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Re: [carfree_cities] Car free, or pedestrian and bicycle friendly ?

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  • John O. Andersen
    I think your approach is reasonable, and in many North American cities, achievable. In my opinion, NYC, Boston, Toronto, Washington DC, SF, Portland,
    Message 1 of 8 , Oct 28, 2001
      I think your approach is reasonable, and in many North American cities,
      achievable.

      In my opinion, NYC, Boston, Toronto, Washington DC, SF, Portland, Vancouver
      BC, and Seattle are pretty much like that already. Perhaps I left a few
      out?

      John Andersen
      Unconventional Ideas at http://www.unconventionalideas.com


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: <turpin@...>
      To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Sunday, October 28, 2001 8:30 AM
      Subject: [carfree_cities] Car free, or pedestrian and bicycle friendly ?


      > I'm curious how people here see their goal. When I think of how I
      > like to live, the important thing is not that there are no cars, but
      > that the city is compact and that the residents can get to where they
      > want on foot or bike, comfortably and safely. Imagining an Ideal
      > City, I don't think of it as one where there are no cars, but one
      > where cars are fewer and the roads that support them constrained to
      > more specialized purpose. Trucks still make deliveries and carry
      > heavy equipment. (Otherwise, you can't economically build and
      > maintain infrastructure.) Emergency vehicles still carry the stricken
      > to emergency rooms, and firemen and police to accidents. Taxis and
      > buses are still available to people who have difficulty getting
      > around on their own, or for travel in inclement weather.
      >
      > Ideal City is compact, no more than four or five miles across. Most
      > of its roads are designed solely for pedestrian or pedaled use,
      > though perhaps admitting a permitted vehicle in special circumstance,
      > for example, to bring in the paving stones or to deliver a grand
      > piano. But I also imagine that there are *some* roads designed for
      > vehicular traffic. Not to the extent that we commonly see today. Not
      > necessarily to every block in the city. These vehicular roads would
      > be designed not to break non-vehicular traffic about the city. But
      > there would still be enough to support the kinds of use described
      > above, and they would meet with highways to other cities.
      >
      > Indeed, when I imagine my own ideal living arrangement, I still own a
      > car, or periodically rent a car, for road trips. No, no, don't
      > misunderstand. I prefer to walk to work. And to the grocery store.
      > And for all of daily life. But I also like to travel abroad. Highway
      > use of a car is very different from city use. I see no contradiction
      > in saying I don't like city commuting in a car, but I do like the
      > ability to drive to various places on vacation. And if my destination
      > city requires walking once there, all the better.
      >
      > The bottom line is that I'm not interested in ridding the world of
      > cars, but I'm attracted to cities that are pedestrian friendly, and
      > where cars are not required for daily life. I also think this is a
      > more realistic and positive goal. Does my saying this offend the
      > group? Am I in the wrong place? (If I am, I'll mosy along, and
      > apologize for interrupting things.)
      >
      >
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      >
    • J.H. Crawford
      ... To me, this is better than what we have in most Western cities, but it is not enough. I live in Amsterdam, a compact city, and do not own or miss having a
      Message 2 of 8 , Oct 29, 2001
        turpin@... said:

        >I'm curious how people here see their goal. When I think of how I
        >like to live, the important thing is not that there are no cars, but
        >that the city is compact and that the residents can get to where they
        >want on foot or bike, comfortably and safely.

        To me, this is better than what we have in most Western cities, but
        it is not enough. I live in Amsterdam, a compact city, and do not
        own or miss having a car. However, I feel the effects of other
        people's car use whenever I am on the street and often when I'm
        at home as well. The streets are far less pleasant (and safe)
        places to be as a consequence of car use, and I don't fee that
        I can bike safely (at least not in the central city).

        >Imagining an Ideal
        >City, I don't think of it as one where there are no cars, but one
        >where cars are fewer and the roads that support them constrained to
        >more specialized purpose. Trucks still make deliveries and carry
        >heavy equipment. (Otherwise, you can't economically build and
        >maintain infrastructure.)

