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Re: [carfree_cities] Carfree and Free Minded

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  • Vincent Hedger
    To paraphrase Pogo: We have met the asshole in the red honda, and the asshole is us. Word- vinny ...
    Message 1 of 11 , Feb 2 5:52 PM
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      To paraphrase Pogo:
      We have met the asshole in the red honda,
      and the asshole is us.
      Word-
      vinny


      >From: "demitriamondethraam" <monde@...>
      >Reply-To: carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com
      >To: carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com
      >Subject: [carfree_cities] Carfree and Free Minded
      >Date: Sat, 02 Feb 2002 18:43:06 -0000
      >
      >I'm happy to see a community devoted to carlessness. I have lived my
      >whole life in California, being born and raised in Los Angeles County
      >of all places, where cars are literally worshiped. I did not join
      >the Church of the Vehicularly Obsessed, though. The main reason for
      >my never driving or owning a car [even as a teenager!] was one I
      >don't see listed in the reasons cars stink (literally, too) on the
      >carfree-cities site. And that is a psychological thing.
      >
      >Driving, I found out after only three driver training lessons (well,
      >honestly, I'd say 2.5 driver training lessons as I called off the
      >third one before it was half over) is something my spacey, drifting,
      >artistic rightbrained mind just could not do properly. I think most
      >people who experience the things I did just ignore them, thinking to
      >themselves well I NEED to drive, I better just write off this
      >scaredycat feeling that I can't really follow what people on ALL FOUR
      >SIDES OF THE VEHICLE I AM IN are doing, and what the cars behind THEM
      >are doing, and at the SAME time be cognizent of the turn in the road
      >ahead and the fact that I must lower my speed to safely handle it,
      >plus the fact that the freeway exit I need to get off on is coming up
      >very fast to the left and to the right is the truck lane and I can't
      >see the rearview properly because some dimbulb at the last gas
      >station bent the damn thing while cleaning it and yet on top of all
      >this - go figure - MY mind is looking at the goddam clouds and
      >thinking of what shapes they're forming and fantasizing about
      >something going on in a fictional universe somewhere. Or thinking
      >about sex. I think you get the idea. God knows how many lives I
      >saved by calling the whole thing off mid-training as a 17 year old
      >and just telling my parents "I'm moving to San Francisco. There's a
      >lot of buses there."
      >
      >Cars scare the crap out of me. Here I was sitting in this huge
      >contraption that I was supposed to actually maintain control of and
      >do it in tandem with all those other drivers in their great big metal
      >contraptions. I have a hard enough time keeping up with other humans
      >outside of big contraptions that will smash you up and injure and
      >possibly kill you if they collide with one another. You know, I
      >think road rage actually stems from the driver fear no one really
      >lets themselves believe they have. Most people drive like they can
      >do it in their sleep. They're as overconfident as I am
      >underconfident. But only a few of them are good enough mental
      >multitaskers to drive without latent psychosis slowly smoldering in
      >their brains and bodies over the passing years...or so I think. I
      >might be wrong. I'm not really the sanest or most normal person.
      >
      >But I knew well enough not to drive.
      >
      >And I'm glad. When I think of all the other problems - the oil
      >running out so soon, the huge amounts of personal finances cars
      >devour, and the hideous positive-ion feeling of being in a car
      >(wonder why you get carsick sometimes in a car standing still? That's
      >why...) I can't understand why more people won't look beyond them.
      >God, the money saved alone not buying gas, mechanic services,
      >insurance, parking tickets and other car related crap is reason
      >enough for EVERYONE to go carless.
      >
      >But the best reason is not having to actually spend time in the
      >harrowing and deadly multitasking of driving!When I ride the BART
      >train or Caltrain, I can play with my laptop, listen to music, read,
      >talk or just sit there with my eyes closed dreaming and fantasizing
      >or maKing practical plans of some kind instead of worrying what the
      >asshole in front of me in the red Honda is gonna do next. :-)
      >
      >
      >To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
      >To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
      >carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
      >Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
      >
      >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      >
      >




