Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Re: [carfree_cities] Transport Infrastructure (was Shock Tactics)

Expand Messages
  • jym@econet.org
    ... =v= What s an automobile city? Every city I ve ever lived in in the U.S. was founded before the automobile era. They were built up around such things
    Message 1 of 6 , May 28, 2000
      > 3) As long as one's vision of a car free city resembles
      > a re-worked automobile city then park and ride will be
      > considered a solution.

      =v= What's an "automobile city?" Every city I've ever lived
      in in the U.S. was founded before the automobile era. They
      were built up around such things as streetcars and horse-drawn
      carriages. Much of this has of course been damaged to make way
      for automobiles, but often the underlying pre-automobile city
      is largely there.
      <_Jym_>
    • EXPORTATION QUEBEC
      ... Therefore, considering the city was there before the automobile arrived, then it must be possible to remove automobiles and use the streets for human uses.
      Message 2 of 6 , May 29, 2000
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: jym@... [mailto:jym@...]
        > Sent: 28 mai, 2000 22:59
        > To: carfree_cities@egroups.com
        > Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Transport Infrastructure (was Shock
        > Tactics)
        >
        >
        > > 3) As long as one's vision of a car free city resembles
        > > a re-worked automobile city then park and ride will be
        > > considered a solution.
        >
        > =v= What's an "automobile city?" Every city I've ever lived
        > in in the U.S. was founded before the automobile era. They
        > were built up around such things as streetcars and horse-drawn
        > carriages. Much of this has of course been damaged to make way
        > for automobiles, but often the underlying pre-automobile city
        > is largely there.
        > <_Jym_>
        >
        Therefore, considering the city was there before the automobile arrived,
        then it must be possible to remove automobiles and use the streets for
        human uses. Not necessarily returning totally to horse/carriage, but
        also setting the rest of the space free for people to move. Now our
        bikes can go much faster than earlier, so a fast lane will still exist,
        and we probably should keep the street lights at least for the fast lane.

        The Old Montreal has narrow streets and some are paved with bricks dating
        from certainly 3 centuries or so. It's a shame we still see gas cars
        running on those streets and sometimes parked partially on the sidewalk
        because the street is narrow. I passed near one the other day, and being
        3 or 4 men with camera, instead of lonely, we would lift it up and let it
        fall sideways in the street to clear our way on the sidewalk. Then we would
        take our
        film to a gag-show program on TV... It's a gag, but one that makes people
        think.
        After all some drunk teenagers did this with a police car in a mass
        gathering, so I see nothing wrong doing the same with a car which is
        parked on the sidewalk, disturbing the traffic.

        Louis-Luc
      • J.H. Crawford
        ... Yup. It s interesting to note that, after the colonial era, cities in the USA were generally built with girdded streets of a width not often seen in
        Message 3 of 6 , May 30, 2000
          Jym said:

          >=v= What's an "automobile city?" Every city I've ever lived
          >in in the U.S. was founded before the automobile era. They
          >were built up around such things as streetcars and horse-drawn
          >carriages. Much of this has of course been damaged to make way
          >for automobiles, but often the underlying pre-automobile city
          >is largely there.

          Yup. It's interesting to note that, after the colonial era,
          cities in the USA were generally built with girdded streets
          of a width not often seen in Europe. Part of this was probably
          a response to the vast areas of land that were available in
          the USA, and part was probably due to congestion problems that
          developed in larger cities with narrow streets as horse- and
          mule-drawn wagons began to fill the streets. It's worth
          remembering that animal traction is even more space-intensive
          than internal-combustion power.



          ###

          J.H. Crawford _Carfree Cities_
          postmaster@... http://www.carfree.com
        • Randall Hunt
          ... To an extent you are correct but you realize that what existed prior to the automobile really is *not* there anymore: that original state has grown and
          Message 4 of 6 , May 30, 2000
            I initially wrote:

            >3) As long as one's vision of a car free city resembles a re-worked
            >automobile city then park and ride will be considered a solution. We will
            >not achieve true, efficient, human-scaled, car free cities unless they are
            >created from whole cloth. At issue is our ability to access the city
            >because places are nearby, not because we can traverse distance at high
            >speed. Human-scaled (pedestrian) cities operate from a completely different
            >logistical paradigm than cities spoiled by the distances that auto
            >transport has established. In other words, you will never get the sounds of
            >a piano out of a re-built harpsichord. The difference is intrinsic to the
            >instrument.

            Jym noted:

            >> ...Every city I've ever lived in in the U.S. was founded before the
            >> automobile era. ... often the underlying pre-automobile city is largely
            >> there.

            To an extent you are correct but you realize that what existed prior to the
            automobile really is *not* there anymore: that "original" state has grown
            and changed. Certainly it's possible to renovate a core area but that
            doesn't consider the city as a unit; it doesn't consider the whole problem.

            Louis-Luc added:

            >Therefore, considering the city was there before the automobile arrived,
            >then it must be possible to remove automobiles and use the streets for
            >human uses.


