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Re: [carfree_cities] how to go car-free in austin TX?

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  • Colin Leath
    There are a lot of good people in austin, including Paul Parma (on this list) http://www.venetianpassage.com/Home_Page.html the green builders program- yellow
    Message 1 of 5 , Apr 20, 2003
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      There are a lot of good people in austin,
      including Paul Parma (on this list)
      http://www.venetianpassage.com/Home_Page.html
      the green builders program-
      yellow bike project-
      etc, etc- Quakers-
      Unfortunately Susan Lee Solar died in 2002.
      one of the most active YBP projects I have seen:
      http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/vol17/issue07/pols.yellowbikes.html
      There are even organic farms still within city limits!


      I lived there for 6 months starting January, 1999,
      but left because my allergies couldn't take it-
      And it is not as good for biking as other US places (e.g.,
      Monterey, Northern VA, and many others)

      If your first priority is to live without a car-
      that will limit what you can do, how fast you can rush
      around, and so on - it is a choice around which you can
      organize your life.

      You can still be an independent contractor without a car-
      but most likely your choice to not use a car will affect
      your choice of business.

      I recommend going to the green builder meetings and meet
      others who (may be) are trying to balance their green
      building focus with their choice of living in Austin.

      I was drawn to green building once-
      but I am always skeptical of the need to build things-

      Quite possibly you will become more radicalized (perhaps
      when you read Derrick Jensen).

      Maybe you will be riding a bike and pulling a trailer (big
      gardening carts were used by the people at APM's fossil fuel
      free farm), down the main streets of austin.

      (In Austin) There is a 40y/o guy who rides only a bmx bike
      and pulls a child-carrier-

      cars give him a wide berth thinking he is a kid pulling a
      baby.

      and he can handle the miserable street potholes much better.

      Maybe- you can (my preference) even find a way to walk/run
      instead of bike.

      Or gondola :)

      My commute when I was there was from 1221 Algarita ave to UT
      Austin- and much of it could be done along some very nice
      trails, where the grackles cawing made me feel I was in a
      jungle.

      Colin
      http://j9k.org


      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/carfree_cities/message/3630

      On Sun, 20 Apr 2003, reb_78745 wrote:

