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Re: Urban Sprawl Makes Americans Fat, Study Finds

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  • turpin
    ... Ah. Sorry. ... I still think it is the other way around. Until driving carries its own costs, we won t get other alternatives to a significant degree, we
    Message 1 of 10 , Sep 2, 2003
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      Richard Risemberg <rickrise@e...> wrote:
      > Reasonable points below, but you
      > overinterpreted me. ..

      Ah. Sorry.

      > Second, you cannot make driving
      > expensive and inconvenient without
      > first providing the alternative..

      I still think it is the other way
      around. Until driving carries its
      own costs, we won't get other
      alternatives to a significant degree,
      we won't know the right mix of other
      alternatives, and we won't be able to
      figure out the way from "here" to
      "there."

      Partly, I think this is an issue of
      planning vs. spontaneous development.
      Like Jacobs, I fall more on the side
      that the best cities are largely
      spontaneous. Imagine a city where
      food had long been provided free
      from municipal cafeterias, and because
      of this, there were few other choices
      available. How do you get from that to
      a situation where residents exercise a
      multitude of eating choices, from a
      plethora of large and small groceries,
      street vendors, restaurants, order-out
      services, etc.? The wrong answer is:
      let's first plan where to put new
      restaurants and groceries, and what
      kind of food they should serve. That's
      the hardest problem in the world. Most
      of those businesses fail, and you need
      thousands of entrepeneurs figuring that
      out, by trial and error. The right
      answer is: put the cafeterias on a pay
      basis that covers their costs, and watch
      what businesses are then able to develop
      on their own.

      That may not be the entire the answer
      for city transportation, for well-known
      reasons. But it can go a long way. It
      is, after all, how many street car
      systems evolved.

      We keep thinking of transportation as a
      problem the city or state must solve.
      Keep in mind that is exactly what brought
      about the current system of subsidized
      automobile transportation. If you want
      big change, more than anything, we need
      to make that subsidy visible, and fight
      to end it. Subsidizing other alternatives
      will not do as much. Waiting for other
      alternatives will take forever. Ending the
      current subsidy has to come first, or
      people will continue to drive "cheap."
    • Simon Baddeley
      In UK - I sense that after the widely acknowledged success of Ken Livingstone s congestion charge in London the direction now in one form or another is going
      Message 2 of 10 , Sep 2, 2003
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        In UK - I sense that after the widely acknowledged success of Ken
        Livingstone's congestion charge in London the direction now in one form or
        another is going to be rationing or demand management. This seems to suit
        the right and the left - for different reasons. The right like it because
        it's market oriented (and keeps the poor off space they can afford) and the
        left see it as "hypothecating" cash (instead of sending tax by the normal
        route straight back to the Treasury) to public transport (e.g better
        services for the less well off) and better urban fabric for walkers and
        cyclists.

        But I still have to have rebuttal letters ready for motorists who send
        poignant and even reasonable letters about the need for this that still
        include sentences like "but the poor old motorist is going to end up paying
        far more than his fair share for all this". I have to run through all those
        collateral costs/subsidies - legal, insurance, sprawl infrastructure,
        health, cheap fuel and... and....

        Regards

        S

        Simon Baddeley
        Birmingham B20 3TG
        UK

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "turpin" <turpin@...>
        To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2003 5:21 PM
        Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: Urban Sprawl Makes Americans Fat, Study Finds


        > Richard Risemberg <rickrise@e...> wrote:
        > > Reasonable points below, but you
        > > overinterpreted me. ..
        >
        > Ah. Sorry.
        >
        > > Second, you cannot make driving
        > > expensive and inconvenient without
        > > first providing the alternative..
        >
        > I still think it is the other way
        > around. Until driving carries its
        > own costs, we won't get other
        > alternatives to a significant degree,
        > we won't know the right mix of other
        > alternatives, and we won't be able to
        > figure out the way from "here" to
        > "there."
        >
        >
      • Richard Risemberg
        Your idea would be fine, but the trolley systems evolved in an environment less skewed by subsidy. In fact, I believe there was little for the trolley systems
        Message 3 of 10 , Sep 2, 2003
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          Your idea would be fine, but the trolley systems evolved in an environment less skewed by subsidy. In fact, I believe there was little for the trolley systems at the time, though they were permitted to lay tracks on public streets. Most NYC subways were also originally private entities, though they run better an dcheaper now as public works.

          But today, it will be much easier to build a subway as a public-works project than to de-subsidize auto use. Even the hard right wing privateers and the libertarians wouldn't support fair-pricing car use. But you can get subway and light rail built: after all, in spite of a hard ecomnomy, it has already been happening.

          And once the alternative is in place, then you can justify depaving to a limited extent. And once a few projects--ten blocks though they may be (I foresee the Santa Monica line being much longer, but my project for West Holllywood would encompass about ten blocks, as you noted), you have samples to help you pitch it to less-obvious areas where the American lack of imagination and endemic meanness toward the public realm would engender more resistance.

