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Re: Living with Less Proposal

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  • mtneuman@juno.com
    ... Sounds complicated. Why not just simply cancel all state (Wisconsin) funding of car-related programs (roads, etc), and lower taxes accordingly? The US
    Message 1 of 27 , Dec 10, 2003
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      Cris replied:
      >
      Sounds complicated. Why not just simply cancel all state (Wisconsin)
      funding of car-related programs (roads, etc), and lower taxes accordingly? The US Feds could transfer management and funding of the freeways to the States, and lower income taxes accordingly. Let the car users pay for their roads.
      >

      Because that would not give anyone any incentives to drive less. In fact, with the reduction of the state's gasoline tax per gallon of fuel, drivers would be encouraged to drive even more because it would cost them less money to do that.

      The whole idea is do the opposite. The give them a positive incentive to drive less, so that they not only keep track of the number of miles they drive every week/month/year, but they have the additional motive of earning extra money to keep their driving mileage down.

      If the financial rewards they can gain for holding their annual vehicle miles traveled down below certain pre-set mileage thresholds (on the total of all the vehicles they have registered to them) is great enough, they may decide to car pool with others more, take transit, walk when they can, travel by bicycle, ... much more often. Perhaps they might even consider moving closer to where they work or shop, if those are the primary reasons for their driving a car.

      In turn, people who subscribe to this program would demand more neighborhood stores and business, so that they don't have to travel to more distant big box stores (like Walmart) so much. It would also give a push to cities and other areas to invest more money into sidewalks, bicycle lanes, transit, light rail and other transportation mode less reliant on fossil fuel burning. It wouldn't happen over time, and there would be many special interest groups connected with the automobile industry who would fight tooth and nail not to have this kind of program instituted. It wouldn't be easy. But just saying the concept is "too complicated to implement" is not a fair reason in my book to shit-can the whole idea, which is what the pro-highway governor at the time (Tommy G. Thomson - now federal Health and Social Service Secretary) did (to my dismay).

      Mike



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    • Chris Loyd
      ... with the reduction of the state s gasoline tax per gallon of fuel, drivers would be encouraged to drive even more because it would cost them less money to
      Message 2 of 27 , Dec 12, 2003
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        > Because that would not give anyone any incentives to drive less. In fact,
        with the reduction of the state's gasoline tax per gallon of fuel, drivers
        would be >encouraged to drive even more because it would cost them less
        money to do that.

        Drive more? I'm talking about ending all road subsidies. Freeway expansion
        ends now. Road repaving ends now. Road widening ends now. With no new
        roads leading out of town, and lower taxes to boot, I would think that
        cities would benefit (notwithstanding crappy roads).

        > The whole idea is do the opposite. The give them a positive incentive to
        drive less, so that they not only keep track of the number of miles they
        drive every >week/month/year, but they have the additional motive of earning
        extra money to keep their driving mileage down.

        It will be a great experiment, though it still strikes me as subsidizing
        people who drive less. Plus, if 13,500 miles per year is the limit, almost
        nobody who drives more than that will sign up for the program.

        > If the financial rewards they can gain for holding their annual vehicle
        miles traveled down below certain pre-set mileage thresholds (on the total
        of all the vehicles >they have registered to them) is great enough, they may
        decide to car pool with others more, take transit, walk when they can,
        travel by bicycle, ... much more >often. Perhaps they might even consider
        moving closer to where they work or shop, if those are the primary reasons
        for their driving a car.

        They also might consider moving to close to work and shopping if all new
        workplaces and shopping areas being built are where the business interests'
        are wealthy enough to pave their own streets.

        > In turn, people who subscribe to this program would demand more
        neighborhood stores and business, so that they don't have to travel to more
        distant big box >stores (like Walmart) so much. It would also give a push
        to cities and other areas to invest more money into sidewalks, bicycle
        lanes, transit, light rail and other >transportation mode less reliant on
        fossil fuel burning. It wouldn't happen over time, and there would be many
        special interest groups connected with the >automobile industry who would
        fight tooth and nail not to have this kind of program instituted. It
        wouldn't be easy. But just saying the concept is "too >complicated to
        implement" is not a fair reason in my book to shit-can the whole idea, which
        is what the pro-highway governor at the time (Tommy G. Thomson - >now
        federal Health and Social Service Secretary) did (to my dismay).

        Wal-Mart couldn't do business if there were no paved roads leading to the
        former pasture. They would have to either pay for all their own road
        surfacing, indefinitely, or try to squeeze into a suddenly more valuable
        town center.

        I'm saying that the concept is too complicated because it will next to
        impossible to get such a plan through a state legislature. That's not even
        getting into people who just live far away from everything, who would oppose
        the plan on their own economic (short-term) self-interest. If you can run
        for state legislature, and get yourself elected, and pass this plan, more
        power to you.
      • Robert J. Matter
        ... Wal*Mart has pretty much conquered the suburban landscape and is now building stores in the inner cities. We ve had a Wal*Mart in Hammond, Indiana for a
        Message 3 of 27 , Dec 12, 2003
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          mtneuman@... wrote:
          >
          > In turn, people who subscribe to this program would demand more neighborhood stores and business, so that they don't have to travel to more distant big box stores (like Walmart) so much.

          Wal*Mart has pretty much conquered the suburban landscape and is now building stores in the inner cities.
          We've had a Wal*Mart in Hammond, Indiana for a couple years now. It's always busy. Prior to the Hammond Wal*Mart residents of the old rust belt cities lining Lake Michigan (Hammond, Whiting, East Chicago, Gary) had to drive 7 miles further south to suburban Schererville to shop at Wal*Mart. The Hammond Wal*Mart is served by the Hammond and East Chicago bus systems (I don't know about Gary's). Some Hammond residents who live nearby walk and cycle there.

          There are now ten Wal*Marts on the periphery of Chicago http://tinyurl.com/yzl2. I imagine it's only a matter of time before they expand into Chicago itself. They are probably waiting for favorable tax treatment or some other handout to defer the higher cost of doing business in Chicago. I believe they got something like that in Hammond.

          -Bob Matter
          -----------
          "People are looking for places where they're not constantly being
          confronted with cars. It's just like non-smokers seeking smoke-
          free space." --Franziska Eichstaedt-Bohlig, German Green Party
        • Chris Loyd
          ... http://tinyurl.com/yzl2. I imagine it s only a matter of time before they expand into Chicago itself. They are probably waiting for favorable tax
          Message 4 of 27 , Dec 14, 2003
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            > There are now ten Wal*Marts on the periphery of Chicago
            http://tinyurl.com/yzl2. I imagine it's only a matter of time before they
            expand into Chicago itself. >They are probably waiting for favorable tax
            treatment or some other handout to defer the higher cost of doing business
            in Chicago. I believe they got something >like that in Hammond.

            If favorable tax treatments are needed to bring business into town, then
            maybe the town's regular taxes are too high in the first place. Conversely,
            maybe Wal-Mart's profit structure is too weak to withstand the regular
            taxes.

            Getting outside the resource-distribution issue, how feasible is it for a
            Wal-Mart-like store to be in a carfree city? Wal-Mart is a huge store,
            200,000 sq ft (http://www.specialtyretail.net/issues/feb03/sm_comp.htm),
            which is about 4.59 acres. That's 4% of a typical prototype carfree
            district, given over to just one store. Granted, there would be no parking,
            but it would certainly be a major retail presence (imagine the crowds at
            Christmas...oy vay). This would make it prime for being located right on
            the Central Boulevard, near the transit halt.

            The strategic issue becomes that of freight. If this store is open 24
            hours, there is generally no "down-time", at least the ones that I go to.
            It would be an interesting test to see if the freight-rail system could
            handle the demand for all that stuff without resorting to trucks. With
            stores like Wal-Mart, margins need to be low. The freight system had better
            be more cost-effective than hauling goods in semis overnight. Maybe, if the
            store was located right in front of the halt, it could have a direct linkage
            from the freight tunnel.