            Yes and no. Just because we supplant automobiles does not make the city
            human-scaled. We are still left with the distances created in the first
            place and the separation of functions.

            Here is my analysis of the predicament we are in with our cities. I want to
            make it very clear that I support efforts to remake existing cities. But I
            think that we will get farther faster by a different route than by engaging
            existing cities directly. No slight intended to those who bravely do so!

            What do we really want in a city? What makes for a "good" city? If cities
            don't work as they are then how exactly will we change them? What are we
            trying to achieve? What kind of city should we have in the first place?

            I have a list that may differ from others but it includes:

            Size...
            Cities larger than about 100,000 population are already too big to be
            casually accessible, no matter how you cut it. Urban theorists have
            pondered the question of "ideal cities" since Plato. Many historical
            sources seem to agree that cities continue to improve in quality up to
            about 20,000 to 50,000 population. After that, increasing social problems
            start to overtake benefits. When cities reach populations of hundreds of
            thousands (common), we are left scraping for the benefits while we scramble
            to ameliorate the problems: distance, alienation, isolation, etc.
            Therefore, I've concluded that large cities are behind the eight ball
            before we even begin. No matter, we'll persevere. Point is, what we should
            be aiming for is something smaller that what we have. It's a compact city
            that we are after, not just car free. We would be better off connecting
            several smaller adjacent cities than continuing to extend one big city. The
            trouble is, we can not simply divide existing cities into multiple smaller
            ones. We could make a city the "right size", however. While we're at it, we
            may be able to pre-accommodate (more than anticipate) those elements which
            we know will be necessary as a city grows to that target size. (As an
            aside, I suspect we would be able to fill our pedestrian city without
            problem; it would reach target capacity fairly quickly.) Sprawl is
            disallowed.

            Access...
            I should be able to get anywhere in town in less than fifteen minutes. I
            choose to travel on foot, at a rate of speed which allows me to stop, sit
            and talk to whomever I may encounter, or simply pause to window-shop. I
            want a convenient way to transport groceries; I'm happy to have building
            supplies, furniture, etc delivered. My concept of an optimum city is
            roughly one mile between farthest points, or somewhat larger with
            mechanical conveyers (e.g, moving sidewalks like at airports). An optimum
            city does not require that I wait for conveyance (as I would for a tram on
            a schedule); motorized conveyers run continuously or on demand.

            Total non-intrusion...
            I do not want to hear--or smell--any internal combustion engine or its
            whistling companion, the steel living room, making "deliveries". Let's park
            our beloved pets outside the city where they can drip on each other instead
            of on us. Maybe I'll travel and maybe I won't.

            View...
            I want an uninterrupted view of distant mountains without having to
            overlook sprawl development at my feet. I want to be able to see the Milky
            Way at night. I want a city that extends my vision, not constricts it.

            Economic opportunity...
            I want to be able to open my door for business and have a big enough room
            to do so.

            And so on...

            I suggest that the easiest, cheapest, quickest way to transform existing
            cities into more human-scaled, ecologically compatible instruments is to
            build an example. Seeing an example is frequently the only way some people
            get the picture, and you will need a lot of people getting the picture to
            reconfigure existing cities. Lacking an example, cities will take hundreds
            of years to become what they may. Don't forget how very critical the time
            element is. Besides, if the U.S. would endorse and promote the creation of
            a true, modern, ecological city, it would speak volumes to the world
            community and increase national stature and credibility. It could very well
            influence China's headlong rush to duplicate our mistake, not that
            manufacturers mind.

            Granted, this would be a multi-billion dollar project. Guesstimating, a
            construction cost of $8 billion for a city of 8000 households (roughly
            thirty thousand people) runs to a million dollars per household over a life
            of...200 years? 500 years? Excluding interest, that means residences pay
            $5000 per year for 200 years. That sounds reasonable to me, since even the
            poor pay that much now. Don't forget to factor in the savings one expects
            from a compact form.

            The only real obstacle in this material world toward creating an ecological
            city--on the way toward creating numerous ecological cities--is showing
            that it is economically profitable. That will not be a problem if we just
            sit down and do it.
          • J.H. Crawford
            ... Separation of uses is not too hard to correct; scale problems are more difficult; the addition of infill buildings in the middle of existing streets can
            Message 5 of 6 , May 31, 2000
              Long reply to Randall Hunt's long message:

              >>3) As long as one's vision of a car free city resembles a re-worked
              >>automobile city then park and ride will be considered a solution. We will
              >>not achieve true, efficient, human-scaled, car free cities unless they are
              >>created from whole cloth. At issue is our ability to access the city
              >>because places are nearby, not because we can traverse distance at high
              >>speed. Human-scaled (pedestrian) cities operate from a completely different
              >>logistical paradigm than cities spoiled by the distances that auto
              >>transport has established. In other words, you will never get the sounds of
              >>a piano out of a re-built harpsichord. The difference is intrinsic to the
              >>instrument.