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    • Doug Salzmann
      In a message sent Today, demitriamondethraam wrote: - Driving, I found out after only three driver training lessons (well, - honestly, I d say 2.5 driver
      Message 2 of 11 , Feb 2 6:06 PM
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        In a message sent Today, demitriamondethraam wrote:

        -> Driving, I found out after only three driver training lessons (well,
        -> honestly, I'd say 2.5 driver training lessons as I called off the
        -> third one before it was half over) is something my spacey, drifting,
        -> artistic rightbrained mind just could not do properly.

        And it's something that those of us with focused, organized left-brained
        minds don't do as well as we usually think, either. It didn't take me
        thirty-some years of driving to figure that out, but it did take me nearly
        that long to realize that I *don't* have to do it. at least not in town.

        They can't make me.

        Great introduction, demetriamondethraam. Welcome.

        -Doug
      • Simon Baddeley
        It seems to me you have learned something I only discovered late in life. Your observations make sense to me in a way they would not have a decade ago. One of
        Message 3 of 11 , Feb 2 6:30 PM
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          It seems to me you have learned something I only discovered late in life.

          Your observations make sense to me in a way they would not have a decade
          ago. One of the things I find astonishing about driving a car is that you
          have to steer it all the time and change gear and look at instruments or at
          the road ahead.

          When you are walking your hands are free, or you can even read a paper or
          book as you go along. If you did that in a car you would die or kill
          someone. I first thought this when I realised that until the arrival of
          hands-free phones every phone call wasted a hand. Even on a bicycle you can
          look around you, hear and smell things and stop almost anywhere whenever you
          feel like it. In a car you are often as unable to stop as if you were in a
          airplane. When you do stop you have to find a parking space and you usually
          have to pay for that these days. In a car you are constantly having to obey
          rules and follow directions laid out by others. It is almost as though you
          have the restrictions of a railway line without any of the freedoms you get
          as a rail passenger.

          The other thing I've noticed about cars is that driving them safely and
          responsibly is rather unexciting. To that to get any sort of travelling
          sensation you are tempted to go faster than you should and in other ways
          take risks with your own and other people's lives. Cycling on the other
          hand can be exhilarating and well within any speed limits and walking allows
          you to go places you could never get to in a car.

          The other thing I find unsatisfactory about a car is the reduced vision of
          the outside world you get from most modern cars. In old fashioned cars you
          sat up high as on a carriage and could see over hedges and walls as you can
          on a bicycle. In a car you are forced to remain seated and can't look around
          you without taking risks - unless in an open-top, but you don't see many of
          those in UK.

          The thing I really dislike about cars is how if you are on a road with a lot
          of other cars you are forced to wait in a row of other cars for several
          minutes and often a lot longer with the engine just running. Even while you
          are sitting there you have to keep your hands on the wheel and be ready to
          move again as other cars move on. On a bicycle you can both ride it and walk
          it and so do not have to be inconvenienced by street lights.

          Yesterday I was giving a running a seminar at a conference centre about 5
          miles north of Northampton (small market town in central England). I found a
          cycle route on the map and travelled from my hotel in the town after
          breakfast in about 20 minutes, charging expenses for the journey of 30p. I
          returned in the afternoon with a fellow lecturer who persuaded me to share a
          taxi with him back to the station in town. The return journey (with my
          bicycle folded in the taxi's trunk/boot) took 30 minutes and cost £11.50. It
          felt bizarre that we and 1000s of others should volunteer to waste their
          time travelling in this way, but I didn't want to be impolite.