            There are other issues to consider:
            the huge ratio of square footage per worker at this store -- I don't have
            numbers, but their stores seem devoid of a lot of cashiers, help staff,
            stockers, etc.
            the economic footprint of the store -- stores of these size would typically
            serve populations greater than 12,000...so would they be in downtown, where
            they have access to the greatest amount of customers, or out in the utility
            areas, where land is presumably cheaper.
          • Andrew Dawson
            ... I must confess, I rarely go to Wal-Mart. To me that company has a kind of Evil Empire feeling to it. They are also the biggest threat to Canadian
            Message 5 of 27 , Dec 14, 2003
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              Chris Loyd wrote:
              > > There are now ten Wal*Marts on the periphery of Chicago
              >http://tinyurl.com/yzl2. I imagine it's only a matter of time before they
              >expand into Chicago itself. >They are probably waiting for favorable tax
              >treatment or some other handout to defer the higher cost of doing business
              >in Chicago. I believe they got something >like that in Hammond.

              I must confess, I rarely go to Wal-Mart. To me that company has a kind of
              "Evil Empire" feeling to it.
              They are also the biggest threat to Canadian retailing right now, in that
              they're not like US chains of the past where they would be willing to invest
              in the country, only extract from it.

              >If favorable tax treatments are needed to bring business into town, then
              >maybe the town's regular taxes are too high in the first place.
              >Conversely,
              >maybe Wal-Mart's profit structure is too weak to withstand the regular
              >taxes.

              It's probably a mixture of both, but Wal-Mart's profit margins are razor
              thin. They make their money through sheer volume. (Wal-Mart bought their way
              into Canada by purchasing what was left of
              Woolco, hey I still remember Woolco's TV ad's with Allen Thick. Also K-Mart
              in Canada is gone, what was left of it is now Zeller's)

              >Getting outside the resource-distribution issue, how feasible is it for a
              >Wal-Mart-like store to be in a carfree city? Wal-Mart is a huge store,
              >200,000 sq ft (http://www.specialtyretail.net/issues/feb03/sm_comp.htm),
              >which is about 4.59 acres.

              Take that floor space and stack it, unless it's under ground.

              >That's 4% of a typical prototype carfree
              >district, given over to just one store. Granted, there would be no
              >parking,
              >but it would certainly be a major retail presence (imagine the crowds at
              >Christmas...oy vay). This would make it prime for being located right on
              >the Central Boulevard, near the transit halt.

              In Montreal there is a Wal-Mart near the Namur metro station on the other
              side of autoroute-15.
              http://www.stm.info/English/metro/images/c52.gif
              A better example of a big box that works with transit would be the Zeller's
              (which use to be a Miracle Mart) in Alexis-Nihon Plaza on the same level as
              the Atwater metro station.
              http://www.stm.info/English/metro/images/c35.gif

              >The strategic issue becomes that of freight. If this store is open 24
              >hours, there is generally no "down-time", at least the ones that I go to.
              >It would be an interesting test to see if the freight-rail system could
              >handle the demand for all that stuff without resorting to trucks. With
              >stores like Wal-Mart, margins need to be low. The freight system had
              >better
              >be more cost-effective than hauling goods in semis overnight. Maybe, if
              >the
              >store was located right in front of the halt, it could have a direct
              >linkage
              >from the freight tunnel.

              The turn around time of that truck/trailer/container(boxcar) is something
              else, it depends on what's in it, the nature of the retailer and where else
              it's destin to. The logistics can get complicated or just plain weird.

              >There are other issues to consider:
              >the huge ratio of square footage per worker at this store -- I don't have
              >numbers, but their stores seem devoid of a lot of cashiers, help staff,
              >stockers, etc.
              >the economic footprint of the store -- stores of these size would typically
              >serve populations greater than 12,000...so would they be in downtown, where
              >they have access to the greatest amount of customers, or out in the utility
              >areas, where land is presumably cheaper.

              For this model, being centrally located would probably be best for customers
              access.

              Till later, Andrew Dawson

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            • Robert J. Matter
              Next Sunday, December 21, 10:30 a.m. Central Time the PBS news program Now is going to air a segment on Wal*Mart. They claim Wal*Mart is so successful
              Message 6 of 27 , Dec 15, 2003
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                Next Sunday, December 21, 10:30 a.m. Central Time the PBS news program "Now" is going to air a segment on Wal*Mart. They claim Wal*Mart is so successful because instead of paying its workers a living wage and providing health insurance, the workers rely on government subsidies (food stamps, Medicaid, etc.) for survival.

                -Bob Matter
                -----------
                "There have been three totalitarian forces in our lifetime: the
                totalitarianism of Fascism, of Communism, and now of Capitalism."
                --Jose Bove, farmer, Montredon, France
              • J.H. Crawford
                ... If they re going to use trucks, then they have to be in the utility areas. ... The freight system, if fuly developed, would probably have enough capacity
                Message 7 of 27 , Dec 15, 2003
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                  Chris Loyd said:

                  >Getting outside the resource-distribution issue, how feasible is it for a
                  >Wal-Mart-like store to be in a carfree city? Wal-Mart is a huge store,
                  >200,000 sq ft (http://www.specialtyretail.net/issues/feb03/sm_comp.htm),
                  >which is about 4.59 acres. That's 4% of a typical prototype carfree
                  >district, given over to just one store. Granted, there would be no parking,
                  >but it would certainly be a major retail presence (imagine the crowds at
                  >Christmas...oy vay). This would make it prime for being located right on
                  >the Central Boulevard, near the transit halt.

                  If they're going to use trucks, then they have to be in the utility
                  areas.

                  >The strategic issue becomes that of freight. If this store is open 24
                  >hours, there is generally no "down-time", at least the ones that I go to.
                  >It would be an interesting test to see if the freight-rail system could
                  >handle the demand for all that stuff without resorting to trucks.

                  The freight system, if fuly developed, would probably have enough capacity
                  to serve every single Wal-Mart store in the world. The capacity of the
                  system is incredibly high, ten million container movements a year.
                  (By comparison, Singapore, the world's busiest container port, handles
                  about 15,000,000 containers a year.)

                  As I expect that it would actually be developed, the capacity would be
                  a lot less, but this has only to do with terminal capacity; the line itself
                  has full capacity when built. Increasing terminal capacity is simply a matter
                  of adding more loading points, so that an entire metro-freight train can
                  be unloaded at one utility area and loaded at the next, each in a single
                  operation lasting about one minute.

                  >With
                  >stores like Wal-Mart, margins need to be low. The freight system had better
                  >be more cost-effective than hauling goods in semis overnight.

                  Since it's driverless and runs on energy-efficient rails, it ought
                  to beat almost any other mode.

                  >Maybe, if the
                  >store was located right in front of the halt, it could have a direct linkage
                  >from the freight tunnel.

                  Remember that the entire length of the metro-freight system has access points
                  on both sides of the track. Any business located on metro-freight has direct
                  access, and large businesses can have multiple loading docks, as long as
                  they have enough frontage on the track.

                  >the economic footprint of the store -- stores of these size would typically
                  >serve populations greater than 12,000...so would they be in downtown, where
                  >they have access to the greatest amount of customers, or out in the utility
                  >areas, where land is presumably cheaper.

                  If the Wal-Mart model remains viable, they would have to locate in
                  utility areas, I think; they couldn't afford land costs in the center.

                  Regards,

                  Joel


                  -- ### --

                  J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                  mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
                • Jym Dyer
                  ... =v= Dumping costs on the taxpayers seems to be a growing trend. Wal*Mart capitalizes on the heavy subsidies of gas and highway construction, usually
                  Message 8 of 27 , Dec 15, 2003
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                    > They claim Wal*Mart is so successful because instead of paying
                    > its workers a living wage and providing health insurance, the
                    > workers rely on government subsidies (food stamps, Medicaid,
                    > etc.) for survival.

