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Some thing from Atlanta.

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  • Ronald Dawson
    From http://www.accessatlanta.com/partners/ajc/epaper/editions/sunday/local_news_ b3150314a433f056007a.html Dawson Lane Ranger: Smart growth doubter still at
    Message 1 of 9 , Jul 16, 2001
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      From
      http://www.accessatlanta.com/partners/ajc/epaper/editions/sunday/local_news_
      b3150314a433f056007a.html Dawson

      Lane Ranger: 'Smart growth' doubter still at it
      Joey Ledford - Staff
      Sunday, July 15, 2001

      Jekyll Island --- Smart growth isn't smart at all, says Wendell Cox. It
      isn't a cure for traffic congestion, or for sprawl.

      Cox, a transportation consultant, earned headlines for a report he penned
      for the Georgia Public Policy Foundation last year that advocated the
      rebuilding of metro Atlanta's surface street network into a grid system. He
      was holding court last week at a meeting of state transportation engineers.

      His contrarian yet thought-provoking views haven't changed. In fact, he's
      even more outspoken that metro Atlanta's transportation policy is far
      off-course.

      "My whole point on smart growth is that its advocates have not made their
      point," he said of the popular catchphrase for mixed-use, higher-density
      developments served by mass transit. "The 'smart growth' people have not
      identified a problem sufficient to justify their solutions."

      The average European city has a transit market share of 20 percent, compared
      with just 5 percent in the United States, he said. Yet the average European
      city has the "traffic density of Los Angeles."

      "When you put more cars into the same place, you're going to make traffic
      worse," he said. "The theory that smart growth is going to make traffic
      better is just plain wrong."

      Higher-density developments lead to more traffic, not less, Cox said.

      "For every 1 percent increase in density, trends show a 0.8 percent increase
      in traffic," he said.

      Air quality is not a reason for Atlanta to abandon its suburbanized
      lifestyle, he added.

      "Air pollution is not getting worse in Atlanta," he said. "The truth is we
      are making progress in air pollution and we're going to make more" because
      automakers are building cleaner motor vehicles.

      Cox dismisses most of metro Atlanta's proposed solutions to its traffic,
      sprawl and air quality woes. Light rail won't have any positive impact on
      traffic, he said, and though he said he prefers heavy MARTA rail to light
      rail, he's not terribly fond of it, either.

      For what it costs to attract a new rider to mass transit, Cox said, you
      could lease that individual a new car every three years. And to make his
      point even more biting, he said you could let the would-be transit rider
      choose between a Jaguar or a Mercedes.

      "Transit doesn't reduce traffic," he said. "It doesn't get enough people out
      of their cars."

      Transit is a solution for workers in downtown areas, but Cox argues that
      only 6 percent to 7 percent of Atlanta's work force is downtown, a figure
      supported by Atlanta Regional Commission surveys. The entire city, including
      Buckhead, encompasses 22.5 percent of the metro work force, said the ARC.

      "There's no way you are ever going to serve Perimeter or Cumberland Mall
      with mass transit," Cox said. "What are you going to do when you get them
      there? They can't walk."

      State officials are pushing bus shuttles for high-activity areas like
      Perimeter and Cumberland, a point Cox did not address.

      Cox is adamantly pro pavement, so one would think he'd be the biggest fan of
      the proposed Northern Arc, a highway that would connect communities across
      metro Atlanta's fast-developing far Northside. Not necessarily.

      "I'm not sure the Northern Arc is my favorite project," he said.

      But there's a controversial caveat.

      "You could justify TWO freeways between the Perimeter and the Northern Arc,"
      Cox said, describing Atlanta's Northside as badly underserved by freeways.

      But that's one of the biggest flaws in Cox's logic. He apparently proposes
      the leveling of scores of metro Atlanta's sprawling suburban subdivisions
      and business districts to retrofit the region with more freeways and a grid
      system of surface streets.

      "The biggest problem you have in Atlanta is the lack of an arterial support
      street system," he said.

      That's true. But most experts say Atlanta can't change that --- it's too
      late in the game.

      Cox's main thesis, though, is very much the truth, not just for Atlanta, but
      for America in general.