          I find driving a car quite demeaning. If I was forced to use one more than
          absolutely necessary I would want to pay someone else to actually sit in the
          driving seat and do the routine work of steering and so on. Another thing
          I've noticed is that every time you leave a car you have to lock all the
          doors and unlock them again when you return. I now keep a car so old and
          scruffy (but roadworthy) that it's hardly worth stealing. I use it
          occasionally to take stuff to the tip and do other heavy carrying errands.
          It is also useful to have it outside the house when I'm away so that
          potential criminals assume there's someone indoors. Since I more or less
          decided driving was a chore to be avoided and reduced my average annual car
          mileage from around 20K a year to under 3K I have had more than enough money
          to buy the services of a taxi cab driver to get me to places I can't get to
          by train, bus, cycle or on foot.

          S


          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "demitriamondethraam" <monde@...>
          To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Saturday, February 02, 2002 6:43 PM
          Subject: [carfree_cities] Carfree and Free Minded


          I'm happy to see a community devoted to carlessness. I have lived my
          whole life in California, being born and raised in Los Angeles County
          of all places, where cars are literally worshiped. I did not join
          the Church of the Vehicularly Obsessed, though. The main reason for
          my never driving or owning a car [even as a teenager!] was one I
          don't see listed in the reasons cars stink (literally, too) on the
          carfree-cities site. And that is a psychological thing.
        • Louis-Luc
          ... A goal is to make any given place accessible by some other transportation mode than car. When it becomes true, then most people will find cars are
          Message 4 of 11 , Feb 2 7:34 PM
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            > I find driving a car quite demeaning. If I was forced to use one more than
            > absolutely necessary I would want to pay someone else to actually
            > sit in the
            > driving seat and do the routine work of steering and so on. Another thing
            > I've noticed is that every time you leave a car you have to lock all the
            > doors and unlock them again when you return. I now keep a car so old and
            > scruffy (but roadworthy) that it's hardly worth stealing. I use it
            > occasionally to take stuff to the tip and do other heavy carrying errands.
            > It is also useful to have it outside the house when I'm away so that
            > potential criminals assume there's someone indoors. Since I more or less
            > decided driving was a chore to be avoided and reduced my average
            > annual car
            > mileage from around 20K a year to under 3K I have had more than
            > enough money
            > to buy the services of a taxi cab driver to get me to places I
            > can't get to
            > by train, bus, cycle or on foot.
            >
            > S
            A goal is to make any given place accessible by some other transportation
            mode than car. When it becomes true, then most people will find cars are
            redundant and they can continue without them.
            You said a car in front of your house makes criminals assume someone is in.
            When the vast majority of households will be carfree, the criminals will
            find it hard to determine whether someone is at home or not, because the
            absence of a car will not necessary mean there is no-one at home. And even
            with households with one car (the family car rather than one car for each
            person), the absence of the car will simply mean someone is using it and
            other people may be at home.


            Louis-Luc
          • michelle@giansante.net
            ... Your posting is excellent! I totally agree with you! I think anybody who is true to themselves will agree with you! Thank you & welcome! Michelle *** ...
            Message 5 of 11 , Feb 4 7:14 AM
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              "demitriamondethraam" <monde@...> said:

              >Cars scare the crap out of me. Here I was sitting in this huge
              >contraption that I was supposed to actually maintain control of and
              >do it in tandem with all those other drivers in their great big metal
              >contraptions.

              >I can't understand why more people won't look beyond them.
              >God, the money saved alone not buying gas, mechanic services,
              >insurance, parking tickets and other car related crap is reason
              >enough for EVERYONE to go carless.

              Your posting is excellent! I totally agree with you! I think anybody who
              is true to themselves will agree with you! Thank you & welcome!

              Michelle
              ***

              "Louis-Luc" <exqmtl@...> said:

              >A goal is to make any given place accessible by some other transportation
              >mode than car. When it becomes true, then most people will find cars are
              >redundant and they can continue without them.

              Exactly! Let's do it! But how does one go about it? City council
              meetings? Letters to congresspeople? Let's come up with some ideas!
              Michelle
              ***

              "Louis-Luc" <exqmtl@...> also said:

              >So it means it is roughly 1 World Trade Center tragedy PER MONTH, that
              >repeats over and over and over again each month, and the governments feel
              >it's acceptable?

