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Re: [carfree_cities] Any existing car free cities in US?

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  • eyrehead@ameritech.net
    ... are ... There are cities that have pedestrian areas, sort of like outdoor malls. It isn t much but it is a start. ... live ... US, ... carsrcoffins.com,
    Message 1 of 17 , Apr 9, 2000
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      --- In carfree_cities@egroups.com, "frank zappa" <jbemel@u...> wrote:
      > Hi,
      > I was wondering if there are any cities in the United States that
      are
      > at least car limited.

      There are cities that have pedestrian areas, sort of like outdoor
      malls. It isn't much but it is a start.

      > So anyway, I want to make this happen, or be part of it. I want to
      live
      > in a city where cars are almost non existant. If none exist in the
      US,
      > Lets start one damnit! I'd move anywhere in the US to live in a car
      > free city, so how bout it? BTW I found this off of
      carsrcoffins.com,
      if
      > you like bikes, check it out.

      I think you are on the right track in two ways -- you are a biker,
      and
      you are thinking about how to turn back the blight.

      In the US, with its growing population of elderly (read that as less
      and less capable drivers) there will be a market for housing in areas
      that have most of the amenities within walking distance. Many of
      these people will be on rather fixed incomes so that being able to
      give up a car would be a relief. If a PLEASANT auto free life could
      be developed for them, other people would follow.

      I would like to see a complete redesign of sidewalks, a pedestrian
      strip closest to the buildings, a bikers'/bladers' lane beside that,
      then some close in handicapped parking interspersed with well planted
      doggie toilet areas next to the the bikers' strip, and then finally
      the auto area. Such sidewalks should be very spacious, lots of
      planters with trees, lots of room for cafes to spill out onto the
      sidewalk, bike parking stanchions.

      Urban life needs people on the streets, with their children and their
      pets, so that they are actually spending part of their lives there
      rather than just hurrying from place to place and hoping they are not
      mugged in the process.

      A biker/ blading lane is essential -- there are a lot of closet
      bikers
      out there who refrain for the danger of sharing a lane with cars. I
      hope you are careful as you bike -- I used to work in a large urban
      hospital and I saw a lot the results of a lot of bike/auto collisions
      and it wasn't pretty.

      Martha
    • eyrehead@ameritech.net
      I really wanted to get some kind of constructive ... Okay, this would be for the US. There are co-operatives; in many cities they are old buildings which are
      Message 2 of 17 , Apr 9, 2000
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        I really wanted to get some kind of
        constructive
        > conversation going on how this could be done. I don't have all the
        > answers, in fact, I don't have ANY answers. So? Got any ideas?

        Okay, this would be for the US.

        There are co-operatives; in many cities they are old buildings which
        are owned by many people each of whom has a proprietary lease.
        Before someone can buy into one he is vetted for financial capability
        of holding up his share, since everyone is responsible for paying for
        the building and if one person welshes that requires everyone else to
        pay more.

        There is a tax break as there is on mortgage interest, though it is
        called something else. I will see if I can find the term and get
        back with you.

        Okay, now here's how it pertains to making autofree oases. When you
        buy into such a place, the contract can read a little like a
        neighborhood association, whether you will have planters on your
        sill, even the colors of curtains, some limits on remodelling like
        not
        taking out structural supports -- you get the idea. Well, not all
        cooperatives are single buildings. Near Birmingham, Michigan there
        is one that looks like any group of two story apartment buildings.
        But the point is, they can write the contract anyway they want for
        the area that is cooperatively owned. The contract COULD require that
        all cars be parked in one area, never driven in the rest of the
        cooperative.

        Barriers could enforce that, and signs explain it to the uninitiated.

        I know it sounds penny ante, but if that co-operative had that in
        their contract, if they isolated cars to one small part of the
        grounds, there would be several car free acres - something parents
        would be glad to have. It would also be quiet.

        Another approach...

        It may be hard to do in suburbia with each house with an attached
        garage, a lot of people simply would not agree to making a car free
        street, though, who knows, if one lot on the street was built with an
        underground garage to which only the people on the street had access,
        maybe you could get people to refrain from driving on the street.
        That is a stretch though, there would be a lot of grousing about
        weather and security.

        Both of these approaches start small and as in any worthwhile
        endeavor it takes some searching and scratching to find a way that
        works. But once it is found, it will take fire.



        Martha
      • eyrehead@ameritech.net
        ... I don t think you could take over a town and turn it into Mackinac, but you may be able to get cooperation from neighbors and close off a street. This is
        Message 3 of 17 , Apr 9, 2000
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          --- In carfree_cities@egroups.com, "frank zappa" <jbemel@u...> wrote:
          > >Fine with me. Where and when?
          >
          > I don't know. How could it be done? Could a bunch of like minded car
          > haters just converged on a small town and sort of take it over? Tell
          > enough people in the right groups and the place would get the
          > reputation as a car free town.

          I don't think you could take over a town and turn it into Mackinac,
          but you may be able to get cooperation from neighbors and close off a
          street.