                    =v= Dumping costs on the taxpayers seems to be a growing trend.
                    Wal*Mart capitalizes on the heavy subsidies of gas and highway
                    construction, usually setting up near an offramp or even using
                    their leverage to have offramps built or altered for them.
                    These tendencies have garnered them the moniker "Sprawl*Mart."

                    =v= There's a battle brewing in Brooklyn over IKEA, and I'm
                    learning about *their* routine strategy of transferring costs
                    to the taxpayers. Their plan is to have Brooklyn extend some
                    offramps directly through some low-income housing projects,
                    which they've also visited to pass out job applications. A
                    very cynical move, as they make no guarantees about who they're
                    going to hire, but they're quite willing to guarantee more car
                    pollution and other dangers (at public expense).
                    <_Jym_>
                  • Bijan Soleymani
                    ... The problem in this case is that if everyone lived near smaller stores and could get whatever they need whenever they need conveniently, they wouldn t need
                    Message 9 of 27 , Dec 15, 2003
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                      "Chris Loyd" <tybalt@...> writes:

                      > Getting outside the resource-distribution issue, how feasible is it for a
                      > Wal-Mart-like store to be in a carfree city? Wal-Mart is a huge store,

                      The problem in this case is that if everyone lived near smaller stores
                      and could get whatever they need whenever they need conveniently, they
                      wouldn't need to buy three shopping baskets full of stuff from
                      walmart. Proximity is very important, even more so in a carfree
                      city. As you said a walmart would have to serve 200,000. That same
                      number of people could support many smaller stores, which could be
                      spread out closer to where people live.

                      Bijan
                      --
                      Bijan Soleymani <bijan@...>
                      http://www.crasseux.com
                    • Chris Loyd
                      ... invest ... I must confess that I do go to Wal-Mart, because for the most basic of basic stuff, their prices cannot be beat. Anything much beyond glue,
                      Message 10 of 27 , Dec 15, 2003
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                        > I must confess, I rarely go to Wal-Mart. To me that company has a kind of
                        > "Evil Empire" feeling to it.
                        > They are also the biggest threat to Canadian retailing right now, in that
                        > they're not like US chains of the past where they would be willing to
                        invest
                        > in the country, only extract from it.

                        I must confess that I do go to Wal-Mart, because for the most basic of basic
                        stuff, their prices cannot be beat. Anything much beyond glue, mainstream
                        DVDs, or CD-Rs, I go to specialty stores catering a given subculture (of
                        art, architecture, books, anime, computer stuff...). Wal-Mart doesn't feel
                        like the Evil Empire, more like very crowded with bad service and
                        serves...people I wouldn't be friends with. Now, Starbucks and
                        Borders...they are evil. Don't know why...

                        > It's probably a mixture of both, but Wal-Mart's profit margins are razor
                        > thin. They make their money through sheer volume. (Wal-Mart bought their
                        way
                        > into Canada by purchasing what was left of
                        > Woolco, hey I still remember Woolco's TV ad's with Allen Thick. Also
                        K-Mart
                        > in Canada is gone, what was left of it is now Zeller's)

                        Stores like Wal-Mart may disappear altogether if the shopping culture shifts
                        to less volume. Time will tell.

                        In the meantime, I want to be certain: are stores like Wal-Mart disparaged
                        because they are big, hire few people at really low wages, and sell volumes
                        of cheap junk? Or is it just Wal-Mart, and stores like K-Mart, Target,
                        Sears, Foleys are OK? Because, I really don't see how very large stores are
                        at odds with the carfree model. You talk about Woolco's, K-Marts, and
                        Zeller's, which I presume are also big stores which sell things at
                        relatively low prices.

                        > >Getting outside the resource-distribution issue, how feasible is it for a
                        > >Wal-Mart-like store to be in a carfree city? Wal-Mart is a huge store,
                        > >200,000 sq ft (http://www.specialtyretail.net/issues/feb03/sm_comp.htm),
                        > >which is about 4.59 acres.
                        >
                        > Take that floor space and stack it, unless it's under ground.

                        Like conventional department stores? Using the four-story model, the store
                        would cover only about 1.16 acres. It would still consume its own block.

                        > In Montreal there is a Wal-Mart near the Namur metro station on the other
                        > side of autoroute-15.
                        > http://www.stm.info/English/metro/images/c52.gif
                        > A better example of a big box that works with transit would be the
                        Zeller's
                        > (which use to be a Miracle Mart) in Alexis-Nihon Plaza on the same level
                        as
                        > the Atwater metro station.
                        > http://www.stm.info/English/metro/images/c35.gif

                        So, there are examples of very large stores working with transit? This can
                        be a very strong selling point to skeptical lower-middle-class suburbanites.
                        "You save money by not having a car, AND you can WALK to the Wal-Mart (or
                        ride a VERY FAST subway/trolley/whatever)". I applied to an apartment based
                        partially because I could walk to a Kroger grocery store.

                        > The turn around time of that truck/trailer/container(boxcar) is something
                        > else, it depends on what's in it, the nature of the retailer and where
                        else
                        > it's destin to. The logistics can get complicated or just plain weird.

                        The logistics would be the store's problem. In a later e-mail, Joel says
                        that the freight system would be very cost-effective, so the store couldn't
                        really gripe about freight costs within the city.

                        > For this model, being centrally located would probably be best for
                        customers
                        > access.

                        If and only if Wal-Mart could afford market-rate downtown rents. In the
                        carfree model, downtown would be very prime, commercial real estate, maybe
                        like downtown Houston. Lots of offices, and not much in the way of
                        shopping, but where there is shopping, it's posh. Wal-Mart would be
                        suicidal to locate a store in downtown Houston; it couldn't afford it and
                        still keep their prices below average. As Joel says later, they might
                        locate themselves in the cheap heavy industrial/garage/utility districts,
                        out in the periphery. Especially, if they still want trucks.
                      • Chris Loyd
                        ... Is the key cost-saving being that it is driverless? Has there been much advancement in this aspect since Carfree Cities was published?
                        Message 11 of 27 , Dec 16, 2003
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                          > Since it's driverless and runs on energy-efficient rails, it ought
                          > to beat almost any other mode.

                          Is the key cost-saving being that it is driverless? Has there been much
                          advancement in this aspect since Carfree Cities was published?
                        • J.H. Crawford
                          ... At that time I said that metros had finally been made to operate in fully-automatic mode. Further improvements would not seem to be possible. Regards, --
                          Message 12 of 27 , Dec 16, 2003
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                            >> Since it's driverless and runs on energy-efficient rails, it ought
                            >> to beat almost any other mode.
                            >
                            >Is the key cost-saving being that it is driverless? Has there been much
                            >advancement in this aspect since Carfree Cities was published?

                            At that time I said that metros had finally been made to operate in
                            fully-automatic mode. Further improvements would not seem to be
                            possible.

                            Regards,


                            -- ### --

                            J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                            mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
                          • Karen Sandmess
                            On Tuesday, Dec 16, 2003, at 14:34 US/Central, ... In fact, there are. The transit needs in the suburbs of Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Nagoya (and probably other
                            Message 13 of 27 , Dec 16, 2003
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                              On Tuesday, Dec 16, 2003, at 14:34 US/Central,
                              carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com wrote:

                              > So, there are examples of very large stores working with transit?
                              > This can
                              > be a very strong selling point to skeptical lower-middle-class
                              > suburbanites.
                              > "You save money by not having a car, AND you can WALK to the Wal-Mart
                              > (or
                              > ride a VERY FAST subway/trolley/whatever)". I applied to an apartment
                              > based
                              > partially because I could walk to a Kroger grocery store

                              In fact, there are. The transit needs in the suburbs of Tokyo, Osaka,
                              Kyoto, and Nagoya (and probably other Japanese cities as well) are met
                              partly by private rail lines. These lines were constructed by
                              conglomerates that owned both department stores and suburban real
                              estate. They built rail lines that terminated in the basements of their
                              stores and sold land along the rail routes.

