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Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Urban Sprawl Makes Americans Fat, Study Finds

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  • 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 1 of 10 , Sep 2, 2003
      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 2 of 10 , Sep 2, 2003
        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 3 of 10 , Sep 2, 2003
          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 4 of 10 , Sep 2, 2003
            > 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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