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Re: [carfree_cities] Ranking US cities

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  • eyrehead
    ... I would have hoped more for light rail, but detaching people from their automobiles will not be done in one swoop. At least it s mass transit. If there
    Message 1 of 23 , Apr 10, 2000
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      > Last month in Phoenix there was a large referendum about raising a local
      > sales tax by 0.4% which passed with a 2-1 vote (the voter turn out some
      > thing like 24%). 2/3 of the budget will be spent on buses with the remaining
      > 1/3 for LRT. Please check out http://www.lightrail.com/news/news03-29.htm .
      >

      I would have hoped more for light rail, but detaching people from their automobiles
      will not be done in one swoop. At least it's mass transit. If there is some
      permanence (that's why I prefer trolleys to buses) development along the


      > Also oddly enough Adtranz a maker of rail cars, locomotives and LRV's is a
      > subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler http://www.adtranz.com/adtranz/index_e.htm.
      > Like wise with Airbus http://www.dasa.com/dasa/index_e.htm.

      Maybe the auto companies see which way the wind is blowing. There are two
      advertising and design directions that suggest that the auto companies realize that
      the Great American Commute is getting to a be drag, not to mention dangerous.

      One, the increasing number of distracting doodads in the car, phone, computer,
      entertainment systems. Anything to keep some driver from realizing that sitting in
      traffic taking lungful after lungful of exhaust, is no way to spend life.

      Two, the design changes made for old people who drive. So if the dashboard numbers
      are bigger, so if mirrors are angled so you do not have to wrench your head around to
      glance back. Many young drivers have lousy vision, and sometimes stiff necks, but
      their licenses are not suspended for those reasons. These design changes "for the
      older driver" are part of denial that many otherwise capable people should not be
      driving.

      When it is part of sensible, not to mention civilized, urban planning to have car free
      areas, a segment of the population will be able to relinquish their hold on driving
      privileges. They will probably be grateful.

      Martha
    • eyrehead
      ... Negative would do it. Path for the current. I was trying to get a fix on how it worked. The trolleys could be grounded to the metal rails, but an
      Message 2 of 23 , Apr 10, 2000
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        >
        > >Are the trolley buses you have in mind electric buses attached to power and
        > >ground lines?
        >
        > There are positive and negative wires, but there is no ground that I know
        > of.

        Negative would do it. Path for the current. I was trying to get a fix on how it
        worked. The trolleys could be grounded to the metal rails, but an electric bus on
        rubber tires would have to be worked another way.

        I find the use of trolley buses attractive because it would be relatively cheap to
        string the cables, the road is already there.

        Several varieties of electric motor have already been put into service. The
        problem is storage of power, but if that came off a line, problem solved.

        Parts and repair for trolley buses would be available nearly everywhere. If one
        needed major repair, it could be taken offline and towed.

        Electric power, point pollution is easier to control that roads full of exhaust.

        It is a common political tactic to point at large expenditures and scream about
        waste. This would certainly happen if a city found the political will to put in
        trolleys. The rails, the blocking of roads while the track was installed, etc.
        would be grist for political opponents. But trolley buslines could be in in
        days. I am ready to be corrected in this, the bikers in the group may jump all
        over me for this, but it seems that a lane devoted to the exclusive use of bicycles
        and trolley buses might be helpful. If the lane serviced nothing but bikes and
        regular predictable buses, it would be a lot safer than sharing the road with
        autos.

        If a trolley busline was getting a lot of business then the more permanent rails
        and trolleys could be put in. It's good practice to find out whether there is a
        market for a service. Trolley buses would be the toe in the water.

        I am new to this board but I sense some urgency here. The time is ripe for a
        change to mass transit. Once it was rare to lease a car, but now, autos have
        become so expensive, leasing is for some families, the only way to have new
        (reliable) transportation. It is something to point out if you are in a town
        meeting discussing the subject. Ask how many people lease cars. And how many
        did ten years ago.

        Autos are getting way too expensive in more ways than one.