              >Louis-Luc added:
              >
              >>Therefore, considering the city was there before the automobile arrived,
              >>then it must be possible to remove automobiles and use the streets for
              >>human uses.
              >
              >
              >Yes and no. Just because we supplant automobiles does not make the city
              >human-scaled. We are still left with the distances created in the first
              >place and the separation of functions.

              Separation of uses is not too hard to correct; scale problems
              are more difficult; the addition of infill buildings in the
              middle of existing streets can help with the rescaling. (See
              other post from me).

              >Here is my analysis of the predicament we are in with our cities. I want to
              >make it very clear that I support efforts to remake existing cities. But I
              >think that we will get farther faster by a different route than by engaging
              >existing cities directly. No slight intended to those who bravely do so!
              >
              >What do we really want in a city? What makes for a "good" city? If cities
              >don't work as they are then how exactly will we change them? What are we
              >trying to achieve? What kind of city should we have in the first place?
              >
              >I have a list that may differ from others but it includes:
              >
              >Size...
              >Cities larger than about 100,000 population are already too big to be
              >casually accessible, no matter how you cut it. Urban theorists have
              >pondered the question of "ideal cities" since Plato. Many historical
              >sources seem to agree that cities continue to improve in quality up to
              >about 20,000 to 50,000 population. After that, increasing social problems
              >start to overtake benefits. When cities reach populations of hundreds of
              >thousands (common), we are left scraping for the benefits while we scramble
              >to ameliorate the problems: distance, alienation, isolation, etc.

              This is why Alexander identified the pattern "Communities of 7000".
              This approach seems to give the benefits of both larger and smaller
              cities, and is the reason the reference design is divided into 80
              districts of 12,000 (each of which splits naturally along the central
              boulevard into two communities of 6000).

              >Access...
              >I should be able to get anywhere in town in less than fifteen minutes.

              The reference district takes 10 minutes to cross on foot; the whole
              city 35 minutes using transit.

              >Total non-intrusion...
              >I do not want to hear--or smell--any internal combustion engine or its
              >whistling companion, the steel living room, making "deliveries". Let's park
              >our beloved pets outside the city where they can drip on each other instead
              of on us. Maybe I'll travel and maybe I won't.

              I think that this is a really critical point. ZERO none zip.

              >I suggest that the easiest, cheapest, quickest way to transform existing
              >cities into more human-scaled, ecologically compatible instruments is to
              >build an example. Seeing an example is frequently the only way some people
              >get the picture, and you will need a lot of people getting the picture to
              >reconfigure existing cities. Lacking an example, cities will take hundreds
              >of years to become what they may. Don't forget how very critical the time
              >element is. Besides, if the U.S. would endorse and promote the creation of
              >a true, modern, ecological city, it would speak volumes to the world
              >community and increase national stature and credibility. It could very well
              >influence China's headlong rush to duplicate our mistake, not that
              >manufacturers mind.

              I proposed on TV in Toronto last week that they take an area
              right next to downtown and along the waterfront that is scheduled
              for redevelopment and designate it as a carfree area. It would
              be easy to serve with trams to downtown (and linking there with
              the city's metro system) and is a good size for a test community.
              We need demo projects ASAP.

              >Granted, this would be a multi-billion dollar project. Guesstimating, a
              >construction cost of $8 billion for a city of 8000 households (roughly
              >thirty thousand people) runs to a million dollars per household over a life
              >of...200 years? 500 years? Excluding interest, that means residences pay
              >$5000 per year for 200 years. That sounds reasonable to me, since even the
              >poor pay that much now. Don't forget to factor in the savings one expects
              >from a compact form.

              Well, there is the small matter of compound interest, which raises the
              cost to about $11,000/year. I think the million-dollars-a-household
              figure is much too high, however. One of the advantages of compact
              living is that the infrastructure costs are considerably lower than
              for sprawl.

              >The only real obstacle in this material world toward creating an ecological
              >city--on the way toward creating numerous ecological cities--is showing
              >that it is economically profitable. That will not be a problem if we just
              >sit down and do it.

              I have said that I think that the cities that are the first to make
              this transition will enjoy huge economic benefits, at least as long
              as they are not required to continue to subsidize other people's
              auto-centric cities.


              ###

              J.H. Crawford _Carfree Cities_
              postmaster@... http://www.carfree.com
            • Ronald Dawson
              ... Your right when it comes to the trams in Toronto. Just build a branch off of the nearest streetcar line, the trams could run directly to downtown (Union
              Message 6 of 6 , May 31, 2000
                J.H. Crawford wrote:
                >I proposed on TV in Toronto last week that they take an area
                >right next to downtown and along the waterfront that is scheduled
                >for redevelopment and designate it as a carfree area. It would
                >be easy to serve with trams to downtown (and linking there with
                >the city's metro system) and is a good size for a test community.
                >We need demo projects ASAP.

                Your right when it comes to the trams in Toronto. Just build a branch off of
                the nearest streetcar line, the trams could run directly to downtown (Union
                Station) and connect with the subway and commuter/intercity rail lines.
                Dawson
              Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.