      "The overwhelming reality of the future of transportation in this country is
      that automobile use will continue to increase, and it's time we recognize
      that," he said. "People will not abandon cars for transit because it does
      not take them where they are going."

      Cox also took some time to blast Gov. Roy Barnes' $8.5 billion state
      transportation plan, which devotes 55 percent of that bonded funding to
      transit projects.

      That 55 percent, he said, will net a 1 percent increase in transit
      ridership. However, Jane Hayse, the Atlanta Regional Commission's
      transportation planning director, countered that transit work trips could
      increase by 5 percent to 6 percent.

      "The problems of transportation in Atlanta are a lot bigger than can be
      solved with traditional transit ideas," Cox said.

      traffic@...
    • J.H. Crawford
      ... snip, snip, snip ... And they re WAY bigger than can be solved with traditional highway ideas... Anybody want to take on the task of debunking Cox? We
      Message 2 of 9 , Jul 17, 2001
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        Dawson posted:

        >Lane Ranger: 'Smart growth' doubter still at it
        >Joey Ledford - Staff
        >Sunday, July 15, 2001

        snip, snip, snip

        >"The problems of transportation in Atlanta are a lot bigger than can be
        >solved with traditional transit ideas," Cox said.

        And they're WAY bigger than can be solved with traditional highway ideas...

        Anybody want to take on the task of debunking Cox? We could sure
        use a good letter to the paper that published this swill, and we
        need a generalized rebuttal of Cox's highway-mongering.


        -- ### --

        J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
        postmaster@... Carfree.com
      • Mike Lacey
        I, for one, readily admit that smart growth does not make our traffic any thinner, but what it does do is give residents the option of taking transit or
        Message 3 of 9 , Jul 17, 2001
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          I, for one, readily admit that smart growth does not make our traffic
          any thinner, but what it does do is give residents the option of
          taking transit or walking, and it vastly reduces the distance of the
          average journey.

          Cox's vision is very narrow, being concerned only with traffic
          reduction. Within that highly restrictive context his analysis is
          probaly correct. However Cox show no interest in people oriented
          analysis - personal mobility, quality of life, safety and freedom

          Mike
        • Henning Mortensen
          I hate to say this, but Mr Cox has a point. If we look at larger, more dense cities, although we find a much smaller percentage of people driving, we find that
          Message 4 of 9 , Jul 26, 2001
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            I hate to say this, but Mr Cox has a point. If we look at larger, more dense
            cities, although we find a much smaller percentage of people driving, we
            find that the streets are just as jammed as elsewhere. Clearly the only way
            to have high density living without huge traffic is to have the area
            car-free.

            Obviously this is a solution that Mr. Cox and the Atlanta people have not
            been able to see over their dashboards.

            Joel, have you had Mr. Cox comment on your book or website. I suspect he has
            never really given the idea any thought.


            >From: "Ronald Dawson" <rdadddmd@...>

            >The average European city has a transit market share of 20 percent,
            >compared
            >with just 5 percent in the United States, he said. Yet the average European
            >city has the "traffic density of Los Angeles."
            >
            >"When you put more cars into the same place, you're going to make traffic
            >worse," he said. "The theory that smart growth is going to make traffic
            >better is just plain wrong."
            >
            >Higher-density developments lead to more traffic, not less, Cox said.
            >
            >"For every 1 percent increase in density, trends show a 0.8 percent
            >increase
            >in traffic," he said.


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          • Guy Berliner
            I wouldn t waste my time on Mr. Cox. It s plain that not only has the carfree city not occurred to him, but also that his priorities lie not with serving the
            Message 5 of 9 , Jul 27, 2001
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              I wouldn't waste my time on Mr. Cox. It's plain that not only has the
              carfree city not occurred to him, but also that his priorities lie not
              with serving the (carfree) majority, even where such exists, but in
              vouchsafing the advantages accruing to motorism and motorists everywhere.
              And the latter will perforce be a planetary minority, in any planetary
              scenario that doesn't end in apocalyptic disaster.

