Re: Carfree and Free Minded
- "demitriamondethraam" <monde@...> said:
>Cars scare the crap out of me. Here I was sitting in this hugeYour posting is excellent! I totally agree with you! I think anybody who
>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
>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.
is true to themselves will agree with you! Thank you & welcome!
"Louis-Luc" <exqmtl@...> said:
>A goal is to make any given place accessible by some other transportationExactly! Let's do it! But how does one go about it? City council
>mode than car. When it becomes true, then most people will find cars are
>redundant and they can continue without them.
meetings? Letters to congresspeople? Let's come up with some ideas!
"Louis-Luc" <exqmtl@...> also said:
>So it means it is roughly 1 World Trade Center tragedy PER MONTH, thatThat's exactly what bothers me. But not just that governments feel it's
>repeats over and over and over again each month, and the governments feel
acceptable, but that moms and dads feel that's acceptable. Those stats
include people's kids.
- --- In carfree_cities@y..., "michelle@g..." <michelle@g...> wrote:
> Exactly! Let's do it! But how does one go about it? CityI think the most important strategy is to expose and curtail
> council meetings? Letters to congresspeople? Let's come up
> with some ideas!
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
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" <exqmtl@...> also said:Human health and well-being has (naturally) precedence over money, wealth,
> >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.
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...
Ask the question: "Do you prefer a slow healty lifestyle or no life at all,
or handicapped life forever?".
- 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
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.
>From: "Louis-Luc" <exqmtl@...>_________________________________________________________________
>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
> > >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
>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
>and more roads to accomodate cars. Then one, two or more people in his
>family are suddenly killed by car accidents. Will he make is mind and
>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"
>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.
>we even have to choose between many because there are too many to relate...
>Ask the question: "Do you prefer a slow healty lifestyle or no life at all,
>or handicapped life forever?".
>To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
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>Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
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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.
- 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.
The word "accident" contains a presumption. Shortly after the Selby crash,
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
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
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
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.
34 Beaudesert Road
Birmingham B20 3TG
0121 554 9794
----- Original Message -----
From: "Louis-Luc" <exqmtl@...>
Sent: Tuesday, February 05, 2002 1:00 AM
Subject: RE: [carfree_cities] Re: Carfree and Free Minded