its blight into Europe
            and elsewhere, remarked on in other posts to this list.

            Just the same, we might as well just admit right now that, yes,
            if mobility u"ber alles is your watchword, then the automobile is
            your machine. With ever increasing investments in motorized transport
            infrastructure, we can continue to enjoy the greatest mobility in
            history, as measured in miles per hour per year per citizen (per
            dollar!), for every man, woman, and child. At least in America. And
            at least as long as we are prepared to suffer any outrage against
            humanity and nature as the real cost for this way of life.


            --- In carfree_cities@egroups.com, "Ronald Dawson" <rdadddmd@t...>
            wrote:
            >
            >http://www.accessatlanta.com/partners/ajc/epaper/editions/today/opini
            on_a31
            > 5
            > >98903421e10e00e5.html
            > >
            > >OPINION TODAY • January 2, 2001
            > >
            > >Journal: Europe's lessons on Atlanta traffic
            > >Staff
            > >Tuesday, January 2, 2001
            > >
            > >
            > >AS THE Atlanta region faces the monumental task of finding
            solutions to the
            > >burgeoning traffic problem, state and local officials often cite
            Europe as
            > a
            > >prototype of how to move people around more quickly.
            > >
            > >Officials such as members of the Georgia Regional Transportation
            Authority
            > >frequently point to European capitals such as London or Paris,
            where heavy
            > >investments have been made in public transportation and rail
            systems.
            > >
            > >But the belief that mass transit is the cure is a huge
            misconception.
            > >Europeans from the French to the Germans, the Norwegians and the
            Dutch have
            > >spent billions of dollars on public transport in the past quarter
            century
            > >but have weak market share response for the investment.
            > >
            > >Just as in America, Europeans increasingly choose to use their own
            vehicles
            > >to get around.
            > >
            > >In the groundbreaking book "Transport in Europe," published in
            1997, author
            > >Christian Gerondeau reveals the truth behind these commonly held
            ideas that
            > >Europeans widely embrace mass transit. Gerondeau, a transportation
            policy
            > >analyst, is a former transportation adviser to the French
            government and
            > >author of the Paris Area Railway Master Plan.
            > >
            > >"The numerous attempts at easing road traffic by creating high-
            speed
            > >railways, undergrounds, tramways, specialized railways, combined
            transport
            > >systems, waterways and so forth have all failed," he writes. "For
            the great
            > >majority of transport that take place on the European continent,
            there is
            > no
            > >alternative to individual transport."
            > >
            > >Transportation officials attempting to solve Atlanta's traffic
            woes could
            > >learn some lessons from Europe's experience with transportation.
            It busts
            > >many of the stereotypes public policymakers embrace too firmly.
            Among them:
            > >
            > >The perception that European governments still focus transportation
            > >investments on public transit. Gerondeau writes that insufficient
            > investment
            > >in roads over recent decades has hurt the European economy.
            Sensing that,
            > >Spain, Portugal, Germany, France, Sweden and Eastern European
            nations have
            > >in recent years made roadway construction the highest priority.
            > >
            > >For example, France is in the middle of an ambitious extension of
            its road
            > >network, including tunnels under Paris and under the historic city
            of
            > >Versailles. In 1993, France decided to accelerate the completion
            of its
            > >national motorway system with a target of constructing more than
            150 miles
            > >of roads per year.
            > >
            > >The perception that rail systems are the transportation mode of
            choice in
            > >Europe and that they relieve road congestion.
            > >
            > >The facts, throughout Europe, contradict that idea. Nearly 80
            percent of
            > >working West Europeans commute every day by car. And where rail
            investments
            > >have been made, traffic has not eased.
            > >
            > >For example, the city of Toulouse, France, opened an underground
            railway in
            > >1993. As a result, road congestion declined by an imperceptible 1
            percent.
            > >Hardly a good return for a $500 million investment.
            > >
            > >When the high-speed train line from Lille to Paris opened that
            same year,
            > >projections were that it would take almost one-third the motorists
            off the
            > >A1 highway between the two cities. Despite a heavy promotional
            campaign,
            > >"The new TGV had practically no impact on the traffic on the
            motorway that
            > >runs parallel to it," Gerondeau wrote. The same happened in Zurich,
            > >Switzerland, after a massive investment in public transportation.
            > >
            > >The perception that mass transit saves time. "Thanks to the ease
            with which
            > >it transports its users from door to door without breaks, without
            waiting,
            > >and without too much walking, the car is an exceptional time-saver
            in most
            > >situations compared to walking or public transport," Gerondeau
            writes.
            > >
            > >In France, it takes an average of only 19 minutes to get to work,
            17
            > minutes
            > >in Italy and 25 minutes in Germany. Yet the average door-to-door
            work trip
            > >for those using public transportation in Europe is 38 minutes.
            > >
            > >Just as in America, affluence is driving more and more people to
            the
            > suburbs
            > >of major European cities. And as a result, the jobs are fleeing
            inner
            > cities
            > >as well.
            > >
            > >In France, a study of commutes in urban areas showed that only 16
            percent
            > >were to city centers. Sixty-four percent of commutes were from
            suburb to
            > >suburb. Sounds just like Atlanta. But unfortunately, public
            planners here
            > >are not responding accordingly.
            > >
            > >Gerondeau provides a wonderful road map for planners,
            transportation
            > >policymakers and political leaders attempting to tackle Atlanta's
            > congestion
            > >problems. If officials, including members of the Georgia Regional
            > >Transportation Authority, are serious about improving mobility,
            they should
            > >proceed cautiously before writing off much-needed road projects and
            > >overinvesting in mass transit.
            > >
          • Mike Lacey
            Great commentary Guy. As I was reading it, the rationale behind Wal- mart s Eastward invasion struck home. I think we are reaching a turning point in the way
            Message 5 of 9 , Jan 4, 2001
            • 0 Attachment
              Great commentary Guy. As I was reading it, the rationale behind Wal-
              mart's Eastward invasion struck home.