                              Living in the western suburbs of Tokyo, one might ride to the Shinjuku
                              area (one of the main commercial hubs) on an Odakyu, Seibu, or Keio
                              train that terminates in one of the department stores of the same name.
                              Pedestrian tunnels then connect these terminals to the JR
                              (quasi-governmental) surface train station or a Tokyo metropolitan
                              subway station, where one can board another train for the ride to the
                              center of the city or another commercial district.

                              The basements of Japanese department stores are traditionally devoted
                              to gourmet groceries, specialty snack bars, and prepared take-out food.
                              Many a harried commuter stops off for a sushi snack or a fruit smoothie
                              or picks up a few skewers of yakitori to heat up in the microwave at
                              home. He or she may need a new hat or a present for someone and venture
                              upstairs for a little shopping.

                              Closer to home, all department stores used to be located in downtown
                              areas and accessible largely by transit. In Portland, there is
                              currently a light rail line that runs within one block of Lloyd Center,
                              an urban shopping mall containing all the usual mall stores. A number
                              of Fred Meyer (a Pacific Northwest chain of big box stores) outlets are
                              located near transit lines. I used to live two blocks from a Fred
                              Meyer, and the bus stop outside almost always had people waiting with
                              bags of purchases.

                              Even in Minneapolis, with its far inferior transit system, I see people
                              on the bus with bags of groceries. These are most likely the poor, but
                              still, shopping by transit is not impossible. Within the past couple of
                              years, Target has opened a full-sized store in the heart of downtown
                              Minneapolis, and it seems to be doing fine with no parking facilities
                              beyond those that already exist. The opening of Target coincides with
                              an explosion in downtown housing construction.

                              It will be interesting to see what happens with the Twin Cities' first
                              light rail line, which will terminate at the (ugh!) Mall of America.

                              In transit,
                              Karen Sandness
                            • Andrew Dawson
                              ... I hardly buy those things, of the things I do buy I can pick up at Loblaws or Provigo. ... With Wal-Mart, I start to think of the theme music for Darth
                              Message 14 of 27 , Dec 16, 2003
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                                Chris Loyd wrote:
                                > > I must confess, I rarely go to Wal-Mart. To me that company has a kind
                                >of
                                > > "Evil Empire" feeling to it.
                                > > They are also the biggest threat to Canadian retailing right now, in
                                >that
                                > > they're not like US chains of the past where they would be willing to
                                >invest
                                > > in the country, only extract from it.
                                >
                                >I must confess that I do go to Wal-Mart, because for the most basic of
                                >basic
                                >stuff, their prices cannot be beat. Anything much beyond glue, mainstream
                                >DVDs, or CD-Rs, I go to specialty stores catering a given subculture

                                I hardly buy those things, of the things I do buy I can pick up at Loblaws
                                or Provigo.

                                >(of art, architecture, books, anime, computer stuff...). Wal-Mart doesn't
                                >feel
                                >like the Evil Empire,

                                With Wal-Mart, I start to think of the theme music for Darth Vader.

                                >more like very crowded with bad service and serves...people I wouldn't be
                                >friends with.

                                They're probably just fed up and feel like going postal.

                                >Now, Starbucks and Borders...they are evil. Don't know why...

                                Starbucks is much bigger in the US than Canada, also I'm more of a tea
                                drinker, so I rarely go to a cafe of any kind. As for Borders there is one
                                in Burlington Vermont on Church street (which is a nice car free
                                environment) that I'll go to a few times a year, though for books I mostly
                                go to Indigo.

                                > > It's probably a mixture of both, but Wal-Mart's profit margins are razor
                                > > thin. They make their money through sheer volume. (Wal-Mart bought their
                                >way
                                > > into Canada by purchasing what was left of
                                > > Woolco, hey I still remember Woolco's TV ad's with Allen Thick. Also
                                >K-Mart
                                > > in Canada is gone, what was left of it is now Zeller's)
                                >
                                >Stores like Wal-Mart may disappear altogether if the shopping culture
                                >shifts
                                >to less volume. Time will tell.

                                That could be?

                                >In the meantime, I want to be certain: are stores like Wal-Mart disparaged
                                >because they are big, hire few people at really low wages, and sell volumes
                                >of cheap junk? Or is it just Wal-Mart, and stores like K-Mart, Target,
                                >Sears, Foleys are OK? Because, I really don't see how very large stores
                                >are
                                >at odds with the carfree model. You talk about Woolco's, K-Marts, and
                                >Zeller's, which I presume are also big stores which sell things at
                                >relatively low prices.

                                I guess they(big boxes) don't really have to be at odds as much, they just
                                don't really put in an effort to be better to the general public.

                                > > >Getting outside the resource-distribution issue, how feasible is it for
                                >a
                                > > >Wal-Mart-like store to be in a carfree city? Wal-Mart is a huge store,
                                > > >200,000 sq ft
                                >(http://www.specialtyretail.net/issues/feb03/sm_comp.htm),
                                > > >which is about 4.59 acres.
                                > >
                                > > Take that floor space and stack it, unless it's under ground.
                                >
                                >Like conventional department stores? Using the four-story model, the store
                                >would cover only about 1.16 acres. It would still consume its own block.
                                >
                                > > In Montreal there is a Wal-Mart near the Namur metro station on the
                                >other
                                > > side of autoroute-15.
                                > > http://www.stm.info/English/metro/images/c52.gif
                                > > A better example of a big box that works with transit would be the
                                >Zeller's
                                > > (which use to be a Miracle Mart) in Alexis-Nihon Plaza on the same level
                                >as
                                > > the Atwater metro station.
                                > > http://www.stm.info/English/metro/images/c35.gif
                                >
                                >So, there are examples of very large stores working with transit? This can
                                >be a very strong selling point to skeptical lower-middle-class
                                >suburbanites.
                                >"You save money by not having a car, AND you can WALK to the Wal-Mart (or
                                >ride a VERY FAST subway/trolley/whatever)". I applied to an apartment based
                                >partially because I could walk to a Kroger grocery store.

                                The Zeller's in question, yes. The Wal-Mart in question, not really.

                                > > The turn around time of that truck/trailer/container(boxcar) is
                                >something
                                > > else, it depends on what's in it, the nature of the retailer and where
                                >else
                                > > it's destin to. The logistics can get complicated or just plain weird.
                                >
                                >The logistics would be the store's problem. In a later e-mail, Joel says
                                >that the freight system would be very cost-effective, so the store couldn't
                                >really gripe about freight costs within the city.
                                >
                                > > For this model, being centrally located would probably be best for
                                >customers
                                > > access.
                                >
                                >If and only if Wal-Mart could afford market-rate downtown rents. In the
                                >carfree model, downtown would be very prime, commercial real estate, maybe
                                >like downtown Houston. Lots of offices, and not much in the way of
                                >shopping, but where there is shopping, it's posh. Wal-Mart would be
                                >suicidal to locate a store in downtown Houston; it couldn't afford it and
                                >still keep their prices below average. As Joel says later, they might
                                >locate themselves in the cheap heavy industrial/garage/utility districts,
                                >out in the periphery. Especially, if they still want trucks.

                                I don't know?

                                Till later, Andrew DAwson

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                              • Chris Loyd
                                ... I didn t say Wal-Mart would have to serve 200,000 people, I cited that as typical square footage of a store. I did look up all Wal-Marts within 50 miles
                                Message 15 of 27 , Dec 17, 2003
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                                  > As you said a walmart would have to serve 200,000. That same
                                  > number of people could support many smaller stores, which could be
                                  > spread out closer to where people live.

