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Re: urbancyclist-uk: Love of the car

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  • Simon Baddeley
    But there is still a crude truth that applies far too widely. Joel has made the calculation that the design reference of a carfree city - to persuade people
    Message 1 of 6 , May 29, 2001
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      But there is still a crude truth that applies far too widely. Joel has made
      the calculation that the design reference of a carfree city - to persuade
      people carfree is better than not carfree - is:

      No more than 10 minutes walk to a transit stop
      No more than 4 minutes wait between trams or trains
      No more than 34 minutes maximum for a journey from one side of the city to
      another.

      Use this formula in most cities and the car still wins on most if not all
      counts. Not that the car achieves these figures all the time by any means
      but it does it better than currently available rapid transit within current
      settlement patterns. it would surprise me if this wasn't the case at
      present. So of course the "trite" observation contained a truth.

      Simon


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Paul Smee <P.Smee@...>
      To: <urbancyclist-uk@...>
      Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2001 12:44 PM
      Subject: RE: urbancyclist-uk: Love of the car


      > From the urbancyclist-uk e-mail list
      >
      >
      > > Date: Mon, 28-May-2001 21:47:54 GMT
      > > From: Peter Edwardson <peter@...>
      > >
      > > Simon Baddeley wrote:
      > > > A friend on Carfree Cities has suggested UCUK might like to read the
      > > > piece
      > > > by Andre Gorz on why some people are so in love with their cars.
      > > >
      > > > http://www.gn.apc.org/rts/socid.htm
      > > >
      > > Is it not maybe because cars take people where they want to go, when
      > > they want?
      >
      > That's part of the myth, but it's only true if not too many other
      > people want to go to similar 'where's at the same 'when'.
      >
      > Increasingly, such ideal driving conditions don't apply. Observe the
      > road to any seaside town on any nice weekend. Similarly, at some times
      > of the week, it is faster to walk from my house, or from my office,
      > down to the shopping centre of Bristol, than to drive - evidenced by
      > the fact that I, on foot, overtake all the motorised traffic. And
      > that's before you add in any time needed to find, and to get to/from, a
      > parking place.
      >
      > Increasingly often, the 'freedom' offered by the car is not 'to go
      > where you want, when you want', but rather to sit in a traffic jam
      > somewhere along the route to where you'd like to be.
      >
      > --
      > http://www.cse.bris.ac.uk/~ccpes --- http://www.bigduck.u-net.com/
      >
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    • J.H. Crawford
      ... I don t think so. You d have a fairly difficult time getting from one side of San Fracisco to the other at 4 in the morning in 35 minutes. I was trying
      Message 2 of 6 , May 30, 2001
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        Minor inaccuracies [corrected here]:

        >But there is still a crude truth that applies far too widely. Joel has made
        >the calculation that the design reference of a carfree city - to persuade
        >people carfree is better than not carfree - is:

        >No more than 10 minutes walk to a transit stop [reference design is 5 min.]
        >No more than 4 minutes wait between trams or trains
        >No more than 34 minutes maximum for a journey from one side of the city to
        >another. [35 minutes]

        >Use this formula in most cities and the car still wins on most if not all
        >counts.

        I don't think so. You'd have a fairly difficult time getting from one
        side of San Fracisco to the other at 4 in the morning in 35 minutes.
        I was trying actually to beat the car, door to door. Note also that
        in the proposed "Auto-Centric Carfree City," it's considerably faster
        to take public transport than to drive.


        -- ### --

        J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
        postmaster@... Carfree.com
      • Mike Lacey
        Not wanting to appear pedantic but... The 38AX bus gets me from the Pacific Ocean to the Financial District (one side of San Francisco to the other) in 30
        Message 3 of 6 , May 30, 2001
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          Not wanting to appear pedantic but...
          The 38AX bus gets me from the Pacific Ocean to the Financial District
          (one side of San Francisco to the other) in 30 minutes in the middle
          of rush hour

          --- In carfree_cities@y..., "J.H. Crawford" <postmaster@c...> wrote:
          > I don't think so. You'd have a fairly difficult time getting from
          one
          > side of San Fracisco to the other at 4 in the morning in 35 minutes.
          > I was trying actually to beat the car, door to door. Note also that
          > in the proposed "Auto-Centric Carfree City," it's considerably
          faster
          > to take public transport than to drive.
        • J.H. Crawford
          I was thinking more Presidio to Candlestick. Still, the average speed of your bus is only about 14 MPH, and it s an express. By the usual standards, that s
          Message 4 of 6 , May 30, 2001
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            I was thinking more Presidio to Candlestick. Still, the average
            speed of your bus is only about 14 MPH, and it's an express.
            By the usual standards, that's pretty good, but I had an
            average speed of 30 MPH in mind (metro, of course).

            >Not wanting to appear pedantic but...
            >The 38AX bus gets me from the Pacific Ocean to the Financial District
            >(one side of San Francisco to the other) in 30 minutes in the middle
            >of rush hour
            >
            >--- In carfree_cities@y..., "J.H. Crawford" <postmaster@c...> wrote:
            >> I don't think so. You'd have a fairly difficult time getting from
            >one
            >> side of San Fracisco to the other at 4 in the morning in 35 minutes.
            >> I was trying actually to beat the car, door to door. Note also that
            >> in the proposed "Auto-Centric Carfree City," it's considerably
            >faster
            >> to take public transport than to drive.
            >
            >
            >
            >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/
            >
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            >
            >
            >
            >

            -- ### --

            J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
            postmaster@... Carfree.com
          • Simon Baddeley
            Dear Joel Thanks for the detailed correction. Where did I get that 34 minutes from. Perhaps because it s my house number. Ditto why did I think 10 minutes from
            Message 5 of 6 , Jun 2, 2001
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              Dear Joel

              Thanks for the detailed correction. Where did I get that 34 minutes from.
              Perhaps because it's my house number. Ditto why did I think 10 minutes from
              home to a transit stop. Maybe I was thinking there-and-back.