              "Henning Mortensen" <henning_work@...> wrote:

              > Subject: Re: Some thing from Atlanta.
              >
              > I hate to say this, but Mr Cox has a point. If we look at larger, more dense
              > cities, although we find a much smaller percentage of people driving, we
              > find that the streets are just as jammed as elsewhere. Clearly the only way
              > to have high density living without huge traffic is to have the area
              > car-free.
              >
              > Obviously this is a solution that Mr. Cox and the Atlanta people have not
              > been able to see over their dashboards.
              >
              > Joel, have you had Mr. Cox comment on your book or website. I suspect he has
              > never really given the idea any thought.
              >
              >
              > >From: "Ronald Dawson" <rdadddmd@...>
              >
              > >The average European city has a transit market share of 20 percent,
              > >compared
              > >with just 5 percent in the United States, he said. Yet the average European
              > >city has the "traffic density of Los Angeles."
              > >
              > >"When you put more cars into the same place, you're going to make traffic
              > >worse," he said. "The theory that smart growth is going to make traffic
              > >better is just plain wrong."
              > >
              > >Higher-density developments lead to more traffic, not less, Cox said.
              > >
              > >"For every 1 percent increase in density, trends show a 0.8 percent
              > >increase
              > >in traffic," he said.
              >
              >
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            • Matt Lyons
              ... I have to agree with you there. After visiting demographia.com to hear Mr. Cox s arguments I came away with the impression that his motives are in line
              Message 6 of 9 , Aug 6, 2001
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                --- In carfree_cities@y..., "Mike Lacey" <firefly956@h...> wrote:

                > Cox's vision is very narrow, being concerned only with traffic
                > reduction. Within that highly restrictive context his analysis is
                > probaly correct. However Cox show no interest in people oriented
                > analysis - personal mobility, quality of life, safety and freedom

                I have to agree with you there. After visiting demographia.com to
                hear Mr. Cox's arguments I came away with the impression that his
                motives are in line with the anti-society libertarian/property rights
                crowd. His statistics are very misleading and are presented in a way
                that tries to make sprawl seem like some sort of utopian paradise.
                To me the most ludicrous thing about his arguments is that they fail
                to address what is so blatently obvious. One only has to look at the
                sprawling, soulless landscape of Wal-Marts, McDonalds, and McMansions
                to see that something has gone terribly wrong with the American dream.

                However, many people in this country just don't realize the magnitude
                of the problem or they just choose to ignore it all together. At
                lunch today I was arguing with a co-worker about why sprawl is such a
                problem. His response was that its what the American public wants
                and that "freedom" comes before everything else. Nevermind that
                there is no real alternative to it in most U.S. cities. He said that
                people are basically greedy and that is why the prefer it. If they
                didn't want this they would vote against it. I'm not so sure that is
                the case. I don't believe people are basically greedy, but rather
                that people in the U.S. have been sold on the misleading idea that
                somehow excessive consumption is good for everything.

                In any case, I just discovered this discussion group a couple days
                ago. I'm originally from Atlanta and grew up there in the 70s in 80s
                (back when it was still a somewhat nice place to live). I moved away
                ten years ago and now live about an hour north of Asheville, NC,
                which is one of the nicest small cities in the U.S. if you ever get a
                chance to visit there. I've always been aware of the problems with
                urban sprawl, but didn't become seriously interested in it until I
                made a trip to France and Germany two years ago. I was literally
                blown away by how much nicer and more liveable their cities are.
                Flying back to Atlanta from Europe was totally surreal, as it became
                immediately obvious that Atlanta for the most part has all the charm
                of a corporate office park. Shortly after that I picked up a copy of
                Andres Duany's Suburban Nation and I've been a New Urbanist convert
                ever since. Urban sprawl is the greatest threat to life in this
                country and the thought of another 50 years of such planning is a
                horrifying indeed.

                Looking forward to continuing this discussion.

                -Matt
              • Mark Rauterkus
                Hi All, ... I m very libertairian, pro propety rights and pro society too. Try not to trip into a dark hole with a string-of-names and without grace nor
                Message 7 of 9 , Aug 6, 2001
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                  Hi All,

                  Matt wrote in part in this thread:
                  > After visiting demographia.com to
                  > hear Mr. Cox's arguments I came away with the impression that his
                  > motives are in line with the anti-society libertarian/property rights
                  > crowd.