        The proposal for metro-freight was intended to remove this objection
        to completely car- and truck-free cities.

        >Emergency vehicles still carry the stricken
        >to emergency rooms, and firemen and police to accidents.

        I have never seen a serious alternative to this; I have always
        seen the need for conventional emergency vehicles to use the
        streets, although most policing could be done on bicycles, as
        is already often the case here in Amsterdam. Of course, there
        wouldn't be very many accidents in a carfree city.

        >Taxis and
        >buses are still available to people who have difficulty getting
        >around on their own, or for travel in inclement weather.

        I've also proposed to make a small fleet of very slow taxis
        available for those uses that really do seem to require them.
        They would be battery or human powered and deliberately quite
        expensive, to discourage their use. In places where inclement
        weather is a serious consideration, I would propose the construction
        of sheltering arcades, as was done in Bologne.

        >Ideal City is compact, no more than four or five miles across. Most
        >of its roads are designed solely for pedestrian or pedaled use,
        >though perhaps admitting a permitted vehicle in special circumstance,
        >for example, to bring in the paving stones or to deliver a grand
        >piano.

        The metro-freight system would permit this.

        >But I also imagine that there are *some* roads designed for
        >vehicular traffic.

        The reference design for carfree cities provides for extensive
        vehicle parking in the utility areas loacated at the periphery
        of the city and connected to it by the metro system. Residents
        would be permitted to own cars for travel outside the city.

        >Not to the extent that we commonly see today. Not
        >necessarily to every block in the city. These vehicular roads would
        >be designed not to break non-vehicular traffic about the city.

        This is nearly impossible, unless we go to the expense of putting
        them underground. (I assume that putting them in the air would not
        receive serious consideration.)

        >The bottom line is that I'm not interested in ridding the world of
        >cars, but I'm attracted to cities that are pedestrian friendly, and
        >where cars are not required for daily life.

        Venice is the most pedestrian-friendly city in the world (at least
        in my own experience) and it has no vehicles on the streets. People
        don't have to look over their shoulder to watch out for whatever
        might be bearing down on them.

        >I also think this is a
        >more realistic and positive goal.

        Almost anything that helps to reduce traffic is a positive goal,
        but the carfree city is an entirely realistic goal. As a compromise,
        we could imagine cities with completely pedestrian cores, bicycles
        be admitted to all areas except the very center. Restricted car
        use might be allowed in areas farther from the center. We don't
        have to be absolutist about this, but it seems to me that car
        use is antithetical to livable cities, and that the farther we
        go in the direction of carfree cities, the better (and more sustainable)
        life in cities becomes.

        >Does my saying this offend the
        >group?

        Sure hope not.

        >Am I in the wrong place? (If I am, I'll mosy along, and
        >apologize for interrupting things.)

        Naw, hang around.

        John Andersen commented:

        >I think your approach is reasonable, and in many North American cities,
        >achievable.

        It's a much easier first step than completely carfree areas, to
        be sure.

        >In my opinion, NYC, Boston, Toronto, Washington DC, SF, Portland, Vancouver
        >BC, and Seattle are pretty much like that already. Perhaps I left a few
        >out?

        Boy, that's not my feeling at all. True, it's possible (although
        not always easy) to live carfree in these cities, but IMHO the burden
        of traffic on quality of life is large in every North American city.

        Regards,



        -- ### --

        J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
        postmaster@... Carfree.com
      • turpin@yahoo.com
        ... I agree. The cities John lists are nice cities, and friendlier to pedestrian traffic than most. But I think they re a long ways from what people are
        Message 3 of 8 , Oct 29, 2001
          John Andersen commented:
          >> In my opinion, NYC, Boston, Toronto, Washington DC, SF,
          >> Portland, Vancouver BC, and Seattle are pretty much like
          >> that already. Perhaps I left a few out?