              But can the Rapid Transit beat the 35 minute limit in SF?
              My point was not that the car can achieve this but that it may still be
              better than the tram or train even if the car takes longer if the train or
              tram can't achieve the 35 minutes. The car driver will still prefer other
              features of the car - like its insulation from others, in-car music, status
              etc - unless the capability and smartness of rapid transit including the
              guaranteed 35 minutes cross city maximum makes the car look as naff as I
              already regard it for city travel.

              Bets wishes

              S


              ----- Original Message -----
              From: J.H. Crawford <postmaster@...>
              To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2001 5:14 PM
              Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re: urbancyclist-uk: Love of the car


              >
              > Minor inaccuracies [corrected here]:
              >
              > >But there is still a crude truth that applies far too widely. Joel has
              made
              > >the calculation that the design reference of a carfree city - to persuade
              > >people carfree is better than not carfree - is:
              >
              > >No more than 10 minutes walk to a transit stop [reference design is 5
              min.]
              > >No more than 4 minutes wait between trams or trains
              > >No more than 34 minutes maximum for a journey from one side of the city
              to
              > >another. [35 minutes]
              >
              > >Use this formula in most cities and the car still wins on most if not all
              > >counts.
              >
              > I don't think so. You'd have a fairly difficult time getting from one
              > side of San Fracisco to the other at 4 in the morning in 35 minutes.
              > I was trying actually to beat the car, door to door. Note also that
              > in the proposed "Auto-Centric Carfree City," it's considerably faster
              > to take public transport than to drive.
            • Simon Baddeley
              I am delighted with your reply (and I am posting it to the group because I value running these reflections in front of that audience). I am also moved that you
              Message 6 of 6 , Jun 3, 2001
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                I am delighted with your reply (and I am posting it to the group because I
                value running these reflections in front of that audience). I am also moved
                that you have shared with me the fact that you get downhearted about the way
                the world is. You write with such optimism and curbed passion that I could
                be forgiven for forgetting that you must share the emotions - positive and
                negative - that make your book so exciting and consoling to many of us.

                Thanks for the detailed stuff. It's vital to this dialogue and the learning
                that attends it. I'm taking a break from delivering election leaflets hour
                upon hour for the last few days and getting more insight into the cancerous
                harm the car along with a few other things - like mismanaged and corruptly
                allocated public regeneration money - has done to the fabric of my
                neighbourhood.

                "I find it so strange that so many people regard the isolation of
                > the car as some kind of ideal. It really speaks to the tremendous
                > class-sensitivity of Americans (and nearly everybody else)."

                It's the same here tho' isn't it. I wrote a paper in 1995 published in
                "Human Relations" (my most prestigious journal publication to date) called
                "The Internal Polity". I don't want to burden you with more reading
                especially thinking remote from urban design but I wrote it (along with a
                later chapter on "Governmentality" in a collection of papers on "The
                Governance of Cyberspace"). My theme was that there's been an explosion of
                awareness of the infinite dimensions of inner space - the fabric of
                self-consciousness. I called it "The Internal Polity". These inner spaces
                were explored and mapped as thoroughly as Marx and others mapped society
                during the 19/20th centuries.

                From new age self-improvement books at the airport to lengthy psychoanalysis
                and drug assisted escape from misery, interior space has - for the western
                mind and populations under western influence - become a territory of deep
                and consuming fascination and indulgence (unlike the interior journeys
                conducted within religious discipline).

                The car is par excellence a device that allows this exploration and
                colonisation of the psyche to continue apace. It's one if the best places in
                which to evade the hazardous distractions of the external world while
                offering an all round view of it that avoids the mental discipline of
                monkish isolation. Gorz is good but he doesn't get the whole of our
                fascination with being away from our fellow humans.

                My daughter Amy sat in "silence" with me on a car journey from the
                Gloucestershire countryside yesterday playing her favourite music to herself
                through earphones. She is very bright if her test results are anything to go
                by. I asked her, when an opportunity arose, why she seemed to need to
                listen to music like this so often and especially now when we might be
                chatting. She said talking to a parent was impossible at this stage in her
                life. Surely I understood that.

                Her CD player helped her concentrate on a homework assignment she was
                anxious about. That's what she said. We used to have wonderful conversations
                as we walked or cycled together but that is over for the time being. Is
                there some new developmental transition that goes beyond the 1950s invention
                of adolescence that hasn't been properly named that requires (as with so
                called primitive tribes) a self-guided grand tour of interior space?

                My worry and yours (and indeed of thousands of parents) is that too many
                people get to like their interior space so much they invest in technologies
                and adopt attitudes to ensure they don't come out the other side. Is the car
                one of these. Is this shiny beauty presented by some proud parents on
                graduation day a collusion in their dearest one's temptation to stay
                separated from the exterior world.

                PhD students among the children of my friends reassure me of the one's who
                get out and away. As I write to you my heart swells a little at hearing Amy
                playing Fur Elise on our piano downstairs! For intervals she can put the
                late Kurt Cobain- "I hate life and I want to die" - aside.

                Best wishes

                Simon


                ----- Original Message -----
                From: J.H. Crawford <postmaster@...>
                To: <s.j.baddeley@...>
                Sent: Sunday, June 03, 2001 11:48 AM
                Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re: urbancyclist-uk: Love of the car


                >
                > Hi Simon,
                >
                > I think you meant to send this off-list. I've made that mistake
                > myself--it's very easy to do.
                >
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