                  I'm very libertairian, pro propety rights and pro society too. Try not to
                  trip into a dark hole with a string-of-names and without grace nor universal
                  understanding. I see some shifting sand foundations brewing, so I'll jump in
                  here.

                  > His statistics are very misleading and are presented in a way
                  > that tries to make sprawl seem like some sort of utopian paradise.
                  Face it, to some, sprawl is a real utopian paradise. Not me, not you
                  perhaps. But, sprawl is "utopian paradise" for some folks and for good
                  reason.

                  I'd say aim for the roots, not the leaves.

                  > To me the most ludicrous thing about his arguments is that they fail
                  > to address what is so blatently obvious. One only has to look at the
                  > sprawling, soulless landscape of Wal-Marts, McDonalds, and McMansions
                  > to see that something has gone terribly wrong with the American dream.

                  To play the devil's advocate again -- and that was the quest of this thread
                  if I'm not mistaken -- here is another blatently obvious wound: inter-city
                  America. Sadly, there are many neighborhoods in my city, Pittsburgh, PA,
                  USA, where things are blatently ugly. Hence, we can't overlook those
                  conditions as well.

                  > His response was that its what the American public wants
                  > and that "freedom" comes before everything else.
                  I too feel strongly that freedom does come before everything else as well. I
                  think you'd be better served not fighting that point on face-value.

                  I tell a story, (ask a question). What is your #1 wish for your kids',
                  kids', kids', kids (7th generation)? My wish if for them to be free. Many
                  will agree with me.

                  But, .... where I suggest you lead the conversation is to the realm of
                  "responsibility." Every freedom advocate understands as well that
                  "restraint" is a measure of freedom as well. There can be no freedom without
                  an equal amount of restraint. That is where you win the day -- or expose the
                  hope of your convictions.

                  > Nevermind that
                  > there is no real alternative to it in most U.S. cities. He said that
                  > people are basically greedy and that is why the prefer it. If they
                  > didn't want this they would vote against it. I'm not so sure that is
                  > the case. I don't believe people are basically greedy, but rather
                  > that people in the U.S. have been sold on the misleading idea that
                  > somehow excessive consumption is good for everything.

                  Now you've gone three steps beyond.... and I'm not sure I agree as well. My
                  remarks are more for the very root of the discussion.

                  > Urban sprawl is the greatest threat to life in this
                  > country and the thought of another 50 years of such planning is a
                  > horrifying indeed.

                  Woops. Can't agree. The loss of freedom is the greatest threat to live in
                  this country. Perhaps urban sprawl is a by-product of huge weakness in
                  self-government, democracy, freedoms and restraints. IMHO, the city-folks
                  have gotten out flanked by a few speculators and have had the rug of
                  responsible democratic freedoms pulled from under them by a few with serious
                  corporate interests.

                  Ta.

                  Mark Rauterkus
                  mark@...

                  http://Rauterkus.com
                • Matt Lyons
                  ... not to ... universal ... I ll jump in ... Excellent. I wasn t expecting this sort of response, but I always enjoy a healthy bit of rational discourse. ...
                  Message 8 of 9 , Aug 6, 2001
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                    --- In carfree_cities@y..., "Mark Rauterkus" <mark@R...> wrote:
                    > Hi All,

                    > I'm very libertairian, pro propety rights and pro society too. Try
                    not to
                    > trip into a dark hole with a string-of-names and without grace nor
                    universal
                    > understanding. I see some shifting sand foundations brewing, so
                    I'll jump in
                    > here.

                    Excellent. I wasn't expecting this sort of response, but I always
                    enjoy a healthy bit of rational discourse.

                    > Face it, to some, sprawl is a real utopian paradise. Not me, not you
                    > perhaps. But, sprawl is "utopian paradise" for some folks and for
                    good
                    > reason.

                    Well the problem is there little or no alternative to sprawl type
                    developments in a most parts of the U.S. Due to the postwar era of
                    modern planning the traditional mixed use style of development is
                    illegal in many places as it violates modern zoning laws. The only
                    type of "new" development to choose from is of the suburban
                    subdivision/fast food strip/shopping mall variety, as the high demand
                    for traditional neighborhoods puts them out of reach of most middle
                    class incomes.