        Martha
      • Richard Risemberg
        I remember trolley buses in LA--very quiet, but subject to the same traffic delays and lurching, etc, as regular buses. Rail is smoother and more mechanically
        Message 3 of 23 , Apr 10, 2000
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          I remember trolley buses in LA--very quiet, but subject to the same traffic delays and lurching, etc, as regular buses. Rail is smoother and more mechanically efficient, and with grade separation not as subject to
          traffic.

          If I recall correctly (I was very young at the time), annoyance at the dual overhead wires of the trolley buses was a major excuse for removing them.

          Richard

          --
          Richard Risemberg
          editor@...
          Living Room Urban Ecology Web Magazine
          http://living-room.org
        • J.H. Crawford
          ... In the case of trolleys, there s one overhead hot conductor. The rails serve as the return path (at ground potential, of course). ... Yes, two conductors
          Message 4 of 23 , Apr 10, 2000
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            >> >Are the trolley buses you have in mind electric buses attached to power and
            >> >ground lines?
            >>
            >> There are positive and negative wires, but there is no ground that I know
            >> of.

            In the case of trolleys, there's one overhead "hot" conductor. The
            rails serve as the return path (at ground potential, of course).

            >Negative would do it. Path for the current. I was trying to get a fix on how it
            >worked. The trolleys could be grounded to the metal rails, but an electric bus on
            >rubber tires would have to be worked another way.

            Yes, two conductors are always required, and the amount of
            hardware that has to be installed up in the air is quite
            considerable. Also, it is quite common for one (or both!)
            trolley poles to come off the wire, which results in a
            delay while the driver tries to get the pole back on the
            wire. This sometimes takes a fair bit of time.

            >I find the use of trolley buses attractive because it would be relatively cheap to
            >string the cables, the road is already there.

            On the other hand, the cost for the overhead wires is more
            than double that for a trolley because of the complication
            of wires having to cross where routes join and diverge.

            >Several varieties of electric motor have already been put into service. The
            >problem is storage of power, but if that came off a line, problem solved.

            As far as I am aware, no in-service system has used storage
            (there are some tests with flywheels and batteries, I belive).
            Fuel cells would solve most of the problem, and some fuel-cell
            buses are under test.

            >Parts and repair for trolley buses would be available nearly everywhere. If one
            >needed major repair, it could be taken offline and towed.

            These buses are highly reliable. The main components are
            so long-lived that they are often set under a new coach
            body after 20 or so years.

            >I am ready to be corrected in this, the bikers in the group may jump all
            >over me for this, but it seems that a lane devoted to the exclusive use of bicycles
            >and trolley buses might be helpful. If the lane serviced nothing but bikes and
            >regular predictable buses, it would be a lot safer than sharing the road with
            >autos.

            My philosophy is this:

            Allocate space first to public transport (a la Zurich), so
            there are never any traffic-related delals.

            Make sure bikes get their own space (the speed differentials
            mean that the two kinds of traffic do not mix well).

            What's left over can go to the cars.



            ###

            J.H. Crawford _Carfree Cities_
            postmaster@... http://www.carfree.com
          • eyrehead
            ... Delays and lurching yes, there is no reason that would change. But there is a huge advantage over driving a car -- your attention does not have to be on
            Message 5 of 23 , Apr 11, 2000
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              Richard Risemberg wrote:

              > I remember trolley buses in LA--very quiet, but subject to the same traffic delays and lurching, etc, as regular buses. Rail is smoother and more mechanically efficient, and with grade separation not as subject to
              > traffic.

              Delays and lurching yes, there is no reason that would change. But there is a huge advantage over driving a car -- your attention does not have to be on the road, and with mobile computing, including e-books, you may
              even enjoy the time enroute in a trolley bus, perhaps you may even get work done.


              >
              >
              > If I recall correctly (I was very young at the time), annoyance at the dual overhead wires of the trolley buses was a major excuse for removing them.

              I am sure that the dual overhead wires could be contained in one package so that the current would go from one wire to the trolley's motor, then to the negative line that could be in the same cable though insulated
              from the other wire.