          Richard
          -------Original Message-------
          From: turpin <turpin@...>
          Sent: 09/02/03 09:21 AM
          To: carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: Urban Sprawl Makes Americans Fat, Study Finds

          >
          > Richard Risemberg <rickrise@e...> wrote:
          > Reasonable points below, but you
          > overinterpreted me. ..

          Ah. Sorry.

          > Second, you cannot make driving
          > expensive and inconvenient without
          > first providing the alternative..

          I still think it is the other way
          around. Until driving carries its
          own costs, we won't get other
          alternatives to a significant degree,
          we won't know the right mix of other
          alternatives, and we won't be able to
          figure out the way from "here" to
          "there."

          Partly, I think this is an issue of
          planning vs. spontaneous development.
          Like Jacobs, I fall more on the side
          that the best cities are largely
          spontaneous. Imagine a city where
          food had long been provided free
          from municipal cafeterias
        • turpin
          ... Exactly! ... Yep. That s been going on for decades. But in how many cities has this changed development patterns? Where has sprawl declined? In what states
          Message 4 of 10 , Sep 2, 2003
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            Richard Risemberg <rickrise@e...> wrote:
            > Your idea would be fine, but the trolley
            > systems evolved in an environment less
            > skewed by subsidy.

            Exactly!

            > But today, it will be much easier to build
            > a subway as a public-works project than to
            > de-subsidize auto use. .. And once the
            > alternative is in place, then you can
            > justify depaving to a limited extent.

            Yep. That's been going on for decades. But
            in how many cities has this changed
            development patterns? Where has sprawl
            declined? In what states is driving now less
            subsidized?

            More of the same policies will bring more of
            the same results. As long as you're fighting
            over the same public transportation dollar,
            roads will mostly win. Yes, some other
            projects will be built. But you won't see
            less sprawl, because politicians are compelled
            to build roads to suit demand, and developers,
            knowing this, will always build further out,
            generating demand.

            > Even the hard right wing privateers and the
            > libertarians wouldn't support fair-pricing
            > car use. ..

            Au contraire. Privatized roads and elimination
            of tax support for public transportation have
            long been part of libertarian politics. Now
            whether they really mean what they say .. who
            knows? But massive transportation subsidy is
            NOT consistent with libertarian philosophy,
            however much you slice it and distort it.

            I'm always boggled that this is the one subsidy
            no one wants to discuss as a subsidy. The right
            doesn't want to discuss it, because they favor
            it, and they don't like to be seen in favor of
            subsidies. The left doesn't want to discuss it,
            because they're against it, and they're in favor
            of transportation subsidies. The right is happy
            as long as more roads are built. The left is
            happy as long as some other transportation
            projects are thrown their way. And nothing much
            changes. Isn't it time to call a spade a spade?
          • Michael A Ohene
            ... It reminds me of going to New orleans this weekend and hearing a man come into a gas station and tell the clerk Im gonna kill your muthaf***** a@@ , They
            Message 5 of 10 , Sep 2, 2003
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              > Partly, I think this is an issue of
              > planning vs. spontaneous development.
              > Like Jacobs, I fall more on the side
              > that the best cities are largely
              > spontaneous. Imagine a city where
              > food had long been provided free
              > from municipal cafeterias, and because
              > of this, there were few other choices
              > available. The wrong answer is:
              > let's first plan where to put new
              > restaurants and groceries, and what
              > kind of food they should serve.

              It reminds me of going to New orleans this weekend and hearing a man
              come into a gas station and tell the clerk "Im gonna kill your
              muthaf***** a@@", They going down MLK to St.Charles less than a mile
              away to an estate sale near Tulane University where there were stools
              selling for close to $1000.
              I couldnt imagine anyone coming up with the city plan for New Orleans
              from scratch. Noone would ever encourage music (jazz)which was
              associated with drug use and thuggery, poor people living in the
              proximity of well-to-do people, noone would ever promote Mardi Gras's
              nudity and public intoxication, but its what gave New Orleans it
              style.
              Also much of the food in South Louisiana never existed until people
              created it. If you head down Highway 61 between Baton Rouge and New
              Orleans you will still find people fishing on the bayou so they can
              cook their own food from scratch eventhough there are Mcdonalds and
              the like.

              When do people draw the line of when they can no longer tolerate
              developments in society?

              I ask this because of gentrification and the attempt to plan entire
              cities (master plans) based on what one group likes while eliminating
              everything we dont like (.ie this 3 parts arts, 2 parts mass transit,
              4 parts organic food, 1 part parks and recreation formula). My point
              is that even "negative" things can bring about positive change.
              Maybe people are giving things too much thought.

              Michael
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