          --- In carfree_cities@y..., "J.H. Crawford" <postmaster@c...> wrote:
          > Boy, that's not my feeling at all. True, it's possible
          > (although not always easy) to live carfree in these cities,
          > but IMHO the burden of traffic on quality of life is large
          > in every North American city.

          I agree. The cities John lists are nice cities, and
          friendlier to pedestrian traffic than most. But I think
          they're a long ways from what people are talking about
          here.

          Turpin wrote:
          >> Trucks still make deliveries and carry heavy equipment.
          >> (Otherwise, you can't economically build and maintain
          >> infrastructure.)

          > The proposal for metro-freight was intended to remove
          > this objection to completely car- and truck-free cities.

          I've read only what is on your website, and it remains far
          from clear to me how you get a backhoe or crane or drill
          to a site, without trucking it to the site. Another issue
          is getting garbage out. Once a week, a garbage truck and a
          recycling truck drive down the alley behind my house. I
          would hate to see these services become significantly more
          expensive or less convenient. (How is it done in Venice?)

          Part of the difference here may be a real difference in
          desire. This kind of slow and infrequent traffic doesn't
          seem problematic to me, when I'm walking or peddling.

          >> Not to the extent that we commonly see today. Not
          >> necessarily to every block in the city. These vehicular
          >> roads would be designed not to break non-vehicular
          >> traffic about the city.

          > This is nearly impossible, unless we go to the expense
          > of putting them underground. (I assume that putting them
          > in the air would not receive serious consideration.)

          In a modest sized city with a four mile diameter, fifteen
          miles of vehicle thoroughfare would get to within about
          half-a-mile of every point in the city. Put physical
          barriers between it and the main (non-vehicular) roads
          that run parallel, and cross it every two hundred yards
          by a bridge that carries main traffic. That's 132 bridges.
          Yep, this would be an expensive thoroughfare. That's
          alright. The tolls and permits for traveling on it will
          pay its cost. It will still be very useful and economical.
          Motorized vehicles impose large externalities that we
          should incorporate into their cost structure. At the same
          time, I think we should recognize the areas where they are
          truly useful and economical.

          A side note: The route I used to walk to work included a
          bridge that crossed an eight lane highway and a railroad
          track. I always found it pleasant walking across that
          bridge, watching a train cross under.

          >> Taxis and buses are still available to people who
          >> have difficulty getting around on their own ..

          > I've also proposed to make a small fleet of very slow
          > taxis available for those uses that really do seem to
          > require them. They would be battery or human powered
          > and deliberately quite expensive, to discourage their
          > use. ..

          Deliberately making them expensive will put quite a
          burden on the infirm, who will need them the most. Given
          a choice between walking a couple of miles or taking a
          bus or taxi, I will walk. But not everyone can. A compact
          city of the future should be more convenient -- or at
          least no less convenient than current cities -- to people
          who cannot get around on foot or bike. (In general, I
          don't think anything should be made "deliberately
          expensive." I think it is reasonable to make businesses
          fully pay their way, including incorporation of costs
          that are currently externalized.)

          That said, human-powered taxis are LESS costly than
          motorized ones, per unit time. Of course, they aren't
          as fast, and can't travel as far in the same unit of time
          as a car. But in a compact city, they would prove just as
          useful as a car in a sprawled city. (Trips would take the
          same time, because they would be shorter.)

          > Naw, hang around.

          Thank you. I will.
        • Richard Risemberg
          ... Well, it seems a lot easier to my eye for someone on crutches or in a wheelchair to take the elevator down to a subway platform and roll directly onto a
          Message 4 of 8 , Oct 29, 2001
            turpin@... wrote:

            > Deliberately making them expensive will put quite a
            > burden on the infirm, who will need them the most. Given
            > a choice between walking a couple of miles or taking a
            > bus or taxi, I will walk. But not everyone can.

            Well, it' seems a lot easier to my eye for someone on crutches or in a
            wheelchair to take the elevator down to a subway platform and roll
            directly onto a smooth-running train car than it is for them to maneuver
            into a standard car or taxi, or even a van (or bus) with a lift.
            Cheaper, too, and if there's sufficient service they won't have far to
            roll from station to destination.