                                  I didn't say Wal-Mart would have to serve 200,000 people, I cited that as
                                  "typical" square footage of a store.

                                  I did look up all Wal-Marts within 50 miles of Houston, and found...9. Nine
                                  serving a metro population of 5,000,000. That's 556,000 per store. Then
                                  there's San Antonio, metro population of maybe 1.3 million, having 10
                                  Wal-Marts. One for every 130,000 people, and one more being built.

                                  This is starting to get off-topic, but the point is, for a carfree city of
                                  1,000,000, they will probably have higher average incomes than San Antonio
                                  (don't ask how poor this city is) and maybe have fewer very wealthy people
                                  than Houston (don't ask). Wal-Mart may have only a store per 333,000
                                  people, if they can work out moving volumes of stuff into the carfree area.
                                  That's of course, lack of motorization notwithstanding, Wal-Mart's business
                                  model still works. If the high-volume selling method stops working, they
                                  may just end up being a low-volume high-stock warehouse store, out in the
                                  utility area.
                                • Mike Neuman
                                  ... wrote: ... business ... working, they ... in the ... Without the huge federal and state subsidies for highway travel (~$15/gallon), Wal-Mart would
                                  Message 16 of 27 , Dec 18, 2003
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                                    --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Chris Loyd" <tybalt@p...>
                                    wrote:
                                    ........
                                    > That's of course, lack of motorization notwithstanding, Wal-Mart's
                                    business
                                    > model still works. If the high-volume selling method stops
                                    working, they
                                    > may just end up being a low-volume high-stock warehouse store, out
                                    in the
                                    > utility area.

                                    Without the huge federal and state subsidies for highway travel
                                    (~$15/gallon), Wal-Mart would collapse. People would avoid driving
                                    even across town. It wouldn't pay.

                                    Realistically speaking, going to $15/gallon would have to be taken in
                                    baby steps, with maybe a year or two in between each increase. If a
                                    schedule were laid out by the feds/state, people could plan ahead
                                    better.

                                    Which brings us back to the question of "to whom should the increased
                                    revenues from the additional fuel taxes go?" under the "living with
                                    less driving" proposal. (No, not the road builders!).

                                    Right answer: "THE PUBLIC". Under the "living with less driving"
                                    proposal, the state would offer those revenues back to the public as
                                    financial incentives ($rebates$) for those people/households who
                                    drive fewer miles on their registered automobiles over the year than
                                    the pre-established annual thresholds miles/household size. The
                                    availability of the rebate option would make the proposed fuel tax
                                    increase more palatable to people and families who can find ways to
                                    change their driving habits, car pool, work at home more, choosing
                                    living and working locations closer to one another, etc.. People who
                                    already don't drive much (or not at all) would be inclined to keep
                                    doing that (to continue earning the rebates).

                                    This plan would also help those who need more income the most - the
                                    elder, the sick, the out-of-work. But the incentives would not, of
                                    course, be enough money for people to choose to be out of work, or
                                    risk the fines of tampering with their vehicle odometers.

                                    There would remain a number of people who still have no choice but to
                                    continue to driving quite a bit (for whatever reason), so they would
                                    not be interested in applying for the program. They might
                                    appreciate the fact that the roads they still have to drive on would
                                    be less congested, the air cleaner, and fewer other motorized
                                    vehicles spewing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which is now
                                    considered to be in everyone's best interest to minimize.

                                    Wal-Mart, incidentally, would probably have to invest in mass transit
                                    (buses), provided they wanted to stay in business at all. This is
                                    because most people would now prefer to just walk to their
                                    local Ben Franklin store, grocery or drug store or branch library for
                                    their basic everyday needs, rather than use their gasoline or
                                    electric powered vehicle, thus adding additional vehicle miles to
                                    their total accumulated odometer motor vehicle mileage for the year.

                                    Second question: Assuming Wal-Mart stays in business, where would
                                    they park all those buses needed to transport customers and employees
                                    during business hours if living with less driving were approved and
                                    implemented in an area? Answer: "In the parking lot - it should be
                                    near empty.

                                    Mike
                                  • Bijan Soleymani
                                    ... Simply that you can t have a large store on every corner or every 500 meters so people can walk to them. I don t think there s a convenient way to buy a
                                    Message 17 of 27 , Dec 18, 2003
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                                      "Chris Loyd" <tybalt@...> writes:

                                      > Because, I really don't see how very large stores are at odds with
                                      > the carfree model.

                                      Simply that you can't have a large store on every corner or every 500
                                      meters so people can walk to them. I don't think there's a convenient
                                      way to buy a carload of stuff 3 miles away from where you live,
                                      without a car. Unless you feel like pushing a couple of shopping carts
                                      down into the subway.

                                      > So, there are examples of very large stores working with transit?
                                      > This can be a very strong selling point to skeptical
                                      > lower-middle-class suburbanites. "You save money by not having a
                                      > car, AND you can WALK to the Wal-Mart (or ride a VERY FAST
                                      > subway/trolley/whatever)". I applied to an apartment based partially
                                      > because I could walk to a Kroger grocery store.

                                      Again people want to walk to stores. Even at insane densities I can't
                                      see how most people in a city could live within walking distance of a
                                      walmart.

                                      I hope people would be more rational and think: I live in a nice
                                      neighborhood where everything is within walking distance. I'm saving
                                      all this money by not owning a car. My kids can play in the streets,
                                      because there's no motor traffic. Ok I'll pay a few a cents more for
                                      my shopping so I don't have to go all the way across town.

                                      >> For this model, being centrally located would probably be best for
                                      >> customers access.
                                      >
                                      > If and only if Wal-Mart could afford market-rate downtown rents. In
                                      > the carfree model, downtown would be very prime, commercial real
                                      > estate, maybe like downtown Houston. Lots of offices, and not much
                                      > in the way of shopping, but where there is shopping, it's posh.
                                      > Wal-Mart would be suicidal to locate a store in downtown Houston; it
                                      > couldn't afford it and still keep their prices below average. As
                                      > Joel says later, they might locate themselves in the cheap heavy
                                      > industrial/garage/utility districts, out in the periphery.
                                      > Especially, if they still want trucks.

                                      Actually in a carfree city downtowns could be smaller and more
                                      manageable. They'd still be big enough to serve their current
                                      purposes, but since densities would be greater all throughout the
                                      city, you could have several downtowns spread around, each serving a
                                      seperate community or seperate needs.

                                      P.S. I really recommend the book "A Pattern Language", which is
                                      mentionned on the carfree website. It has a lot of great ideas about
                                      how cities, neighborhoods, buildings, and so on, should work. It
                                      specifically addresses the fact that people want to walk to stores and
                                      how to ensure everyone lives within walking distance of a corner
                                      grocery store.

                                      Bijan
                                      --
                                      Bijan Soleymani <bijan@...>
                                      http://www.crasseux.com
                                    • Chris Loyd
                                      ... This is Texas, after all... :-) ... Could be...what? ... If they stay profitable, they don t have to. Wal-Mart s strategy is to keep high volume and low
                                      Message 18 of 27 , Dec 20, 2003
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                                        > >more like very crowded with bad service and serves...people I wouldn't be
                                        > >friends with.
                                        >
                                        > They're probably just fed up and feel like going postal.

                                        This is Texas, after all... :-)

                                        > >Stores like Wal-Mart may disappear altogether if the shopping culture
                                        > >shifts
                                        > >to less volume. Time will tell.
                                        >
                                        > That could be?

                                        Could be...what?

                                        > I guess they(big boxes) don't really have to be at odds as much, they just
                                        > don't really put in an effort to be better to the general public.