              That's exactly what bothers me. But not just that governments feel it's
              acceptable, but that moms and dads feel that's acceptable. Those stats
              include people's kids.
              Michelle
            • turpin
              ... I think the most important strategy is to expose and curtail the existing subsidies for sprawl. Most people do not realize the extent of these subsidies.
              Message 6 of 11 , Feb 4 9:00 AM
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                --- In carfree_cities@y..., "michelle@g..." <michelle@g...> wrote:
                > Exactly! Let's do it! But how does one go about it? City
                > council meetings? Letters to congresspeople? Let's come up
                > with some ideas!

                I think the most important strategy is to expose and curtail
                the existing subsidies for sprawl. Most people do not realize
                the extent of these subsidies. Every bedroom community places
                a large cost on the city where its residents work, directly
                for roads and utilities, and also indirectly, in the cost
                of police, courts, and medical services to clean up the
                damage of daily commuting. The taxes most states allow
                cities to collect do not correlate with these costs. Most
                cities rely on ad valorum property tax, and because suburban
                land is less valuable than land in the city, outlying
                neighborhoods pay less in tax, despite imposing greater costs
                on the city. Most cities cannot tax at all the bedroom
                communities that lie outside their corporate limits.

                As long as the 'burbs are subsidized, they will continue to
                grow. Only changes in state law can redress this
                subsidization.

                Importantly, this is an economic argument. I think the folks
                who talk about urban planning in a way that de-emphasizes
                economics are making a tremendous error. Economics is the
                most important thing we have going for us in discussing
                these issues. It is the ONLY way that our concerns are
                anything more than the special desires of a minority. When
                people say "we want to de-emphasize economics," much of
                they're audience rightly wonders: Why do they want someone
                else to pay for what they want? And there is no need for
                this. The economics of these issues are largely on our
                side. Right now, EVERYONE subsidizes sprawl. The costs,
                direct and indirect, are LARGE. What we need to do is point
                that out, and argue for an end to a form of subsidy that
                has no rhyme or reason.
              • Louis-Luc
                ... Human health and well-being has (naturally) precedence over money, wealth, efficiency, etc..., anything else. Cars show a bundle of problems, like
                Message 7 of 11 , Feb 4 5:00 PM
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                  > "Louis-Luc" <exqmtl@...> also said:
                  >
                  > >So it means it is roughly 1 World Trade Center tragedy PER MONTH, that
                  > >repeats over and over and over again each month, and the governments feel
                  > >it's acceptable?
                  >
                  > That's exactly what bothers me. But not just that governments feel it's
                  > acceptable, but that moms and dads feel that's acceptable. Those stats
                  > include people's kids.
                  > Michelle
                  >
                  Human health and well-being has (naturally) precedence over money, wealth,
                  efficiency, etc..., anything else.

                  Cars show a bundle of problems, like pollution, city land invasion,
                  dependance, lack of physical activity, etc. Pro-car people will state the
                  advantages of cars which are speed, performance, social status (according to
                  these fanatics), ability to carry loads, etc.

                  We must terminate the brainwashing task car, gas and other money-sucking
                  car-related companies (including governments) are making to all of us, poor
                  innocent people. Even pro-car people will admit cars are a PERPETUAL
                  TRAGEDY. THEY KILL, KILL, KILL and KILL each day. If one doesn't see that,
                  then that person will realize it too late when him or a family member is
                  injured or killed by a car (or truck or other gas guzzler).

                  A situation: assume the Ministry of Transports is in favor of building roads
                  and more roads to accomodate cars. Then one, two or more people in his close
                  family are suddenly killed by car accidents. Will he make is mind and become
                  pro-transit, pro-walking or cycling?

                  Today's load of Tears:
                  The life of an innocent 5-year-old young girl ended dramatically after her
                  school day when she has been hit by one of those "children carrier" minivans
                  driven by an unexperimented person, as she stepped out of her school bus.