              What attracts me to trolley buses is that you could do it on a tiny scale at first, just the rounds of a car free condo/apartment complex out to the bus stop. If there was demand for it to go further, it could be made
              to do so within weeks.

              Many of the interstates have been built with huge medians between the opposite lanes. I am pretty sure this was to accomodate future growth. It seems a natural place for light rail or even trolleys which around the
              teens and 20s used to link towns. Imagine, sitting by the window on a trolley, your lap top or ebook in hand, favorite beverage in a cooler in your knapsack, and you take a sip now and then as you pass a traffic jam,
              stop and go for miles, but you don't have to look up from the book you are reading or the DVD movie you are playing in your laptop or worry about your BAC because you are not driving.

              Once upon a time, the image of the car on the road in the US was of freedom, a latter day cowboy. Now it's a cattle drive, and the autos are the cattle.

              Martha
            • eyrehead
              ... I like that! Martha
              Message 6 of 23 , Apr 11, 2000
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                >
                > My philosophy is this:
                >
                > Allocate space first to public transport (a la Zurich), so
                > there are never any traffic-related delals.
                >
                > Make sure bikes get their own space (the speed differentials
                > mean that the two kinds of traffic do not mix well).
                >
                > What's left over can go to the cars.

                I like that!

                Martha
              • eyrehead
                ... I think the image of public transportation as a losers way is a result of auto company PR. You say city bus to someone and they conjure up images of
                Message 7 of 23 , Apr 11, 2000
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                  > People won't switch from cars to buses, but they will
                  > switch from cars to electrically-powered rail systems.
                  >
                  > "Nobody with a choice ever took a bus anywhere."
                  >

                  I think the image of public transportation as a losers' way is a result of auto
                  company PR. You say city bus to someone and they conjure up images of having some
                  creep walk through an empty bus to sit beside him and then throw up on the floor.
                  Buses could be classic pay your fare and get on or subscription that could be a lot
                  more luxurious and take scenic routes.

                  Jumping now to another topic under the same subject -- the switching as an
                  electrical trolley bus comes to a fork in the road and chooses one road. In
                  plants for years, there has been an overhead mimic of the railroad switching
                  system. For the point of switching the cable could be rigid and radio switched,
                  so the cable would follow one route or the other.

                  Martha
                • eyrehead
                  ... Well, the lines can be condense into what appearsto be one line, and the visual pollution is small beside the chemical and noise pollution of all those
                  Message 8 of 23 , Apr 11, 2000
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                    > In Montreal one of the reasons(excuses) to get rid of the trams and trolley
                    > buses was visual pollution of the lines.

                    Well, the lines can be condense into what appearsto be one line, and the visual
                    pollution is small beside the chemical and noise pollution of all those combustion
                    engines.

                    Martha
                  • eyrehead
                    ... Like it or not, biometrics are here to stay, and your trolley fare may be linked to the times you get your irises or fingerprints scanned on your way
                    Message 9 of 23 , Apr 11, 2000
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                      >
                      >
                      > In Montreal on our Duex-Montangne EMU(Electric Multiple Unit) commuter line,
                      > a ten car(5 married pairs) train can handle 900(seated) to 1200(standing
                      > room) people with a crew of two. Rolling stock information can be found at
                      > the following URL http://www.transportation.bombardier.com/htmen/A2H.htm.
                      > Hey I rode them today. During off peak periods trains can be 4,6 or 8 cars
                      > long.
                      > Montreal commuter trains work on the honour system and time to time fare
                      > inspectors come around. A friend of mine calls the inspectors "POP
                      > COPs",(POP being for "Proof of Payment").
                      > For a map of the line look at http://www.amt.qc.ca/tc/train/plan.asp. I live
                      > near the Bois-Franc station and can see the pantographs from my kitchen
                      > window. The two other commuter lines use Diesel-Electric trains.
                      >

                      Like it or not, biometrics are here to stay, and your trolley fare may be linked to the times
                      you get your irises or fingerprints scanned on your way aboard.