                                        If they stay profitable, they don't have to. Wal-Mart's strategy is to keep
                                        high volume and low costs, something that their suppliers sweat about.
                                        There's a point where people only have so much physical space to keep buying
                                        crap. The store will reach a saturation point, just like all chains.
                                        Unless they enter the field of hospital care, they can't be all things to
                                        all people, with or without cars.

                                        > >"You save money by not having a car, AND you can WALK to the Wal-Mart (or
                                        > >ride a VERY FAST subway/trolley/whatever)". I applied to an apartment
                                        based
                                        > >partially because I could walk to a Kroger grocery store.
                                        >
                                        > The Zeller's in question, yes. The Wal-Mart in question, not really.

                                        Err...there's one Wal-Mart that I know of where some people could actually
                                        walk to it, but it's in Houston.

                                        Houston's lack of zoning allows for all sorts of things, like urbanization
                                        in valuable near-downtown areas. If it weren't for subsidized freeways,
                                        Houston would probably be quite dense, because there are no laws prohibiting
                                        dense construction. There are use-restrictions (if you're a bank, you gotta
                                        have XYZ parking spaces, fire escapes, blah blah blah), but there's no
                                        geographical restrictions as far as I'm aware of. Point is, for a carfree
                                        perspective, Houston might be one of the friendlier cities for making
                                        neighborhoods were the car is unnecessary. Compare against cities like San
                                        Antonio, where virtually nothing outside the zoning rules gets built unless
                                        the City Council blesses it.
                                      • Andrew Dawson
                                        ... Is doesn t have to be Texas, it could be any place on the planet. Dump enough crap on any body and they could explode back. ... That they disappear with a
                                        Message 19 of 27 , Dec 20, 2003
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                                          Chris Loyd wrote:
                                          > > >more like very crowded with bad service and serves...people I wouldn't
                                          >be
                                          > > >friends with.
                                          > >
                                          > > They're probably just fed up and feel like going postal.
                                          >
                                          >This is Texas, after all... :-)

                                          Is doesn't have to be Texas, it could be any place on the planet. Dump
                                          enough crap on any body and they could explode back.

                                          > > >Stores like Wal-Mart may disappear altogether if the shopping culture
                                          > > >shifts
                                          > > >to less volume. Time will tell.
                                          > >
                                          > > That could be?
                                          >
                                          >Could be...what?

                                          That they disappear with a culture change, but if they do. Chances are they
                                          will go kicking and screaming.

                                          > > I guess they(big boxes) don't really have to be at odds as much, they
                                          >just
                                          > > don't really put in an effort to be better to the general public.
                                          >
                                          >If they stay profitable, they don't have to. Wal-Mart's strategy is to
                                          >keep
                                          >high volume and low costs, something that their suppliers sweat about.
                                          >There's a point where people only have so much physical space to keep
                                          >buying
                                          >crap.

                                          That's why people hold garage sales. Although if things get to a point where
                                          personal credit is very stretched, people won't be able to buy as much
                                          stuff.

                                          >The store will reach a saturation point, just like all chains.
                                          >Unless they enter the field of hospital care, they can't be all things to
                                          >all people, with or without cars.

                                          Good point.

                                          > > >"You save money by not having a car, AND you can WALK to the Wal-Mart
                                          >(or
                                          > > >ride a VERY FAST subway/trolley/whatever)". I applied to an apartment
                                          >based
                                          > > >partially because I could walk to a Kroger grocery store.
                                          > >
                                          > > The Zeller's in question, yes. The Wal-Mart in question, not really.
                                          >
                                          >Err...there's one Wal-Mart that I know of where some people could actually
                                          >walk to it, but it's in Houston.

                                          You have to forgive me, I haven't been to Texas since the early 1980's. The
                                          Dallas area (my aunt use to live there), but I don't remember any thing, I
                                          was too small.

                                          >Houston's lack of zoning allows for all sorts of things, like urbanization
                                          >in valuable near-downtown areas. If it weren't for subsidized freeways,
                                          >Houston would probably be quite dense, because there are no laws
                                          >prohibiting
                                          >dense construction. There are use-restrictions (if you're a bank, you
                                          >gotta
                                          >have XYZ parking spaces, fire escapes, blah blah blah), but there's no
                                          >geographical restrictions as far as I'm aware of. Point is, for a carfree
                                          >perspective, Houston might be one of the friendlier cities for making
                                          >neighborhoods were the car is unnecessary. Compare against cities like San
                                          >Antonio, where virtually nothing outside the zoning rules gets built unless
                                          >the City Council blesses it.

                                          Interesting, I guess Houston is pretty much free/open range from a planning
                                          perspective.

                                          Till later, Andrew Dawson

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                                        • mtneuman@juno.com
                                          ... There has been so much crap from the government dumped on people already, people ought be up in arms about it. But everyone is too busy worrying about
                                          Message 20 of 27 , Dec 20, 2003
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                                            >
                                            > Is doesn't have to be Texas, it could be any place on the planet.
                                            > Dump
                                            > enough crap on any body and they could explode back.

                                            There has been so much crap from the government dumped on people already,
                                            people ought be up in arms about it. But everyone is too busy worrying
                                            about their own jobs, worried about speaking out and getting ridiculed
                                            for doing it, that they just would just as soon find the nearest spider
                                            hole and stay hidden. Eventually, they will come out their holes, but by
                                            then it will be too late. The problem will have become irreversible.

                                            Consider the issue of global warming -- the last president rightfully
                                            called it the greatest environmental challenge of the 21st century.

                                            Nowhere is the corruption in government more obvious than in the way the
                                            government has been avoiding talking about the impending problems of more
                                            rapid global warming. As a result of this avoidance, they have made the
                                            matter ten times worse. This past year, the filthy fossil fuel money
                                            managed to kill increases in fuel efficiency standards for automobiles,
                                            SUV and light trucks; it authorized subsidizes for Hummers, and it
                                            continued to allow exemptions for airline companies from paying aviation
                                            fuel taxes. There's corruption on the highest ground. This is just the
                                            tip of the iceberg when it comes to global warming.

                                            The oil and coal industries hire their own unethical "scientists" to
                                            lobby with lies against legitimate arguments credible scientists are
                                            making, senators and the mass media, and the entire Bush administration
                                            itself, are bought and paid for to make the same case, by convincing a
                                            very naive public that global warming is nothing to worry about, that the
                                            scientists who claim global warming is a very real threat are
                                            "extremists" and "alarmists", and that energy bill, due to be voted on
                                            this January, must be the first bill passed by the Congress in 2004, to
                                            keep the oil flowing for everybody in the country, or the economy and
                                            jobs will suffer. They will undoubtedly win, since they have the
                                            financial support of the highway lobby, automotive, airlines, trucking,
                                            labor, and most other corporation dependent on oil, gas, coal or the
                                            things that burn fossil fuels directly.

                                            It's easy to just blame politics, but its not just politicians that are
                                            failing in their responsibilities.

                                            Government managers - paid well to provide for public safety - are
                                            failing to alert and help prepare people for rapid global warming. They
                                            have been using the same excuse in not telling the media & public about
                                            global warming for over 10 years... that global warming is too
                                            controversial. They used that excuse to national media during the 1993
                                            severe summer flooding with the Mississippi River basin ... DON'T EVEN
                                            BRING UP THE SUBJECT OF GLOBAL WARMING - ITS TOO CONTROVERSIAL! They
                                            follow that by bragging to their coworkers that they ducked the media on
                                            global warming again. Public tax payer money is going to federal, state
                                            and local managers that are ducking the issues, than name calling the
                                            people that care about environment as scaremongers and radical
                                            environmental.
                                            http://la.indymedia.org/news/2003/12/97592_comment.php#98241

                                            Meanwhile, the bureaucrats representing the United States in the
                                            international negotiations over the issue of global warming continue to
                                            obstruct any multilateral effort to confront the issue of too much fossil
                                            fuel burning and global warming. President Bush was absolutely wrong to
                                            pull our country out of the Kyoto agreement in his first year in office,
                                            and make the U.S. a no-show for the only greenhouse gas emission
                                            reduction game on the planet.