              I think we are reaching a turning point in the way we in America
              think about our built environment. The growing trend towards re-
              energizing our downtowns is symptomatic of the fact that so many of
              us are sick-to-death (figuratively and literally) of the
              homogonization of our landscape. We are yearning once more for that
              sense of place that has been destroyed as urban and rural have fused
              into "ubural".

              So like a tobacco company fearing for the inevitable backlash from
              the home market, Wallmart are pre-emptively moving to exploit
              the "virgin" markets of Europe and Japan, where folks are not yet
              jaded by the open-all-hours, park-all-day, bargains-uber-alles, big
              box mentality.




              --- In carfree_cities@egroups.com, "Guy Berliner" <guy@s...> wrote:
              > The most interesting thing about this article is the
              > unexamined assumption revealed ever so briefly in passing
              > in the very last paragraph. There, the writer warns officials
              > to proceed cautiously before "writing off much-needed road
              > projects" if "[they] are serious about improving mobility."
              >
              > The unstated assumption, of course, is that "improving
              > mobility" should be the watchword, the only true goal of all
              > transportation. This is the logic that brought us the SST,
              > the automobile, leaded gasoline, Bhopal, and every other
              > disastrous innovation of modern times. Absent from this
              > unstated assumption is any notion that "improved mobility"
              > might be incompatible with other goals, like livable cities.
              >
              > It's really pretty hopeless to even attempt to have an intelligent
              > dialogue with people like the writer of this piece whose thinking
              > is so sclerotic. The only faint hope I detect is that, at least
              > he does consider time spent in transit as a worthy measure of
              > transport effectiveness, as indicated by his statistics on commute
              > times. But unfortunately, like so many inept commentators on the
              > subject, the thought has never crossed his mind that any other
              factor
              > than mode of transport might interact with the latter. Like the
              > invasion of exclusively auto-centered development models, such as
              the
              > Walmartization of retail sales, now spreading its blight into Europe
              > and elsewhere, remarked on in other posts to this list.
              >
              > Just the same, we might as well just admit right now that, yes,
              > if mobility u"ber alles is your watchword, then the automobile is
              > your machine. With ever increasing investments in motorized
              transport
              > infrastructure, we can continue to enjoy the greatest mobility in
              > history, as measured in miles per hour per year per citizen (per
              > dollar!), for every man, woman, and child. At least in America. And
              > at least as long as we are prepared to suffer any outrage against
              > humanity and nature as the real cost for this way of life.
              >
            • Richard Risemberg
              Let me immodestly mention my editorial in this month s new Colonist, which addresses this matter: http://www.newcolonist.com/rr6.html Richard ... -- Richard
              Message 6 of 9 , Jan 4, 2001
              • 0 Attachment
                Let me immodestly mention my editorial in this month's new Colonist,
                which addresses this matter:

                http://www.newcolonist.com/rr6.html

                Richard

                Guy Berliner wrote:
                >
                > The most interesting thing about this article is the
                > unexamined assumption revealed ever so briefly in passing
                > in the very last paragraph. There, the writer warns officials
                > to proceed cautiously before "writing off much-needed road
                > projects" if "[they] are serious about improving mobility."
                >
                > The unstated assumption, of course, is that "improving
                > mobility" should be the watchword, the only true goal of all
                > transportation. This is the logic that brought us the SST,
                > the automobile, leaded gasoline, Bhopal, and every other
                > disastrous innovation of modern times. Absent from this
                > unstated assumption is any notion that "improved mobility"
                > might be incompatible with other goals, like livable cities.
                >

