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

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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 1 of 8 , Oct 29, 2001
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      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 2 of 8 , Oct 29, 2001
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        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 3 of 8 , Oct 29, 2001
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          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 4 of 8 , Oct 29, 2001
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            >> 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 5 of 8 , Oct 29, 2001
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              >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 6 of 8 , Oct 29, 2001
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                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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