      > hello everyone.... i've just gotta say- msg #3630 hit the nail on the
      > head, about our abyssmal situation here in the so-called "city of
      > ideas". for some reason we are all just utterly paralyzed when it
      > comes to the car issue. or should i say, SUV issue... there's rarely
      > a time i look out the window on all sides to see myself surrounded by
      > an army of tanks!
      > but i don't even ride a bike (i'm too terrified, plus everything's so
      > sprawled out, it would be impossible- plus for half the year it's 110
      > degrees)- and i can completely relate to that message-- both sides...
      > what the poor lone biker must feel, as well as the driver- the
      > frustration of being trapped in traffic for hours on end in this city
      > of endless gridlocks... becoming more agitated by the minute, just
      > wanting to do ANYTHING to push your way out of it.
      >
      > i used to live in baltimore, where it was so much easier to get
      > around... i must have spent less than half the time in my car as i do
      > here. now, i can just hear a native austinite saying "well, if you
      > didn't move here--- you're just part of the problem..." yeah
      > whatever. people move all over the place all the time, and no one was
      > here "first"- except the native americans- so let's not be so
      > territorial. sure, we are all ruining the planet by being alive. so
      > what should we all do, commit mass suicide? well, i'm planning on
      > sticking around a while longer- so, no thank you. but dealing with
      > the reality here & now-- i DO NOT believe that it's all the yankees &
      > californians who have come here and "ruined austin". for one thing,
      > do you think it's only transplants who have SUV's? come on people.
      > texans love their tanks and their big ol' pickup trucks more than
      > anybody. but, the problem is so obvious-- POOR PLANNING on the city's
      > part. the city's growth exploded with the auto & development of
      > highways.. hence the sprawl. now we are trapped in a vicious cycle,
      > we need more highways to relieve pressure from the other highways,
      > but then those will just end up surrounded by more strip malls &
      > convenience stores, etc. etc... causing more traffic-- you know the
      > story. meanwhile, everyone bitched that building a light rail would
      > be a "waste of money 'cause no one will ever use it!" well, my
      > response to that (and this yankee voted FOR it): could the present
      > situation get any worse?? we HAVE to start finding some long-term
      > solutions here, or we WILL end up just like houston (and we're
      > getting closer every day), which seems to be everyone's fear.
      >
      > anyway... i could go on & on about the frustrating situation here...
      > but i absolutely HATE wasting so much of my life in a car living
      > here... hate the red tape that goes along with it, the tickets, all
      > that B.S..... but don't know how one is to live here without it. if
      > you are a student, and you live near your campus, or you live on a
      > commune, yeah- of COURSE it's easy! but what about the rest of us? my
      > options seem to be: 1) move to a city where the automobile hasn't
      > completely taken over, or 2) suffer.
      > i do try to consolidate errands and only go somewhere when it's
      > completely necessary... (which sounds good in theory!)
      > but what about work?? as an independent contractor, i have to be all
      > over the place all the time, and fast. i'm trying to start my own
      > business, and how in the bejeezus is a person doing that supposed to
      > get all over town, to and from client's homes (who want everything
      > done yesterday) and paint and supply stores, without a car? what, am
      > i supposed to carry 10 gallons of paint and furniture in my
      > backback?? there is NO WAY i could do this on a bus or a bike, even
      > if i could ride one here.
      >
      > another thing i've noticed-- even those who like the freedom of not
      > having a car, or can't afford one, or don't believe in them-- always
      > have to end up asking someone else for a ride at some time or
      > another. so, how is a person supposed to get around, REALLY, without
      > using SOMEONE'S car, or a cab, if not their own car---?
      >
      > anyone have any bright ideas, short of leaving town??
      > i/we sure could use some down here...
      >
      > thanks,
      > sick of texas traffic
      >
      > (rebeka)
      >
    • turpin
      ... When I was young, I lived and worked in Austin quite well, without owning a car. Today, that would be difficult. The old Austin -- that part south of
      Message 2 of 5 , Apr 20, 2003
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        "reb_78745" wrote:
        > the city's growth
        > exploded .. hence the
        > sprawl.

        When I was young, I lived
        and worked in Austin quite
        well, without owning a car.
        Today, that would be
        difficult. The old Austin
        -- that part south of
        Anderson and north of
        Oltorf -- is still pretty
        pedestrian and bicycle
        friendly. Not as much as
        it once was, but still
        better than many other
        cities. Unless you can
        arrange to live and work
        in that core, you're right
        that you will need a car.
        I don't have any solution
        to that for the individual
        -- it is a problem of the
        urban architecture that has
        evolved.

        > for half the year it's
        > 110 degrees

        What's wrong with that?
        It never kept me from
        walking to work. If it
        helps any, remind yourself
        that Austin is cooler and
        less humid than south
        Texas. One July a couple of
        years ago, Corpus Christi
        had a high of 113*, half
        the days hit triple digits,
        overnight lows were in the
        low 80s, and there was
        enough humidity that that
        caused dew. Happier, now?

        > now, i can just hear a
        > native austinite saying ..