                    I'm not arguing against your freedom to drive a car or live out in
                    the suburbs. I'm arguing for an equal dispersion of tax funds to
                    provide for multiple transportation alternatives and the type of
                    sustainable growth that I and many others are fond of.

                    I'm wondering if you, as a Libertarian, object to the Federal
                    government's massive subsidy of highway funds at the expense of other
                    transportation alternatives? Since sprawl type development is largely
                    dependent on access to cheap land, its not really a truly free market
                    when taxpayers are up picking up the tab for that access is it?

                    > To play the devil's advocate again -- and that was the quest of
                    this thread
                    > if I'm not mistaken -- here is another blatently obvious wound:
                    inter-city
                    > America. Sadly, there are many neighborhoods in my city,
                    Pittsburgh, PA,
                    > USA, where things are blatently ugly. Hence, we can't overlook those
                    > conditions as well.

                    Of course its expected that an area that has been abandoned and
                    neglected for decades will be ugly. The relocation of the tax base
                    from the city to the suburbs pretty much guaranteed that would
                    happen.

                    > I too feel strongly that freedom does come before everything else
                    as well. I
                    > think you'd be better served not fighting that point on face-value.

                    Well in this case the particular "freedom" I was referring to was the
                    notion of unhindered, unlimited consumer freedom. An example of this
                    would be the "right" to own an SUV. It may personally provide the
                    occupants a small margin of improved safety, but it doesn't do much
                    for the majority who don't drive one when they get hit by three tons
                    of steel. In a multiple vehicle crash the occupants of the car are
                    four times more likely to be killed than the occupants of the SUV, in
                    a side-impact collision with an SUV, they are 27 times more likely to
                    die.

                    http://www.suv.org/safety.html

                    But this notion of unhindered consumer freedom says that is OK. The
                    fact that your vehicle choice is collectively making driving much
                    more dangerous doesn't matter since as an individual you're
                    benefiting from it.

                    > I tell a story, (ask a question). What is your #1 wish for your
                    kids',
                    > kids', kids', kids (7th generation)? My wish if for them to be
                    free. Many
                    > will agree with me.

                    Being more than a little bit idealistic here, my wish would be for
                    them to live in a free world with clean air, water, and liveable
                    cities that doesn't come at of excessive detriment to the natural
                    world. One with an efficient transportation system that doesn't
                    consume two or three hours of their waking day getting to and from
                    work. One where quality of life is a more imporatant concern than
                    quantity of life. Not one where our environment is so poisoned by
                    excessive self interest that people travel around isolated in little
                    steel boxes and live in gated communities because they are afraid of
                    the people around them.

                    > But, .... where I suggest you lead the conversation is to the realm
                    of
                    > "responsibility." Every freedom advocate understands as well that
                    > "restraint" is a measure of freedom as well. There can be no
                    freedom without
                    > an equal amount of restraint. That is where you win the day -- or
                    expose the
                    > hope of your convictions.

                    > Woops. Can't agree. The loss of freedom is the greatest threat to
                    live in
                    > this country. Perhaps urban sprawl is a by-product of huge weakness
                    in
                    > self-government, democracy, freedoms and restraints. IMHO, the city-
                    folks
                    > have gotten out flanked by a few speculators and have had the rug of
                    > responsible democratic freedoms pulled from under them by a few
                    with serious
                    > corporate interests.

                    The problem is that the particular "freedom" you're defending is
                    somewhat exclusive since it requires the ownership of an automobile
                    to partake in. Additionally in most cities there is very little
                    choice associated with that freedom i.e. I can have any method of
                    transport I want as long as it is by automobile. If I'm too young,
                    too old, too poor, or otherwise physically prohibited from driving
                    then my "freedom" in a city based around sprawl type development is
                    very limited.