                                            The leaders of both Russia and the U.S. ought to be ashamed of themselves
                                            for having missed the opportunities for greenhouse gas management that
                                            the Kyoto Protocol presented. History will no doubt show this assessment
                                            to be an understatement.

                                            U.S. National Weather Service records show the planet's lands, oceans and
                                            air are all warming up, faster with each passing decade. An overwhelming
                                            number of scientific studies conclude that rising greenhouse gas
                                            accumulations in the atmosphere -- caused by excessive fossil fuel (oil,
                                            natural gas, coal) combustion in motor vehicle driving, truck hauling,
                                            shipping, flying and electrical power generation -- are what is driving
                                            the planet's rising temperatures.

                                            Because of the long time that greenhouse gases stay in the atmosphere,
                                            the huge quantities emitted by the U.S. over the last three years will
                                            remain in the atmosphere for close to 120 years, making it all that much
                                            more imperative to drastically reduce emissions of those gases in the
                                            future. The risks we face from global warming well before this century
                                            is out are overwhelmingly life-threatening and involve more frequent and
                                            severe floods, drought, heat waves and rising seas, to name just a few.
                                            That is why it is so important the U.S. start now to make major
                                            greenhouse gas emission reductions. We can no longer afford to have 4, 5
                                            and 6 years of compounding greenhouse gas emissions, the amounts are
                                            additive - cumulative. The concentration of the greenhouse gas carbon
                                            dioxide in the atmosphere is now closing in on 400 parts per million
                                            (PPM). At the beginning of the age of the internal combustion engine and
                                            air travel -- 1900 -- it was 295 PPM. People with even a hit of advocacy
                                            for the children of today, and knowing what they will be up against,
                                            ought be pounding their fists on their elected federal and state
                                            representatives' doors and demanding that something be done about this!
                                            These thing are going to happen before this century is out, in fact, they
                                            are beginning to happen already. [35,000 people died from excessive heat
                                            in Europe in August.] No less than the future ability of the planet to
                                            sustain life is at stake now; every year things will grow worse, and the
                                            only thing we can hope to control now, by reducing emissions today, is
                                            how fast we will allow the planet to warm.

                                            We cannot afford to wait for new technologies and different fuel sources
                                            to be developed to bail us out on the global warming threat any longer.
                                            We have to act now to reduce TODAY'S emissions.

                                            The need to reduce driving, flying and excessive energy use in the U.S.
                                            and other developed countries exists in the here and now, it is not
                                            something we need just keep talking about for the futures. Today's
                                            emissions need to be reduce, get the picture now. Then let's get to
                                            work, and we can all start by preventing that energy bill from passing
                                            next month. It will pass in favor of the oil and coal corruptors if
                                            nobody cares enough to explode, intentionally.

                                            Below are a few more links for those who may still feel uncertain about
                                            all of this. It is a problem we must all come to grips with before it
                                            get's away on us, I am convinced.

                                            Mike

                                            http://madison.indymedia.org/newswire/display_any/11672
                                            http://madison.indymedia.org/newswire/display_any/14094
                                            http://madison.indymedia.org/newswire/display_any/14808
                                            http://madison.indymedia.org/newswire/display_any/14528
                                            http://madison.indymedia.org/newswire/display_any/4580




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                                          • Chris Loyd
                                            ... Are you referring to the ICTA document? http://www.icta.org/projects/trans/rlprexsm.htm If so, you are citing the high end of the subsidy. The low end is
                                            Message 21 of 27 , Dec 25, 2003
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                                              > Without the huge federal and state subsidies for highway travel
                                              > (~$15/gallon), Wal-Mart would collapse. People would avoid driving
                                              > even across town. It wouldn't pay.

                                              Are you referring to the ICTA document?
                                              http://www.icta.org/projects/trans/rlprexsm.htm

                                              If so, you are citing the high end of the subsidy. The low end is $5.60 per
                                              gallon.

                                              > Realistically speaking, going to $15/gallon would have to be taken in
                                              > baby steps, with maybe a year or two in between each increase. If a
                                              > schedule were laid out by the feds/state, people could plan ahead
                                              > better.

                                              I'm assuming that you're talking about taxing the gas up to $15, if so, some
                                              politician is going to propose that, and then lose the election when his
                                              opponent says that gas taxes shouldn't be raised.

                                              Even if gasoline taxes were to be raised, in baby steps, say, $0.50 increase
                                              per year, every other year, the amount of driving would decrease, lowering
                                              the demand for roads and lowering all the external costs. If gas costs
                                              $15/gallon, and almost all of it in taxes, then the external costs are much
                                              lower, and the tax unjustified.

                                              Lastly, if the gas tax is high enough, it will become profitable for
                                              underground gas stations to operate. In US border states, some will drive
                                              across the border to buy gas. One sees this with cigarette taxes.

                                              > Right answer: "THE PUBLIC". Under the "living with less driving"
                                              > proposal, the state would offer those revenues back to the public as
                                              > financial incentives ($rebates$) for those people/households who
                                              > drive fewer miles on their registered automobiles over the year than
                                              > the pre-established annual thresholds miles/household size. The
                                              > availability of the rebate option would make the proposed fuel tax
                                              > increase more palatable to people and families who can find ways to
                                              > change their driving habits, car pool, work at home more, choosing
                                              > living and working locations closer to one another, etc.. People who
                                              > already don't drive much (or not at all) would be inclined to keep
                                              > doing that (to continue earning the rebates).

                                              If gasoline taxes were $15 per gallon, there would be much, much less
                                              driving. So, if the annual threshold so high that few people meet it, then
                                              most people would qualify for the incentive/rebate/subsidy. Or, as the gas
                                              tax increases, an annual survey of miles driven per capita could be done,
                                              and have the average (or the average * 0.9 or whatever) be the threshhold
                                              for that year.

                                              Of course, ranchers and people living in the middle of nowhere would be
                                              pissed to essentially pay for city dwellers to not drive.

                                              > This plan would also help those who need more income the most - the
                                              > elder, the sick, the out-of-work. But the incentives would not, of
                                              > course, be enough money for people to choose to be out of work, or
                                              > risk the fines of tampering with their vehicle odometers.

                                              How are you going to check odometers? Have every vehicle go through an
                                              odometer check in its annual safety inspection? How is the inspector going
                                              to know that one jingled with one's odometer to show an increase of only X
                                              miles per year, when in fact they are still driving 1000 * X miles, on
                                              bootleg/black market gasoline?

                                              > Second question: Assuming Wal-Mart stays in business, where would
                                              > they park all those buses needed to transport customers and employees
                                              > during business hours if living with less driving were approved and
                                              > implemented in an area? Answer: "In the parking lot - it should be
                                              > near empty.

                                              If Wal-Mart changed its business strategy (not sure how -- that's their
                                              problem) it wouldn't necessarily need busses. Why busses? Isn't it
                                              desirable to have LRT or subways?

                                              I just remembered that there used to be a K-Mart in downtown San Antonio.
                                              Not sure how profitable it was, but it shut down when K-Mart pulled out.
                                            • dubluth
                                              ... wrote: ... Many environmentalists recognize that the way to address the external costs of burning motor fuel is to tax it so that those social costs
                                              Message 22 of 27 , Dec 25, 2003
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                                                --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Chris Loyd" <tybalt@p...>
                                                wrote:
                                                <SNIP>
                                                >
                                                > I'm assuming that you're talking about taxing the gas up to
                                                > $15, if so, some politician is going to propose that, and then
                                                > lose the election when his opponent says that gas taxes
                                                > shouldn't be raised.