                --
                Richard Risemberg
                rickrise@...
                Living Room Urban Ecology webzine: http://www.living-room.org
                "There is more to life than increasing its speed." (Gandhi)
              • J.H. Crawford
                ... Actually, that s the real irony of all this. In large cities, the car is NOT the best way to provide increased mobility. Because of the space it requires
                Message 7 of 9 , Jan 5, 2001
                • 0 Attachment
                  Guy Berliner said:

                  >Just the same, we might as well just admit right now that, yes,
                  >if mobility u"ber alles is your watchword, then the automobile is
                  >your machine. With ever increasing investments in motorized transport
                  >infrastructure, we can continue to enjoy the greatest mobility in
                  >history, as measured in miles per hour per year per citizen (per
                  >dollar!), for every man, woman, and child. At least in America. And
                  >at least as long as we are prepared to suffer any outrage against
                  >humanity and nature as the real cost for this way of life.

                  Actually, that's the real irony of all this. In large cities,
                  the car is NOT the best way to provide increased mobility.
                  Because of the space it requires and the resultant spreading
                  of destinations, the car actually provides lousy mobility
                  while also bringing with it all those costs of which we have
                  become so aware. Try to imagine New York or Tokyo as auto-centric
                  cities--the traffic would be so bad that nobody could get anywhere.
                  Cars only work well in dispersed low-density areas with populations
                  that don't exceed a couple of million. Even LA is starting to
                  understand this.


                  I did take the trouble to send the following letter to the editor:


                  The Opinion piece, "Europe's lessons on Atlanta traffic" of January 2, 2001, requires rebuttal.

                  The purpose of building rail systems is not to reduce road trafficbut to improve access. While few rail systems have actually reduced road traffic, most of them have gained high ridership. Even in Los Angeles, the Red Line metro has exceeded ridership expectations.

                  While it is true that not every European rail investment has resulted in large ridership gains, many have. The Dutch railways, for example, are having a hard time coping with traffic increases that have coincided with on-going large-scale capital investments. British rail systems are staggering under increased ridership; insufficient investment led to a system that could not cope with demand.

                  Large cities cannot survive without rail systems, and the larger the metropolitan area, the more pressing this need. Cities such as New York, London, and Tokyo simply would not function without their rail systems.

                  It was claimed that the (relatively modest) investments made in Zurich were a failure, yet today 90% of commuters to downtown are on public transportation, primarily streetcars.

                  The real culprit here is the on-going construction of sprawling suburbs, especially given that these are invariably single-use areas that prevent simply walking to local services. No transportation system can cope with dispersed destinations such as those so typical of sprawl development, except in small cities, where the automobile provides a workable solution.

                  We now have heaps of sound research documenting the failure of road construction to relieve congestion. Further road construction projects in Atlanta will only spur additional sprawl, increased traffic, worse air pollution, and continued congestion. The only real solution to the problem is in revised land use planning based on increased density, fewer cars, mixed-use areas, and infill development near existing urban centers. Rail systems are an essential component of this kind of development if it is undertaken on a large scale.


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                  J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                  postmaster@... Carfree.com
                • Randall Hunt
                  ... Arguments against autos should stress ACCESS as a goal over MOBILITY.
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jan 5, 2001
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                    >Just the same, we might as well just admit right now that, yes,
                    >if mobility u"ber alles is your watchword, then the automobile is
                    >your machine.

                    Arguments against autos should stress ACCESS as a goal over MOBILITY.
                  • Ronald Dawson
                    ... When you think about it, L.A. was first built along the lines of the Pacific Electric and the Los Angeles Railways. Then they were destroyed and now a lot
                    Message 9 of 9 , Jan 5, 2001
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                      J.H. Crawford wrote:
                      >Actually, that's the real irony of all this. In large cities,
                      >the car is NOT the best way to provide increased mobility.
                      >Because of the space it requires and the resultant spreading
                      >of destinations, the car actually provides lousy mobility
                      >while also bringing with it all those costs of which we have
                      >become so aware. Try to imagine New York or Tokyo as auto-centric
                      >cities--the traffic would be so bad that nobody could get anywhere.
                      >Cars only work well in dispersed low-density areas with populations
                      >that don't exceed a couple of million. Even LA is starting to
                      >understand this.

                      When you think about it, L.A. was first built along the lines of the Pacific
                      Electric and the Los Angeles Railways. Then they were destroyed and now a
                      lot of money is being spent to repair the damage. Dawson
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