        I keep telling people, if
        they're serious about
        sending the yankees packing,
        all they have to do is ban
        air conditioning. ;-)
      • Michael A Ohene
        Yellow bike project ... This was mentioned. I have to say that as a cyclist, the impression I get from the yellow-bike project is a bad one. Some people with
        Message 3 of 5 , Apr 20, 2003
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          Yellow bike project
          -------------------
          This was mentioned. I have to say that as a cyclist, the
          impression I get from the yellow-bike project is a bad one.
          Some people with good intentions - remember what George
          Bernad Shaw said "All men mean well." "Hell is paved with good
          intentions". - are to politically correct concerning bikes.
          Some bikes are trash. In fact, almost everysingle bike on the road
          may not be trash, but they are definetly not suitable for
          transportation.
          When people think bikes. They view bikes as cheap toys. And
          people try to promote bikes as cheap transportation. That
          is completely false the only cheap bike you can get is a
          trashy, poorly made, labourious bike.
          People in Austin like Michael Bluejay, only reinforce the
          bicycle inferiorty, Toy Bike Syndrome B.S. spewed by people
          who have never ridden real bikes.
          The reality is that most adults have never ridden a bicycle
          made for transportation.
          And if someone needs a bike, why not just give the person
          a bike instead of creating a community bike that will be
          in poor condition and get stolen anyway. But I digress.

          >i'm trying to start my own
          >business, and how in the bejeezus is a person doing that supposed to
          >get all over town, to and from client's homes (who want everything
          >done yesterday) and paint and supply stores, without a car? what, am
          >i supposed to carry 10 gallons of paint and furniture in my
          >backback?? there is NO WAY i could do this on a bus or a bike, even
          >if i could ride one here.

          That is somewhat of a misconception about cyclists. People who
          know anything about bikes do not pretend that a bike is a
          wonder drug. It would be responsible and wise to use a bike
          for tasks that will not require a large amount of effort.
          It would be wise and responsible to use a car for tasks that
          are impractical to accomplish with the use of another vehicle.
          Its about appropriate usage, not about finding a wonder drug, any
          attempt to treat a vehicle as an all-around, do-everything machine
          will only lead to problems.
          Even I drive a car about once or twice a week. I don't view riding a
          bike as a being political like some of those critical massers. Those
          people aren't even cyclists they are anti-motorists in theory.

          Looking back, on how I started riding bikes. I doubt if I could
          honestly tell someone that they could just ride a bike to work.
          First there is a definite learning curve to riding a bike in traffic,
          learning the behaviour of motorists (e.g. never wait first or last in
          line at a traffic light, learning how to take the lane, behind the
          back birdie, etc). Riding a bike is a lifestyle not something you do
          to meet a need.
          Second you have to relearn about bikes from an experienced cyclists
          because some bike shops will just try to sell a mountain bike or
          whatever bike they want to get rid of to customers.

          >meanwhile, everyone bitched that building a light rail would
          >be a "waste of money 'cause no one will ever use it!"
          Wait a minute, Dallas has a light rail. Atlanta has light rail.
          If you build light rail for people with cars while they can still
          drive to work, then you might have a usage problem. It has to be
          encouraged not built as an embellishment.

          Like I said, this stuff should be compiled into an open source
          document so people know the answers to some of the common
          transit/planning problems. I posted a guide to bicycles in the files
          section on the yahoo site. Anyone is free to make
          corrections/suggestions.

