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"IT will change the way our cities are built"

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  • Will Stewart
    Now that Ginger has been unveiled as the Segway HT, people are being told that this will change the way we live. Does an HT have a place in a carfree city?
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 4, 2001
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      Now that "Ginger" has been unveiled as the Segway HT, people are being told that
      this will change the way we live. Does an HT have a place in a carfree city? Does
      this allow us to alter what a carfree city is/will be? See the HT at
      http://www.segway.com.edgesuite.net/consumer/
      Some thoughts;

      1. 12 mph means that a 5 minute walk is now 1 mile, which means a generic district
      could be close to 2 miles in diameter, or almost 4000 acres. At a 30 du/acre
      density, this translates into 120,000 dwelling units, which means a city of 1
      million would only need 8 districts and would have greatly shortened time-of-access
      to any other part of the city.

      2. The HT will have accessories for transporting groceries, packages etc, which
      could require significant parking requirements (compared to the pedestrian). There
      is probably a 20/1 parking ratio for HTs to cars, so space doesn't seem to be a big
      problem until you start adding trailers, though backpacks may solve most of that.

      3. How well will pedestrians and HTs really mix? Will this discourage some
      pedestrians? Will this encourage more people to leave their cars at home? 12mph
      is the equivalent of someone running, which would not be welcomed on a crowded
      sidewalk. Similar to some of the bike discussions before, special lanes could be
      allocated on the major pedestrian streets for the 12 mph mode, while smaller
      streets would have a 5 mph limit for HTs. The biggest problem may be with
      teenagers zipping around (on Martha's Vineyard, they had a big problem with
      "dopeheads on mopeds").

      4. The HT weighs 80 pounds without accessories. A strong man can pick it up and
      carry it upstairs, or put it in a car trunk, though others could not. (I don't
      know if there is a special mode for stairs)

      5. I don't forsee HTs being allowed on Metros immediately, outside the usual
      off-hours bike arrangements. That could change, of course. Not sure how well HTs
      would take to escalators or the limited elevator space.

      6. Would these be allowed on bike paths/lanes? My initial inclination would be
      "yes". Would different lane accomodations be made? This may actually increase the
      demand for such lanes.

      7. This may bring vastly heightened interest to carfree cities. It is a new
      world...


      Will Stewart
    • J.H. Crawford
      ... Let s not lose sight of the fact that Segway is nothing more than a substitute for a bike. It is, in fact, less flexible, as it will be harder to take kids
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 4, 2001
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        Will Stewart said:

        >Now that "Ginger" has been unveiled as the Segway HT, people are being told that
        >this will change the way we live. Does an HT have a place in a carfree city? Does
        >this allow us to alter what a carfree city is/will be? See the HT at
        >http://www.segway.com.edgesuite.net/consumer/

        Let's not lose sight of the fact that Segway is nothing more than a
        substitute for a bike. It is, in fact, less flexible, as it will be
        harder to take kids along, carry large amounts of groceries, etc.
        Its much greater weight will make it very difficult to horse up
        stairs and so forth. It does have one large advantage: it takes up
        little more street space than a bike.

        >Some thoughts;
        >
        >1. 12 mph means that a 5 minute walk is now 1 mile, which means a generic district
        >could be close to 2 miles in diameter, or almost 4000 acres. At a 30 du/acre
        >density, this translates into 120,000 dwelling units, which means a city of 1
        >million would only need 8 districts and would have greatly shortened time-of-access
        >to any other part of the city.

        Actually, it's pi square miles, or about 2000 acres, so about 60,000 DU
        per district.

        >2. The HT will have accessories for transporting groceries, packages etc, which
        >could require significant parking requirements (compared to the pedestrian). There
        >is probably a 20/1 parking ratio for HTs to cars, so space doesn't seem to be a big
        >problem until you start adding trailers, though backpacks may solve most of that.

        I'll bet the ratio is better than 20 to 1. (Bikes are apparently usually
        calculated at about 7 to 1.) But if you're figuring car parking, you
        have to allow as much room for access lanes as for the parking spaces themselves.
        These things look like they have a footprint of about 2 sq.ft., or 21,000 per
        acre, compared to the usual figure of about 100 cars/acre. The actual figure
        will be no more than 10,000 due to access lane requirements, but it's still
        about 100 times better.

        >3. How well will pedestrians and HTs really mix?

        No better than bicyclists riding on the sidewalk, I'm afraid.

        >Will this discourage some
        >pedestrians?

        For sure.

        >Will this encourage more people to leave their cars at home?

        Maybe.

        >12mph
        >is the equivalent of someone running, which would not be welcomed on a crowded
        >sidewalk.

        On lightly-used sidewalks, people can run without creating problems,
        so Segway running at top speed shouldn't be that much of a problem
        (although I've also seen the top speed reported as 17 MPH).

        >Similar to some of the bike discussions before, special lanes could be
        >allocated on the major pedestrian streets for the 12 mph mode, while smaller
        >streets would have a 5 mph limit for HTs. The biggest problem may be with
        >teenagers zipping around (on Martha's Vineyard, they had a big problem with
        >"dopeheads on mopeds").

        mmmm.

        >4. The HT weighs 80 pounds without accessories. A strong man can pick it up and
        >carry it upstairs, or put it in a car trunk, though others could not. (I don't
        >know if there is a special mode for stairs)

        don't think so

        >5. I don't forsee HTs being allowed on Metros immediately, outside the usual
        >off-hours bike arrangements. That could change, of course. Not sure how well HTs
        >would take to escalators or the limited elevator space.

        They're much better than bikes in that respect. If the use stands on it
        while travelling, they take up almost no extra space.

        >6. Would these be allowed on bike paths/lanes? My initial inclination would be
        >"yes". Would different lane accomodations be made? This may actually increase the
        >demand for such lanes.

        I think they may mix fairly well with bikes (although some cyclists
        will complain that they are too slow. In fact, though, 12 MPH is not
        an unusual speed for "casual" cyclists not wearing Lycra and not
        pedalling $4000 bikes.

        >7. This may bring vastly heightened interest to carfree cities. It is a new
        >world...

        I think the most important thing here is that this opens up the discussion
        of just what kind of cities we want.

        My own view is that they must be treated as bicycles, and tolerated,
        if not allowed, on sidewalks, as long as they are ridden responsibly,
        which means slowly, and always in deference to pedestrians.




        -- ### --

        J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
        postmaster@... Carfree.com
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