                      Martha
                    • Ronald Dawson
                      ... Not long ago (1998 or 1999) Ford ran an ad campaign called bye, bye, bus . Dawson
                      Message 10 of 23 , Apr 12, 2000
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                        Martha wrote:
                        >I think the image of public transportation as a losers' way is a result of
                        >auto company PR.

                        Not long ago (1998 or 1999) Ford ran an ad campaign called "bye, bye, bus".
                        Dawson
                      • Marcus Nielson
                        ... a Twin ... miles away) ... guess part ... Initiative, a up ... http://www.dot.state.wi.us/dtim/bop/planning.html ... .mn.us/ofrw/rail.htm . High speed?
                        Message 11 of 23 , Apr 15, 2000
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                          --- In carfree_cities@egroups.com, "Ronald Dawson" <rdadddmd@t...>
                          wrote:
                          > Marcus Wrote:
                          > >>Mr.Gaarder is also against some thing called "North Star" is this
                          a Twin
                          > >>Cities commuter rail project?
                          >
                          > >Yep. The North Star is a commuter rail from St. Cloud (about 90
                          miles away)
                          > >to DT Mpls.
                          >
                          > That's a long trip for a commuter train, if it's St.Cloud then I
                          guess part
                          > of the route will be shared with that of Amtrak's Empire Builder
                          > (Chicago-Seattle/Portland). Maybe this train should be partially
                          > tagged/connected to or on to Amtrak's Midwest Regional Rail
                          Initiative, a up
                          > coming higher speed train service to Chicago (80-110mph).
                          > This URL is from WisDOT
                          http://www.dot.state.wi.us/dtim/bop/planning.html
                          > and this one is from MN-DOT http://www.dot.state
                          .mn.us/ofrw/rail.htm
                          .


                          High speed? That would be really nice. As for the long trip to St.
                          Cloud, unfortunitly that's the fastest growing part of the TC area.
                          Soon, sadly, it maybe one continuos strip of ugly development from
                          Mpls. to St. Cloud.



                          > >Another little debate in Mpls. is the Midtown
                          > >Greenway - a former train trench from the Mississippi river to the
                          chain of
                          > >lakes)
                          >
                          > Would this happen to be the former SOO or BN rail line right of way?

                          I don't keep track of fromer R.R. owners, but I believe it's SOO
                          line's.

                          > >now being converted in a pedestrain/bikeway plus some sort of
                          > >transit. The city wants a busway. The Midtown Greenway colalition
                          wants
                          > >LRT, and opposes buses because of the potiental polution buses
                          would cause
                          > >in the trench. Trolley buses were metioned as a comprimise.
                          >
                          > Rail or Busway, that's a good question, but it also leads a lot of
                          other
                          > questions. Capital costs, operating costs, type of equipment used,
                          > distances, air/water pollution and etc. It's a complex situation
                          that seems
                          > to be best solved on a case by case nature.
                          > Mr.Crawford would have more info.
                          > Ron Dawson

                          There's also the hot idea of turning old R.R. beds into bicycle
                          trails
                          in the Midwest right now. Minneapolis has and is planning a few. As a
                          all-season bike commuter, I obviously like the idea of having a
                          separate right of way, but something bugs me about the idea. Maybe I
                          think that these corridors are valueable and should be use for some
                          kind of public t
                        • Ronald Dawson
                          ... No offence but, Minneapolis-St.Paul must really be sprawling, St.Cloud is like 70 miles away. ... Thanks, but what I should have also asked is where along
                          Message 12 of 23 , Apr 16, 2000
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                            Mr Nielson wrote:
                            >High speed? That would be really nice. As for the long trip to St.
                            >Cloud, unfortunitly that's the fastest growing part of the TC area.
                            >Soon, sadly, it maybe one continuos strip of ugly development from
                            >Mpls. to St. Cloud.

                            No offence but, Minneapolis-St.Paul must really be sprawling, St.Cloud is
                            like 70 miles away.

                            >> Would this happen to be the former SOO or BN rail line right of way?