            Richard
            --
            Richard Risemberg
            http://www.living-room.org
            http://www.newcolonist.com

            "An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind."
            M. K. Gandhi

            "They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety
            deserve neither liberty nor safety."
            Benjamin Franklin
          • J.H. Crawford
            ... The carfree city, if properly implemented, would be the most accessible urban form ever implemented. Curbs can be completely eliminated (although there may
            Message 5 of 8 , Oct 29, 2001
              >> Deliberately making them expensive will put quite a
              >> burden on the infirm, who will need them the most. Given
              >> a choice between walking a couple of miles or taking a
              >> bus or taxi, I will walk. But not everyone can.

              Richard commented:

              >Well, it' seems a lot easier to my eye for someone on crutches or in a
              >wheelchair to take the elevator down to a subway platform and roll
              >directly onto a smooth-running train car than it is for them to maneuver
              >into a standard car or taxi, or even a van (or bus) with a lift.
              >Cheaper, too, and if there's sufficient service they won't have far to
              >roll from station to destination.

              The carfree city, if properly implemented, would be the most
              accessible urban form ever implemented. Curbs can be completely
              eliminated (although there may be some on the busiest streets).
              Transport HAS to be accessible, as everybody is going to have
              to rely on being able to wheel carts on board for moving small
              amounts of personal freight. This means level loading and access
              ramps to the platforms (which ideally should be as little as
              10 feet below street level).

              Disincentives to private transport are intended to hold its
              use to an absolute minimum. This is because of the external
              costs any form of private transport imposes on the larger
              society. (Public transport has its own externalities, but
              these can be kept small in both absolute terms and on a
              per-passenger basis.)

              Regards,

              -- ### --

              J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
              postmaster@... Carfree.com
            • J.H. Crawford
              ... Some construction equipment can be loaded aboard a metro- freighter and delivered to the district in question. From the point of unloading, it will have to
              Message 6 of 8 , Oct 29, 2001
                >I've read only what is on your website, and it remains far
                >from clear to me how you get a backhoe or crane or drill
                >to a site, without trucking it to the site. Another issue
                >is getting garbage out. Once a week, a garbage truck and a
                >recycling truck drive down the alley behind my house. I
                >would hate to see these services become significantly more
                >expensive or less convenient. (How is it done in Venice?)

                Some construction equipment can be loaded aboard a metro-
                freighter and delivered to the district in question.
                From the point of unloading, it will have to use the
                streets to reach its final destination, but this distance
                is less than 400 meters. Also, during initial construction,
                unlimited truck access would probably be reasonable and
                maybe necessary.

                Garbage is collected by scow in Venice. There's a photo
                in the Venice part of the site. In the carfree city,
                metro-freight can be used to haul waste to the utility
                areas for further processing. (Waste streams should be
                kept separated as much as possible, as this minimizes
                the costs of recylcing.) Collection would be by battery-
                powered carts that would deliver to waste processing
                depots located in each district and directly served
                by metro-freight.

                >Part of the difference here may be a real difference in
                >desire. This kind of slow and infrequent traffic doesn't
                >seem problematic to me, when I'm walking or peddling.

                See what it's like when there's nothing on the street
                that poses a threat. When the kids can play in the
                middle of the street and parents don't have to worry,
                you've gotten it right.

                >> This is nearly impossible, unless we go to the expense
                >> of putting them underground. (I assume that putting them
                >> in the air would not receive serious consideration.)
                >
                >In a modest sized city with a four mile diameter, fifteen
                >miles of vehicle thoroughfare would get to within about
                >half-a-mile of every point in the city. Put physical
                >barriers between it and the main (non-vehicular) roads
                >that run parallel, and cross it every two hundred yards
                >by a bridge that carries main traffic. That's 132 bridges.
                >Yep, this would be an expensive thoroughfare.

                But at what level do the roads run? Are the below-grade?
                This becomes a considerable expense, especially if any
                significant amount of capacity is required.