                  Ask me tomorrow, the day after, and I'll dig one of these for you. Sometimes
                  we even have to choose between many because there are too many to relate...

                  Awful...

                  Ask the question: "Do you prefer a slow healty lifestyle or no life at all,
                  or handicapped life forever?".

                  Louis-Luc
                • Vincent Hedger
                  Jouis-Luc, Michelle, others, If you want to move beyond where we are, I urge you (at the risk of redundancy) to look at the INTRANET (Integrated International
                  Message 8 of 11 , Feb 5 5:28 AM
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                    Jouis-Luc, Michelle, others,
                    If you want to move beyond where we are, I urge you (at the risk of
                    redundancy) to look at the INTRANET (Integrated International Transport
                    Network) initiative on the home page of the Harrisonburg school's website-
                    http://www.hburgsc.org I'm quite confident that if you take the time to
                    understand the scope/sequence of this initiative, you'll appreciate that
                    this is a key element in bringing about the changes that we are clammoring
                    for.

                    In order to move beyond this obsession with cars, we need a viable option.
                    INTRANET is that viable option. what is needed to make it a reality is more
                    voices speaking out in favor of implementation. YOur voices can help with
                    this task. You can also help by telling others about this effort, and
                    enlisting their help.

                    Please look at this initiative.
                    Most sincerely,
                    Vincent Hedger


                    >From: "Louis-Luc" <exqmtl@...>
                    >Reply-To: carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com
                    >To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                    >Subject: RE: [carfree_cities] Re: Carfree and Free Minded
                    >Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2002 20:00:59 -0500
                    >
                    > > "Louis-Luc" <exqmtl@...> also said:
                    > >
                    > > >So it means it is roughly 1 World Trade Center tragedy PER MONTH, that
                    > > >repeats over and over and over again each month, and the governments
                    >feel
                    > > >it's acceptable?
                    > >
                    > > That's exactly what bothers me. But not just that governments feel it's
                    > > acceptable, but that moms and dads feel that's acceptable. Those stats
                    > > include people's kids.
                    > > Michelle
                    > >
                    >Human health and well-being has (naturally) precedence over money, wealth,
                    >efficiency, etc..., anything else.
                    >
                    >Cars show a bundle of problems, like pollution, city land invasion,
                    >dependance, lack of physical activity, etc. Pro-car people will state the
                    >advantages of cars which are speed, performance, social status (according
                    >to
                    >these fanatics), ability to carry loads, etc.
                    >
                    >We must terminate the brainwashing task car, gas and other money-sucking
                    >car-related companies (including governments) are making to all of us, poor
                    >innocent people. Even pro-car people will admit cars are a PERPETUAL
                    >TRAGEDY. THEY KILL, KILL, KILL and KILL each day. If one doesn't see that,
                    >then that person will realize it too late when him or a family member is
                    >injured or killed by a car (or truck or other gas guzzler).
                    >
                    >A situation: assume the Ministry of Transports is in favor of building
                    >roads
                    >and more roads to accomodate cars. Then one, two or more people in his
                    >close
                    >family are suddenly killed by car accidents. Will he make is mind and
                    >become
                    >pro-transit, pro-walking or cycling?
                    >
                    >Today's load of Tears:
                    >The life of an innocent 5-year-old young girl ended dramatically after her
                    >school day when she has been hit by one of those "children carrier"
                    >minivans
                    >driven by an unexperimented person, as she stepped out of her school bus.
                    >
                    >Ask me tomorrow, the day after, and I'll dig one of these for you.
                    >Sometimes
                    >we even have to choose between many because there are too many to relate...
                    >
                    >Awful...
                    >
                    >Ask the question: "Do you prefer a slow healty lifestyle or no life at all,
                    >or handicapped life forever?".
                    >
                    >Louis-Luc
                    >
                    >
                    >To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
                    >To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                    >carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
                    >Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
                    >
                    >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                    >
                    >




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                  • Robert Hines
                    I ve been thinking about property tax reform a lot and its place on dismantling the suburban establishment. There are a lot of ideas on how existing suburbs
                    Message 9 of 11 , Feb 5 6:55 AM
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                      I've been thinking about property tax reform a lot and its place on
                      dismantling the suburban establishment. There are a lot of ideas on how
                      existing suburbs could be converted but I believe property tax is the
                      first step to take.