                            >I don't keep track of fromer R.R. owners, but I believe it's SOO
                            >line's.

                            Thanks, but what I should have also asked is where along the Mississippi
                            River that the line started. If the line was SOO's then it is either near
                            Marshall St. and Lowry Ave. or near Kellogg Blvd. I should have asked this
                            earlier, because just west of Vadnais Lake there was a place called Cardigan
                            Jct. where the line use to split up.

                            >There's also the hot idea of turning old R.R. beds into bicycle
                            >trails in the Midwest right now. Minneapolis has and is planning a few. As
                            >a all-season bike commuter, I obviously like the idea of having a
                            >separate right of way, but something bugs me about the idea. Maybe I
                            >think that these corridors are valueable and should be use for some
                            >kind of public transport

                            One of the positive things about the rail-trails movement is that right of
                            ways would be preserved for future rail access or "railbanked". It is one
                            thing to preserve a ROW of a line that was ripped up, but it's another to
                            rip up a track and make a trail.
                            Here is a good example http://www.railtrails.org/ . New Hampshire is one
                            state that makes a good example of protecting its rail ROW's for future rail
                            use that should be copied by other places.
                            http://members.xoom.com/KenyonKarl/aband-69.htm,
                            http://members.xoom.com/KenyonKarl/ROW-law.htm please also check
                            http://members.xoom.com/KenyonKarl/ .
                            There is also a group of people in California trying to rebuild the rail
                            line back toward Yosemite National Park! The original line was ripped out in
                            1945! One of the reasons to rebuild is to reduce the number of cars going in
                            to the National Park. http://www.yvrr.com/ http://www.yvrr.com/draft.shtml

                            Dawson
                          • Marcus Nielson
                            ... St.Cloud is ... Offense? It s not my fault. Mpls/St. Paul has some nice things, but by far it s #1 fault is it s such a car city. I believe at last count
                            Message 13 of 23 , Apr 17, 2000
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                              > No offence but, Minneapolis-St.Paul must really be sprawling,
                              St.Cloud is
                              > like 70 miles away.

                              Offense? It's not my fault. Mpls/St. Paul has some nice things, but
                              by
                              far it's #1 fault is it's such a car city. I believe at last count it
                              was the 3rd (behind K.C. and Alanta) worst sprawling area in the US
                              (and probably the world). And I'm getting pretty bitter about it.

                              > Thanks, but what I should have also asked is where along the
                              Mississippi
                              > River that the line started. If the line was SOO's then it is
                              either
                              near
                              > Marshall St. and Lowry Ave. or near Kellogg Blvd. I should have
                              asked this
                              > earlier, because just west of Vadnais Lake there was a place called
                              Cardigan
                              > Jct. where the line use to split up.

                              Well this line crosses the Mississippi just a few blocks north of
                              Lake
                              (Mpls) /Marshall (St.Paul). The Ped/bikeway will end just before the
                              river on the Mpls side. Tracks (for trains) are still being used form
                              the old Sears building (soon-to-be Great Lakes Center) to DT St. Paul
                              I believe. I'm not sure about Cardigan Jct., although it maybe near
                              Ayd Mill road (another car vs parkwway debate).


                              > One of the positive things about the rail-trails movement is that
                              right of
                              > ways would be preserved for future rail access or "railbanked".

                              Preserved for trains, people waiting for trains or pedestrains?


                              > There is also a group of people in California trying to rebuild the
                              rail
                              > line back toward Yosemite National Park! The original line was
                              ripped out in
                              > 1945! One of the reasons to rebuild is to reduce the number of cars
                              going in
                              > to the National Park. http://www.yvrr.com/
                              http://www.yvrr.com/draft.shtml
                              >
                              > Dawson

                              I think in National Parks, like, but esp like Yosimite, PRT would be
                              a
                              great place for
                            • eyrehead
                              ... How astonishing that you should post this message. You must be psychic! There is a car ad running now, in which three people on a commuter train look
                              Message 14 of 23 , Apr 23, 2000
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                                > Martha wrote:
                                > >I think the image of public transportation as a losers' way is a result of
                                > >auto company PR.
                                >
                                > Not long ago (1998 or 1999) Ford ran an ad campaign called "bye, bye, bus".

