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Frigid carfree districts

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  • T. J. Binkley
    ... If a district similar to the reference district were to be built in a place like this, one would clearly expect a substantial drop in foot traffic around
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 2, 2002
      >
      >In winter we:
      >- usually have a permanant snow cover
      >- occasionally have temperatures down to -40C
      >- often have windchills which will freeze skin in less then a minute
      >
      >Up here it is ok to expound carfree ideals in summer, but in winter it is a
      >pretty hard sell. Any ideas?

      If a district similar to "the reference district" were to be built in a
      place like this, one would clearly expect a substantial drop in foot
      traffic around the district in the winter. A fairly frequent, small,
      (preferably electric) jitney circulating throughout the district (which
      might be an unacceptable burden on others in summertime) could probably
      work fine for intra-district trips and ferrying people to and from the
      parking areas and transit stop in winter.

      -TJB
    • Chris Bradshaw
      Greetings from the second-coldest capital city in the world! The original question is based on a premise I don t agree with: specifically that, when one
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 4, 2002
        Greetings from the second-coldest capital city in the world!

        The original question is based on a premise I don't agree with:
        specifically that, when one travels, one needs full climate control.

        I hope those on this list know that, in winter, driving (and city
        efforts to accommodate it) is far more environmentally dangerous and
        threatening to the vulnerable roadusers, than during the rest of the
        year.

        Bosh! As was pointed out, the important factor is a) the distance one
        needs to cover (the longer the exposure, the more challenging the need
        for "protection) and b) the level of "activeness" of the traveler.

        On the whole, Canadian cities are more dense and less-car-oriented than
        American cities (see: Kenworthy & Newman, _Cities and Car-Dependence: A
        Sourcebook). This is partly _because_ of the harsh climate.

        I am bike-dependent for eight months a year, and shift completely to
        walking during the winter, always properly dressed (body, feet, and
        head/neck) and always enjoying myself. I don't get cold, unless I have
        to stand or sit, when my body doesn't have the stimulus of being on the
        go.

        Having said that, I have been a pedestrian activist for some time,
        including trying to get over the inequality of the treatment of walking
        and driving surfaces. E.g., "Streets are _cleared_, sidewalks are
        _plowed_" (yes, Ottawa city staff plow -- and grit -- all sidewalks, but
        all winter the walking surface is that of ice, after the first thaw or
        freezing rain.)

        The result is that seniors, so vulnerable to falls and so unable to heal
        quickly (or at all) when injured, are virtually under house-arrest
        during the winter, unless they have a car (which of course will be used
        when it isn't needed the rest of the year).

        Ottawa also has the "world's longest ice rink" along the Rideau Canal
        that runs from the south through the centre of town 8-9 kilometres).
        Many people commute on ice skates. The National Capital Commission
        builds ramps for its ice-clearing equipment and drills holes to allow
        for periodic flooding (using the water under the 10-plus inches of
        ice). I live two blocks away and skate to downtown for meetings about
        once a week. The Canal is the scene of Winterlude, one of the largest
        winter festivals in the world (now drawing more people than the older
        Quebec Winter Carnival).

        The snow and ice surface is a natural for blades and boards. The city
        of yore had transit that ran on runners (horse drawn), and to ensure a
        good surface, the snow was packed with rollers, rather than being plowed
        (which creates a storage problem, requiring 2/3 of the winter road
        budget to truck away and put into huge mounds that don't melt until the
        middle of summer, leaving behind a hideous mess, not mention saturating
        the soil with salt and other car-borne toxic substances.)

        And when packed snow can be assured on the sidewalks, it is the most
        glorious walking surface, slightly buoyant and having great traction. I
        use rubber overshoes, which wear out much faster on a cleared sidewalk
        surface than packed snow.

        Chris Bradshaw
        Ottawa
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