                      Upping the taxes on gas so that it covers the negative influence on our
                      environment is a step to take eventually but then suburbanites would
                      still be living in the suburbs and municipalities will have to provide
                      more inefficient public transportation to carry them downtown and back
                      unless the taxes would be raised so high that it would force people to
                      move closer to efficient transit. Does anyone know what a litre of gas
                      would cost if the taxes reflected its negative impact?

                      Metrics would outlaw most homes in the suburbs and many in the city but
                      it could work after we harness sprawl by making people pay for the
                      benefits of open space, personal transportation, false sense of
                      security, and a lackluster social life. But it would be chaos to impose
                      this organized idea on paradigm which is the complete opposite.

                      Money definitely talks in this profit margin world, people do not and
                      will not pay for an expensive place to live and if they decide to, they
                      will pay accordingly. I wholeheartedly support property tax reform but
                      at the same time if these laws were adopted people would react in
                      protest; these reforms would effect millions of people where it hurts
                      the most, their pocketbook. They will argue that they will have to live
                      in crime filled streets in the city, that it is their right to live in
                      the suburbs, and that they will have to protect their children &
                      families. These suburbanites have massive numbers, voting power, and
                      money to spend on legal fees to protect their kingdom. How are planners
                      and advocates going to deal with this?

                      I'm all for a suburban relocation program, counselling would have to be
                      provided free of charge of course.
                    • Simon Baddeley
                      Too often even the bereaved don t blame the car. They persist in thinking of what has happened as a tragic accident . This is a piece I have just written
                      Message 10 of 11 , Feb 5 2:02 PM
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                        Too often even the bereaved don't blame the car. They persist in thinking of
                        what has happened as a tragic "accident".

                        This is a piece I have just written about our "Royal Society for the
                        Prevention of Accidents" - RoSPA - which works with the car industry and
                        perpetuates the idea of the "accident" and blames the victims of the car
                        rather than the car and its drivers.


                        RoSPA MYOPIAS
                        The word "accident" contains a presumption. Shortly after the Selby crash,
                        and
                        long before the guilty verdict on the driver who caused it, the Bishop of
                        Doncaster, said "Accidents are part of life. Tragically, accidents occur.
                        And when they do occur I think we simply all have to be here, you know,
                        pulling together and working with the people involved." He was seeking to
                        convey a spirit of conciliation amid grief, but his words didn't feel right
                        at the time and certainly not to a jury.

                        "Accident" fixes a meaning which, in the case of death on the roads, is
                        under pressure. I sat in a meeting a few weeks ago with the Attorney
                        General, Peter Goldsmith, and the Solicitor General, Harriet Harman, as a
                        two parent RoadPeace lobby asked gently but firmly why the courts are still
                        delivering penalties for speeding way below the statutory limits. You can
                        never quite gauge how seriously you are being taken at these events.
                        Conversation is circumspect. The rationale for the meeting is that it is
                        being held. What I noticed in the hour we were together was that neither
                        politician nor the civil servants once used the word "accident". The concept
                        and what it denotes are as real as ever, but in the case of deaths on the
                        roads the great and the good are becoming cautious about the word
                        "accident". Its use is becoming infrequent, and its growing conditionality
                        may create difficulties for individuals and organisations who still believe
                        they rely on an agreed and stable concept.

                        The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) - whose mission
                        and name enshrine the word "accident" - is fixed in the amber of an
                        abandoned view of causality. The growing extraction of the word "accident"
                        in discourse on road safety must be troubling to an institution with that
                        word so prominent a part of its name and mind-set.