                    You're right that urban sprawl is a of huge weakness in the system of
                    self-government, democracy, freedoms and restraints. However I'm a
                    little confused here, as in general Libertarians are against any such
                    restraints instead favoring the individual responsibility that your
                    advocated above. However, it is arguably that very lack
                    of "responsibility" that that drives sprawl type development in the
                    first place. The perpetrators or sprawl type planning - corporate
                    franchises, absentee landowners, and real estate speculators have
                    little or no stake in the future of a community. Their only concern
                    is to extract wealth from the natural resources and inhabitants of
                    the area. As a result such intangible concepts as quality of life
                    don't really factor into their concept of responsibilty.

                    This however leads into the much bigger issue of corporatization and
                    the subjugation of the democratic process which I won't go into
                    today. Urban sprawl, however, is in my opinion the most visible
                    expression of the corporate "Consume and you will be Free" philosophy
                    that more often than not we use to connotate freedom in this day and
                    age.

                    -Matt
                  • Mark Rauterkus
                    ... Bingo! Very good point. Case in point: In Pittsburgh, should a row house be torn down (due to total need -- say bad roof for 5 years), it can t be
                    Message 9 of 9 , Aug 7, 2001
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                      > ... Due to the postwar era of
                      > modern planning the traditional mixed use style of development is
                      > illegal in many places as it violates modern zoning laws.

                      Bingo! Very good point.

                      Case in point: In Pittsburgh, should a "row house" be torn down (due to
                      total need -- say bad roof for 5 years), it can't be "re-built." The new
                      laws say you need say 5-feet on each side of the property line (? exact) for
                      new building. Well, many of these row houses are on lots 15-foot wide.

                      So, the zoning laws (very un-Libertarian) get in the way for in-fill
                      developments in places that used to hold such buildings.

                      That is wrong. I'd be in favor of zapping most zoning laws. Too much
                      government.

                      So, in this case -- the anti-sprawl friends are the pro-society
                      Libertarians.

                      > I'm wondering if you, as a Libertarian, object to the Federal
                      > government's massive subsidy of highway funds at the expense of other
                      > transportation alternatives?

                      Mostly. But, there are some other transportation alternatives that I'm not
                      fond of as well. Maglev (magnetic levitation trains -- high speed) is
                      something that I don't think we should purchase for a number of reasons.
                      But, I'm in big favor of plain old heavy rail.

                      > Since sprawl type development is largely
                      > dependent on access to cheap land, its not really a truly free market
                      > when taxpayers are up picking up the tab for that access is it?
                      Agree. But, I might stress, sprawl development is largely dependent upon the
                      flight of urban areas too. The attraction to the new houses out there is
                      less than the avoidance to the conditions that have gone bad.

                      > Of course its expected that an area that has been abandoned and
                      > neglected for decades will be ugly. The relocation of the tax base
                      > from the city to the suburbs pretty much guaranteed that would
                      > happen.

                      I see it a bit in another way. Has the tax base of the city shrunk? If there
                      was a "land value tax" -- it is hard to shrink the tax base unless the land
                      is annexed to another municipal entity -- or the neighborhood gets flooded
                      for some high-dam project. :)

                      And, as sprawl happens, the people move in far in advance of the tax base.
                      Right. So, the shifting of the taxes (most of all in a TIF setting - tax
                      incentive finance deal) comes at a much later date than the original
                      building.

                      Q: Isn't there a cash-flow problem with sprawl too? The relocation of the
                      tax base is more of an artifact to the sprawl, less the cause of it.

                      But, the real prime mover (string pullers) is the corporate interests and
                      speculators. These folks can control politicians and set the course for
                      self-government in their favor. The speculators have out-foxed the citizens
                      in the application of the process of democracy.

                      >
                      > > I too feel strongly that freedom does come before everything else
                      > as well. I
                      >> think you'd be better served not fighting that point on face-value.
                      >
                      > Well in this case the particular "freedom" I was referring to was the
                      > notion of unhindered, unlimited consumer freedom. An example of this
                      > would be the "right" to own an SUV. It may personally provide the
                      > occupants a small margin of improved safety, but it doesn't do much
                      > for the majority who don't drive one when they get hit by three tons
                      > of steel. In a multiple vehicle crash the occupants of the car are
                      > four times more likely to be killed than the occupants of the SUV, in
                      > a side-impact collision with an SUV, they are 27 times more likely to
                      > die.
                      >
                      > http://www.suv.org/safety.html
                      >
                      > But this notion of unhindered consumer freedom says that is OK. The
                      > fact that your vehicle choice is collectively making driving much
                      > more dangerous doesn't matter since as an individual you're
                      > benefiting from it.