          This is an awful thing to say, but if a child in your neighborhood is
          hit by a car, that would be the time to push the idea.

          By the way, even though Mackinac Island is getting commercialized, it
          is still lovely. For some reason the insect life up there is more
          abundant than it is downstate. My husband and I go up there every
          summer and that is the only place we see a lot of honey bees. I
          don't
          think this is because there is a ban on pesticides.


          Martha
        • Sam K
          What about a carefree block? Wouldn t it be wonderful if everyone on a single block agreed to remove the street and their driveways. In their place they
          Message 4 of 17 , Sep 30, 2000
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            What about a carefree block? Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone on
            a single block agreed to remove the street and their driveways. In
            their place they could plant flowers, vegetables and grass. Isn't it
            amazing the idea of simply removing a single block is so outrageous?
            I live in Cambridge MA (where unfortunately houses cost a small
            fortune) but I would be more than happy to talk with anyone
            interested
            in this idea.
          • sarati@email.com
            ... on ... it ... outrageous? ... In the last year or so, I too have dreamed about creating a car-free community somewhere, or redesigning an existing town or
            Message 5 of 17 , Sep 30, 2000
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              > What about a carefree block? Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone
              on
              > a single block agreed to remove the street and their driveways. In
              > their place they could plant flowers, vegetables and grass. Isn't
              it
              > amazing the idea of simply removing a single block is so
              outrageous?
              > I live in Cambridge MA (where unfortunately houses cost a small
              > fortune) but I would be more than happy to talk with anyone
              > interested
              > in this idea.

              In the last year or so, I too have dreamed about creating a car-free
              community somewhere, or redesigning an existing town or urban center
              to operate without that iron shield we've wedged between ourselves
              and our neighbors. There has to be enough of us, like-minded folk to
              make this possible.

              I live in Marin county, just north of San Francisco, the so-called
              birthplace of mountain biking. You'd be quite shocked to see the
              amount of car (and SUV !?!) traffic clogging the streets of our
              towns, and an abysmal rate of carpooling I might add. I stand guilty
              myself, as there is no plausible way to get my children to school
              that doesn't require an automobile. And, we've NO schoolbus in the
              district either. 4.6 miles, 1 mountain, and a crowded freeway stand
              between home and school. Although a relocation is planned, I've not
              yet found a workable option.

              As for ideas on converting blocks or districts, I'm looking at
              Alameda - for those of you familiar with the bay area. It is
              virtually an island, with ferry service to San Francisco, near an
              International Airport (Oakland) and even close to a BART line. I'm
              not sure what is happening to the old military base, but if
              available, it could be completely redesigned. I think Alameda is a
              perfect size - large enough to support a thriving car-free community
              with shops, neighborhoods, schools, business and offices, the
              question is how do you convice the homeowners and business owners?

              Oh, I'm very pleased to have found this forum, I've been reading
              through some of the archived discussions and hope to get to know you
              all better in the time to come. I'm also very much looking forward to
              reading Carfree Cities, the website is amazing.

              Susan Arati
              sarati@...
            • Ronald Dawson
              ... I have a video clip of a fictional carfree place that you might want to watch? http://www.startrek.com/library/media_voy.asp?id=19242 Dawson
              Message 6 of 17 , Oct 1, 2000
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                Sam K wrote:
                >What about a carefree block? Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone on
                >a single block agreed to remove the street and their driveways. In
                >their place they could plant flowers, vegetables and grass. Isn't it
                >amazing the idea of simply removing a single block is so outrageous?
                >I live in Cambridge MA (where unfortunately houses cost a small
                >fortune) but I would be more than happy to talk with anyone
                >interested in this idea.

                I have a video clip of a fictional carfree place that you might want to
                watch?
                http://www.startrek.com/library/media_voy.asp?id=19242 Dawson
              • Louis-Luc Le Guerrier
                ... Excellent idea! In the house I currently live in, there is driveway for 6 cars. In winter it takes an hour with a snow blower to remove snow, and in the
                Message 7 of 17 , Oct 1, 2000
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                  > -----Original Message-----
                  > From: sarati@... [mailto:sarati@...]
                  > Sent: 1 octobre, 2000 02:54
                  > To: carfree_cities@egroups.com
                  > Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: Any existing car free cities in US?
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > > What about a carefree block? Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone
                  > on
                  > > a single block agreed to remove the street and their driveways. In
                  > > their place they could plant flowers, vegetables and grass. Isn't
                  > it
                  > > amazing the idea of simply removing a single block is so
                  > outrageous?
                  > > I live in Cambridge MA (where unfortunately houses cost a small
                  > > fortune) but I would be more than happy to talk with anyone
                  > > interested
                  > > in this idea.
                  >
                  Excellent idea! In the house I currently live in, there is driveway for
                  6 cars. In winter it takes an hour with a snow blower to remove snow, and
                  in the summer, all pines, small fruit, and leaves fall from trees, and they
                  use a gas sweeper to blow this away. Nearly half of the lot is dedicated
                  to cars. If I have a chance to buy a house that has a driveway, I'll first
                  modify the lot. I'll put a nice plant jar, or another ornament in the middle
                  of the driveway right next to the public sidewalk. Later I'll make a patio
                  and picnic table on the asphalt. If there are trees next to it, I guess I'll
                  remove the asphalt and put lawn. I'll make a nice concrete or brick wide
                  walkway right in front of my front door leading to the city walkway. If
                  there is a garage, I can't imagine all the ways I can make use of it instead
                  of storing a car: put bikes, carts, lawnmower, garden tools, wheelbarrow, or
                  even have enough room for a billard table!