          Later,
          militant cyclist
          Baton Rouge





          --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "reb_78745" <rebtex@a...>
          wrote:
          > hello everyone.... i've just gotta say- msg #3630 hit the nail on
          the
          > head, about our abyssmal situation here in the so-called "city of
          > ideas". for some reason we are all just utterly paralyzed when it
          > comes to the car issue. or should i say, SUV issue... there's
          rarely
          > a time i look out the window on all sides to see myself surrounded
          by
          > an army of tanks!
          > but i don't even ride a bike (i'm too terrified, plus everything's
          so
          > sprawled out, it would be impossible- plus for half the year it's
          110
          > degrees)- and i can completely relate to that message-- both
          sides...
          > what the poor lone biker must feel, as well as the driver- the
          > frustration of being trapped in traffic for hours on end in this
          city
          > of endless gridlocks... becoming more agitated by the minute, just
          > wanting to do ANYTHING to push your way out of it.
          >
          > i used to live in baltimore, where it was so much easier to get
          > around... i must have spent less than half the time in my car as i
          do
          > here. now, i can just hear a native austinite saying "well, if you
          > didn't move here--- you're just part of the problem..." yeah
          > whatever. people move all over the place all the time, and no one
          was
          > here "first"- except the native americans- so let's not be so
          > territorial. sure, we are all ruining the planet by being alive. so
          > what should we all do, commit mass suicide? well, i'm planning on
          > sticking around a while longer- so, no thank you. but dealing with
          > the reality here & now-- i DO NOT believe that it's all the yankees
          &
          > californians who have come here and "ruined austin". for one thing,
          > do you think it's only transplants who have SUV's? come on people.
          > texans love their tanks and their big ol' pickup trucks more than
          > anybody. but, the problem is so obvious-- POOR PLANNING on the
          city's
          > part. the city's growth exploded with the auto & development of
          > highways.. hence the sprawl. now we are trapped in a vicious cycle,
          > we need more highways to relieve pressure from the other highways,
          > but then those will just end up surrounded by more strip malls &
          > convenience stores, etc. etc... causing more traffic-- you know the
          > story. meanwhile, everyone bitched that building a light rail would
          > be a "waste of money 'cause no one will ever use it!" well, my
          > response to that (and this yankee voted FOR it): could the present
          > situation get any worse?? we HAVE to start finding some long-term
          > solutions here, or we WILL end up just like houston (and we're
          > getting closer every day), which seems to be everyone's fear.
          >
          > anyway... i could go on & on about the frustrating situation
          here...
          > but i absolutely HATE wasting so much of my life in a car living
          > here... hate the red tape that goes along with it, the tickets, all
          > that B.S..... but don't know how one is to live here without it. if
          > you are a student, and you live near your campus, or you live on a
          > commune, yeah- of COURSE it's easy! but what about the rest of us?
          my
          > options seem to be: 1) move to a city where the automobile hasn't
          > completely taken over, or 2) suffer.
          > i do try to consolidate errands and only go somewhere when it's
          > completely necessary... (which sounds good in theory!)
          > but what about work?? as an independent contractor, i have to be
          all
          > over the place all the time, and fast. i'm trying to start my own
          > business, and how in the bejeezus is a person doing that supposed
          to
          > get all over town, to and from client's homes (who want everything
          > done yesterday) and paint and supply stores, without a car? what,
          am
          > i supposed to carry 10 gallons of paint and furniture in my
          > backback?? there is NO WAY i could do this on a bus or a bike, even
          > if i could ride one here.
          >
          > another thing i've noticed-- even those who like the freedom of not
          > having a car, or can't afford one, or don't believe in them--
          always
          > have to end up asking someone else for a ride at some time or
          > another. so, how is a person supposed to get around, REALLY,
          without
          > using SOMEONE'S car, or a cab, if not their own car---?
          >
          > anyone have any bright ideas, short of leaving town??
          > i/we sure could use some down here...
          >
          > thanks,
          > sick of texas traffic
          >
          > (rebeka)
        • Jym Dyer
          =v= Austin has 2 -- count em -- 2 Critical Mass rides. You might want to take a peek at this site: http://bicycleaustin.info/ The newsletter, in particular,
          Message 4 of 5 , Apr 20, 2003
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            =v= Austin has 2 -- count 'em -- 2 Critical Mass rides.
            You might want to take a peek at this site:

            http://bicycleaustin.info/

            The newsletter, in particular, is devoted to car-free living,
            with an empahsis on Austin.

            =v= There's also a documentary out, "Bike Like U Mean It," which
            I haven't seen yet. Here's the Google incantation to find more:

            http://www.google.com/search?q=%22Bike+Like+%2BU+Mean+%2BIt%22

            (Google tip: Google will normally ignore the letter "U" and
            word "It", so the above puts plus signs in front of them.)
            <_Jym_>
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