                >That's
                >alright. The tolls and permits for traveling on it will
                >pay its cost. It will still be very useful and economical.

                The rail rights-of-way are much smaller but have considerably
                higher capacity. More bang for the buck.

                >Motorized vehicles impose large externalities that we
                >should incorporate into their cost structure. At the same
                >time, I think we should recognize the areas where they are
                >truly useful and economical.

                They aren't economical anywhere, but they are necessary
                (and, IMHO, irreplaceble) in rural areas. The 'burbs
                are where the problems are going to arise.

                >A side note: The route I used to walk to work included a
                >bridge that crossed an eight lane highway and a railroad
                >track. I always found it pleasant walking across that
                >bridge, watching a train cross under.

                You don't mind the roar of 8 lanes of heavy traffic,
                or mind breathing the poisonous cocktail the emit?

                >That said, human-powered taxis are LESS costly than
                >motorized ones, per unit time. Of course, they aren't
                >as fast, and can't travel as far in the same unit of time
                >as a car. But in a compact city, they would prove just as
                >useful as a car in a sprawled city. (Trips would take the
                >same time, because they would be shorter.)

                This is how it was always done in the third world--the
                rickshaw, first hand-drawn, later pedal-powered, was
                the mainstay of both passenger and freight delivery.
                It still is in some areas. I don't see all that much of
                it, as the heavy rail systems will bear the brunt of
                the work, but HPV service will be important for local
                delivery and for those who want/need taxi service.

                Regards,


                -- ### --

                J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                postmaster@... Carfree.com
              • Louis-Luc
                My opinion on that is that true carfree cities or places are way ahead cities with cars, even if you can live carfree in the latter, because the main thing is
                Message 7 of 8 , Oct 29, 2001
                  My opinion on that is that true carfree cities or
                  places are way ahead cities with cars, even if you
                  can live carfree in the latter, because the main thing
                  is to get rid of the stress, danger and pollution caused by the car use.
                  Life quality is seriously compromised
                  where there are too many cars, and where they are not
                  driven properly even if they are fewer in number.

                  The society has got to understand that it's not only
                  destroying the planet with their cars, but their life
                  quality and themselves as well.

                  > -----Original Message-----
                  > From: Richard Risemberg [mailto:rickrise@...]
                  > Sent: 29 octobre, 2001 10:05
                  > To: carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com
                  > Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Car free, or pedestrian and bicycle
                  > friendly ?
                  >
                  >
                  > turpin@... wrote:
                  >
                  > > Deliberately making them expensive will put quite a
                  > > burden on the infirm, who will need them the most. Given
                  > > a choice between walking a couple of miles or taking a
                  > > bus or taxi, I will walk. But not everyone can.
                  >
                  > Well, it' seems a lot easier to my eye for someone on crutches or in a
                  > wheelchair to take the elevator down to a subway platform and roll
                  > directly onto a smooth-running train car than it is for them to maneuver
                  > into a standard car or taxi, or even a van (or bus) with a lift.
                  > Cheaper, too, and if there's sufficient service they won't have far to
                  > roll from station to destination.
                  >
                  Not only wheelchairs users benefit more of elevators
                  and slopes, than expensive lift to gas cars or car trailers.

                  Just think about maintenance devices such as
                  wheelbarrows, lawn mowers and snow blowers (I know they should be more
                  electric or human powered than gas powered in our carfree city), and the
                  variety of small to large carts or trailers used to pull or push loads.

                  There's going to be a wide range of two, three or four-
                  wheeled devices circulating around when cars will be dead. It's like
                  reinventing the wheel, but the wheel is going to be powered by humans, at
                  the speed of humans.

                  So yes, access ramps and elevators leading to trains,
                  metros, or other services, are way ahead devices to
                  haul a wheeled device onto a gas vehicle.

                  Hey, I convinced my father to push the lawnmower by hand on foot, directly
                  to the lot of his second property, instead of putting it in the car to go
                  there by car (what he used to do).

                  Louis-Luc
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