                        RoSPA believe in accidents where more and more can see fault and
                        liability.They see solutions in technical fixes, where others note the need
                        for a change in attitudes to mobility, liability and duty to others.

                        RoSPA tends, in the case of roads, to respond to symptoms instead of
                        strategic sources of danger. Like doctors when they say "we must treat this
                        symptomatically because we are at a loss to know from what you are
                        suffering", RoSPA see as a series of separate and distinct events what
                        others with no less scientific an approach recognise as epidemic.

                        I wrote to RoSPA's patron, HM The Queen, about this, thinking, after the
                        failure of other attempts to get into any sort of dialogue with RoSPA, that
                        this would be a way to get a letter (or even a leaflet) answering my
                        reproaches about their unwillingness to acknowledge road speed as a major
                        public health problem causing widespread collateral damage across
                        populations. The Palace responded politely thanking me for my letter and
                        saying my observations and questions would be forwarded to RoSPA. RoSPA did
                        not reply.

                        Perhaps they are institutionally incapable of seeing what stares most of us
                        in the face. Go back a century or so and you can imagine the position RoSPA
                        might take in relation to waterborne disease. Faced with the statistics of
                        infant mortality amongst the populations of our cities, RoSPA would be
                        concentrating on the habits of the poor. I suspect that they would have been
                        unable to get excited about the "excessive vision" of damming lakes in Wales
                        and piping clean water over a 100 miles via a massive sanitation
                        infrastructure that would pipe away foul water to unprecedently large sewage
                        works. Their reflexive institutional focus is on the behaviour of victims
                        and their personal hygiene.

                        Such myopia had it been applied to waterborne disease would have made RoSPA
                        a natural ally of those opposing so massive a public works programme as
                        would be required to bring clean water to Birmingham (or less toxic forms of
                        mobility to the whole UK).There were after all public voices claiming 19th
                        century child mortality could be put down to the fecklessness of the poor.
                        (see Asa Briggs' account in his histories of Birmingham for examples of
                        fervent opposition mounted against plans to bring clean water to Birmingham
                        and other industrial cities).

                        If you looked at the sudden downward slopes in the child mortality rate
                        graphs after the sewers and supply systems were completed you see that, by
                        their attitude, people who took such "victim-blaming" stances were failing
                        to ally themselves with - even directly opposing - one of the most dramatic
                        improvements in quality of life of any public works programme in the last
                        150 years.

                        The Road Danger Reduction Forum, which split from those allied to RoSPA on
                        these grounds, includes - formally and informally - all those
                        individuals and groups committed to promoting a new agenda for road safety.
                        It aims to reduce road danger at source, promoting equity and accessibility
                        for non-motorised road users. Taming motorised traffic is not on RoSPA's
                        agenda.

                        It will claim deep concern about lives lost or damaged on the roads, but it
                        does not - as an institution - recognise the notion of road danger as a
                        public health problem causing blight and tragedy in the same way as did
                        waterborne disease over a century ago. It does not recognise the
                        impact of auto-dependency on air quality, noise pollution, community
                        severance, urban sprawl, the distance between producers and consumers,
                        energy waste and personal health, especially children's.

                        This inability to respond to the pathological impact of our travel habits
                        will be noted by historians of our times, but it would be so exciting
                        if they could add a final paragraph attesting to the courage of people
                        within RoSPA who caused it to make a major shift in strategy at the start of
                        a new century.

                        Simon Baddeley
                        34 Beaudesert Road
                        Handsworth
                        Birmingham B20 3TG
                        0121 554 9794
                        07775 655842




                        ----- Original Message -----
                        From: "Louis-Luc" <exqmtl@...>
                        To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                        Sent: Tuesday, February 05, 2002 1:00 AM
                        Subject: RE: [carfree_cities] Re: Carfree and Free Minded
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