                  > In the last year or so, I too have dreamed about creating a car-free
                  > community somewhere, or redesigning an existing town or urban center
                  > to operate without that iron shield we've wedged between ourselves
                  > and our neighbors. There has to be enough of us, like-minded folk to
                  > make this possible.
                  >
                  Yes. We just need to gather our forces and start a real project.
                  It's contradictory. Real estate agents show that houses on a cul-de-sac as
                  an advantage because it's nearly carfree, but some people who buy such a
                  house may not separate from his car.

                  > I live in Marin county, just north of San Francisco, the so-called
                  > birthplace of mountain biking. You'd be quite shocked to see the
                  > amount of car (and SUV !?!) traffic clogging the streets of our
                  > towns, and an abysmal rate of carpooling I might add. I stand guilty
                  > myself, as there is no plausible way to get my children to school
                  > that doesn't require an automobile. And, we've NO schoolbus in the
                  > district either. 4.6 miles, 1 mountain, and a crowded freeway stand
                  > between home and school. Although a relocation is planned, I've not
                  > yet found a workable option.
                  >
                  It's typically the worst situation there could be for a child to grow. They
                  can't walk or bike to school, and I guess they can't play in the streets,
                  and they don't even have a school bus. I feel so sad thinking a person
                  (especially a child) with good health, 2 arms and 2 legs, can't make it to
                  school or work because of those cars.

                  Me too, I plan to relocate as soon as I find a true carfree city, even if
                  Montreal is not that bad regarding transit. That's my ultimate life goal,
                  and I want to meet as many people as I can who have the same goal to serve
                  our project.

                  I sincerely wish you good luck to find a better place in your case.

                  Louis-Luc
                • guy@subrosa.org
                  I agree with Louis, if I could have one thing above all in my ideal city, it would be fewer cars. But I m kind of impatient with those who echo such sentiments
                  Message 8 of 17 , Oct 5, 2000
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                    I agree with Louis, if I could have one thing above all in
                    my ideal city, it would be fewer cars. But I'm kind of impatient
                    with those who echo such sentiments without acting on them.
                    Anyone who feels this way should surely do all they can to kick
                    the private auto habit. I've done so, and nothing has been better
                    for my physical and mental health. If you don't act concretely on
                    your priorities, and can't see fit to make significant sacrifices
                    for them if necessary, how on Earth will they come to fruition?
                    Enough talk. Action!

                    I too would like to find enough people who share such sentiments
                    to make even a single carfree block in a city here in the US a
                    reality. But I doubt that anyone who lacks the commitment to start a
                    single carfree household, namely their own, would be prepared to work
                    for a whole carfree block, let alone city. This is the problem.

                    Would anyone who has already met the first hurdle of living carfree
                    themselves like to start with me on the next, starting a carfree
                    neighborhood, here in San Diego? Give me a call (858-558-1384) or
                    drop me an email.

                    Guy
                  • Mark Watson
                    Hi Guy, Are you inferring that members of this list are not carfree or car-lite? No poll has been conducted that I know of. Egroups has that capability.
                    Message 9 of 17 , Oct 6, 2000
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                      Hi Guy,

                      Are you inferring that members of this list are not carfree or car-lite? No
                      poll has been conducted that I know of. Egroups has that capability.
                      Although I'm not sure it should make a difference.

                      I read somewhere, maybe here, this analogy: A drug addict doesn't need to
                      be clean in order to say to his fellow addicts, "This sucks! Let's work
                      toward quitting."

                      We are trying, in our own way, to bring about the revolution. Some of us
                      chose a house, job, etc. before enlightenment. So it is harder. [But my
                      PCFD was Sept 1st, & my car hasn't move since.]

                      Leading by example is a good, but not the only, way to fight the fight.

                      Also, I believe that this list is more concerned w/ changing the built
                      environment to get rid of the need for cars in cities. Not the day-to-day
                      struggles of being carfree in the current world.

                      A better source for that may be the CarFree list.
                      http://www.egroups.com/group/CarFree

                      RE:San Diego, Bill Volk bvolk@... is member of that list & may be
                      able to help you in your local efforts. Please keep this list informed on
                      your progress. I am especially interested because that's my home town & I
                      still have family there.

                      Mark

                      ********************************************************
                      ride safe. ride often. ride everywhere.

                      Mark Watson __o
                      `\<
                      (o)/(o)

                      mark_a_watson@... Seattle, WA, USA
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