                                How astonishing that you should post this message. You must be psychic!

                                There is a car ad running now, in which three people on a commuter train look
                                enviously on a couple moving fast in a red convertible.

                                It occurred to me as soon as I saw it 1) that for realistic commuting, the car
                                should have been doing bumper to bumper stop and go.
                                2) that the people on the train would not have looked so envious.

                                Especially in view of what you wrote, I think that the auto companies are realizing
                                that people are sick, sick, sick of the commute. They are trying to build
                                diversions into the car, but there is no way around the need to have your attention
                                on the road.

                                The companies are trying to keep people from resorting to the obvious alternative.
                                Mass transit is for losers. They must sell that idea. They're scared.

                                The roads are getting more congested, interstates down to the secondaries.
                                Several years ago I was taking a class at a community college, and because one
                                stretch of road was badly designed (still is) nearly every day I drove it, there
                                was a traffic slowing accident on it. I could give myself twice the time I needed
                                to get to class and that would not guarantee that I arrive on time.

                                Now, as roads grow more crowded, it seems to me that we are going to soon reach a
                                point, that drivers cannot say with any certainty, "when I leave A, I will be at B
                                in 45 minutes." Like the Italian postal system, driving will not be considered a
                                reliable method to get something someplace on time.

                                Here mass transit will shine. Each bus will take so many drivers off the road,
                                easing the difficulty. Even if a bus can get places no more quickly than cars,
                                the riders will be able to turn their attention to other matters, watch that movie
                                on their laptops, write letters, talk on the phone, smirk at people in the
                                inevitable traffic jams. There could even be privately run, subscription luxury
                                bus services, that will not pick up every loony at bus stops.

                                Though it is worth everyone's while to promote car free areas, in metro areas of
                                the US, we can almost wait for the system to fail. It is heading that way right
                                now.

                                Martha
                              • J.H. Crawford
                                ... Well, only if you can entice people out of their cars. I don t think you can do this with buses except in parts of the world where standards of living are
                                Message 15 of 23 , Apr 24, 2000
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                                  Martha wrote:

                                  >Here mass transit will shine. Each bus will take so many drivers off the road,
                                  >easing the difficulty.

                                  Well, only if you can entice people out of their cars. I don't
                                  think you can do this with buses except in parts of the world
                                  where standards of living are much lower than in Europe and
                                  the USA. People who have a choice almost always prefer to drive
                                  rather than take a bus. It's different with LRV and metros--
                                  these are high-quality services and almost anybody will use
                                  them. Not so with bus service, which is clearly intended only
                                  for the poor. Europe does well in getting people who DO have
                                  a choice to take rail-based public transport.

                                  >Even if a bus can get places no more quickly than cars,
                                  >the riders will be able to turn their attention to other matters, watch that movie
                                  >on their laptops, write letters, talk on the phone, smirk at people in the
                                  >inevitable traffic jams. There could even be privately run, subscription luxury
                                  >bus services, that will not pick up every loony at bus stops.

                                  This is the problem--we've built a society that includes more
                                  looneys than it used to, mainly because we have disenfranchised
                                  and marginalized some fairly large groups. That's coming back
                                  to haunt us. Deciding to unload all the mental patients into
                                  the community (read: inner city) also didn't help any. The idea
                                  was that these people would receive continuing mental health
                                  services after their release. The reality was, of course, different.
                                  Even so, there aren't so very many looneys on buses in any case.

                                  >Though it is worth everyone's while to promote car free areas, in metro areas of
                                  >the US, we can almost wait for the system to fail. It is heading that way right
                                  >now.

                                  Carfree cities will only work if the available public transport
                                  compares favorably with driving (in its current degraded state,
                                  it's not hard to improve on driving, with faster service and
                                  much lower costs).


                                  ###

                                  J.H. Crawford _Carfree Cities_
                                  postmaster@... http://www.carfree.com
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