                      You make good points. But, I'd still stand by the original concept that
                      there are never any unhindered consumer freedoms. Stress the fact that
                      FREEDOMs always come with restraints.

                      > Being more than a little bit idealistic here, my wish would be for
                      > them to live in a free world with clean air, water, and liveable
                      > cities that doesn't come at of excessive detriment to the natural
                      > world. One with an efficient transportation system that doesn't
                      > consume two or three hours of their waking day getting to and from
                      > work. One where quality of life is a more imporatant concern than
                      > quantity of life. Not one where our environment is so poisoned by
                      > excessive self interest that people travel around isolated in little
                      > steel boxes and live in gated communities because they are afraid of
                      > the people around them.

                      You get just one wish. The genie is going back into the bottle. :)



                      >>The loss of freedom is the greatest threat to live in
                      >> this country. Perhaps urban sprawl is a by-product of huge weakness
                      > in
                      >> self-government, democracy, freedoms and restraints. IMHO, the city-
                      > folks
                      >> have gotten out flanked by a few speculators and have had the rug of
                      >> responsible democratic freedoms pulled from under them by a few
                      >> with serious corporate interests.
                      >
                      > The problem is that the particular "freedom" you're defending is
                      > somewhat exclusive since it requires the ownership of an automobile
                      > to partake in.

                      Nope. I'm talking general terms. And, I'm sure that our freedom (in the USA)
                      is a vehicle with four flat tires. It isn't healthy today. So, I agree with
                      what you say that follows. But, my freedom vision isn't exclusive nor
                      particular.

                      > Additionally in most cities there is very little
                      > choice associated with that freedom i.e. I can have any method of
                      > transport I want as long as it is by automobile. If I'm too young,
                      > too old, too poor, or otherwise physically prohibited from driving
                      > then my "freedom" in a city based around sprawl type development is
                      > very limited.


                      > You're right that urban sprawl is a of huge weakness in the system of
                      > self-government, democracy, freedoms and restraints. However I'm a
                      > little confused here, as in general Libertarians are against any such
                      > restraints instead favoring the individual responsibility that your
                      > advocated above.

                      Okay.

                      > However, it is arguably that very lack
                      > of "responsibility" that that drives sprawl type development in the
                      > first place. The perpetrators or sprawl type planning - corporate
                      > franchises, absentee landowners, and real estate speculators have
                      > little or no stake in the future of a community. Their only concern
                      > is to extract wealth from the natural resources and inhabitants of
                      > the area. As a result such intangible concepts as quality of life
                      > don't really factor into their concept of responsibilty.

                      Okay.

                      > This however leads into the much bigger issue of corporatization and
                      > the subjugation of the democratic process which I won't go into
                      > today.

                      Fine. FWIW, you've done a good job of not getting into it today anyway. :)

                      > Urban sprawl, however, is in my opinion the most visible
                      > expression of the corporate "Consume and you will be Free" philosophy
                      > that more often than not we use to connotate freedom in this day and
                      > age.

                      Nods -- so -- we have to have them flip over the coin of freedom that is in
                      their own hands/pockets. Don't shame them into it -- or don't steal it back
                      from them. Rather, smart them into it for their own good and we have a
                      win/win for society.

                      The advertised facade of freedom from corporate America is false. The
                      heartbeat of America -- whatever -- isn't about turning the ignition key and
                      driving down some winding road. We all agree. Let's not run from freedom
                      because of some false facade from Madison Avenue. Let's show the other side.
                      That is the way to stop them in their tracks once in for all. Cut them at
                      their roots.

                      Do you know what is really free? Me walking down the steps to work each
                      morning. I am free as I take care of my own children. I'm free as I don't
                      need to move my car for a week.

                      Mark Rauterkus
                      mark@...
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