                                                Many environmentalists recognize that the way to address the external
                                                costs of burning motor fuel is to tax it so that those social costs
                                                are reflected in the price that consumers pay. Most of these
                                                environmentalist probably know that the price conscious, gasoline
                                                addicted electorate may be the barrier to reform. However, that
                                                difficulty is no reason to abandon the pursuit of the one thing that
                                                would necessarily work if enacted.

                                                On the subject of bootlegging, it is true that there will be people
                                                who will want to break the law. I don't see that as a reason to do
                                                away with laws. I think the implicit suggestion is that it would be
                                                so worthwhile to break the law that any benefit from the gas tax would
                                                be diminished or more than offset by the crime that results. I
                                                seriously doubt that that would be the case.

                                                >
                                                > Even if gasoline taxes were to be raised, in baby steps,
                                                > say, $0.50 increase per year, every other year, the amount
                                                > of driving would decrease, lowering the demand for roads
                                                > and lowering all the external costs. If gas costs
                                                > $15/gallon, and almost all of it in taxes, then the external
                                                > costs are much lower, and the tax unjustified
                                                >

                                                If congestion were the only cost we were concerned about, the
                                                $15/gallon would be the price for driving on an uncongested road.
                                                People who find it worth paying that to avoid traffic would feel the
                                                tax is justified. Taxing gas isn't a reasonable approach to dealing
                                                with congestion for reasons previously discussed. We are interested
                                                in the other externalities, and the per gallon cost of these will be
                                                positive regardless of how little gasoline is consumed.


                                                <SNIP>
                                              • Chris Loyd
                                                ... they ... Hmmm...I thought businesses that became unnecessary given new technology or cultural changes simple went bankrupt and faded from existence. Even
                                                Message 23 of 27 , Dec 26, 2003
                                                • 0 Attachment
                                                  > > > >Stores like Wal-Mart may disappear altogether if the shopping culture
                                                  > > > >shifts
                                                  > > > >to less volume. Time will tell.
                                                  > > >
                                                  > > > That could be?
                                                  > >
                                                  > >Could be...what?
                                                  >
                                                  > That they disappear with a culture change, but if they do. Chances are
                                                  they
                                                  > will go kicking and screaming.

                                                  Hmmm...I thought businesses that became unnecessary given new technology or
                                                  cultural changes simple went bankrupt and faded from existence. Even if
                                                  they collapse with a bang, like Enron, the people usually screaming are
                                                  investors and employees. However, the one type of business that seems
                                                  determined to resist bankruptcy, without actually trying to be profitable,
                                                  are airlines. I hope that Wal-Mart, if/when it goes belly up, doesn't
                                                  decide that it needs hand-outs to continue on unprofitably.

                                                  > That's why people hold garage sales. Although if things get to a point
                                                  where
                                                  > personal credit is very stretched, people won't be able to buy as much
                                                  > stuff.

                                                  You've hit the nail on the head. I don't know what percentage of Wal-Mart's
                                                  customers buy things on credit, but it's irrelevant. They cannot afford to
                                                  lose very many of their customers, especially those that buy a lot of
                                                  (relatively expensive) stuff. Stores like Sears and JCPenney's seem to
                                                  linger on, despite losing many of their customers. That's a thought: if you
                                                  charge a decent amount of profit per product, then you don't need to sell
                                                  warehouses full of them, and maybe you can provide something resembling
                                                  quality and customer service, too. Gasp.

                                                  > You have to forgive me, I haven't been to Texas since the early 1980's.
                                                  The
                                                  > Dallas area (my aunt use to live there), but I don't remember any thing, I
                                                  > was too small.

                                                  Been to Dallas twice, and I spend most of my time in San Antonio and
                                                  Houston. You're not missing much, although if you ever end up here, try not
                                                  to miss the recent developments in Houston's midtown. San Antonio has a
                                                  charming downtown, with a vintage 1730s cathedral, and a couple of very old
                                                  Spanish missions. That's it.

                                                  > Interesting, I guess Houston is pretty much free/open range from a
                                                  planning
                                                  > perspective.

                                                  Planning maps from the 1960s suggest that a street grid was planned for the
                                                  most of Harris County, suggesting some form of planning
                                                  http://www.texasfreeway.com/houston/historic/freeway_planning_maps/houston_historic_maps.shtml#1974).
                                                  However, the grid, if it is still planned as such, is spotty
                                                  (http://maps.yahoo.com/maps_result?ed=M7tNO.p_0TqT&csz=Houston%2C+TX&country
                                                  =us). The Houston Planning Department conducted a study on TOD inside Loop
                                                  610, along Katy Freeway
                                                  (http://www.ci.houston.tx.us/department/planning/projects/katy/home.html).

                                                  The most progressive planning has come from Metro, with their Solutions plan
                                                  (http://www.ridemetro.org/motion/solutions/plan/default.asp).

                                                  How they are going to get LRT on freeways is beyond me. Elevated stations
                                                  above the freeway? Running only on the frontage road? If this is going to
                                                  be part of any carfree developments in the future, the freeway will need to
                                                  be bulldozed, unless it's already below grade (like inner-loop Katy, much of
                                                  the Southwest freeway and the Southwest/South Merge until Downtown).
                                                • Andrew Dawson
                                                  ... Okay, although transportation(if you want to call it a business) is different from retail. Just look at VIA/Amtrak or most mass transit, but that s another
                                                  Message 24 of 27 , Dec 27, 2003
                                                  • 0 Attachment
                                                    Chris Loyd wrote:
                                                    > > > > >Stores like Wal-Mart may disappear altogether if the shopping
                                                    >culture
                                                    > > > > >shifts
                                                    > > > > >to less volume. Time will tell.
                                                    > > > >
                                                    > > > > That could be?
                                                    > > >
                                                    > > >Could be...what?
                                                    > >
                                                    > > That they disappear with a culture change, but if they do. Chances are
                                                    >they
                                                    > > will go kicking and screaming.
                                                    >
                                                    >Hmmm...I thought businesses that became unnecessary given new technology or
                                                    >cultural changes simple went bankrupt and faded from existence. Even if
                                                    >they collapse with a bang, like Enron, the people usually screaming are
                                                    >investors and employees. However, the one type of business that seems
                                                    >determined to resist bankruptcy, without actually trying to be profitable,
                                                    >are airlines. I hope that Wal-Mart, if/when it goes belly up, doesn't
                                                    >decide that it needs hand-outs to continue on unprofitably.

                                                    Okay, although transportation(if you want to call it a business) is
                                                    different from retail.
                                                    Just look at VIA/Amtrak or most mass transit, but that's another gambit.

                                                    > > That's why people hold garage sales. Although if things get to a point
                                                    >where
                                                    > > personal credit is very stretched, people won't be able to buy as much
                                                    > > stuff.
                                                    >
                                                    >You've hit the nail on the head. I don't know what percentage of
                                                    >Wal-Mart's
                                                    >customers buy things on credit, but it's irrelevant. They cannot afford to
                                                    >lose very many of their customers, especially those that buy a lot of
                                                    >(relatively expensive) stuff. Stores like Sears and JCPenney's seem to
                                                    >linger on, despite losing many of their customers. That's a thought: if
                                                    >you
                                                    >charge a decent amount of profit per product, then you don't need to sell
                                                    >warehouses full of them, and maybe you can provide something resembling
                                                    >quality and customer service, too. Gasp.

                                                    New concept... old fashion service!

                                                    > > You have to forgive me, I haven't been to Texas since the early 1980's.
                                                    >The
                                                    > > Dallas area (my aunt use to live there), but I don't remember any thing,
                                                    >I
                                                    > > was too small.
                                                    >
                                                    >Been to Dallas twice, and I spend most of my time in San Antonio and
                                                    >Houston. You're not missing much, although if you ever end up here, try
                                                    >not
                                                    >to miss the recent developments in Houston's midtown. San Antonio has a
                                                    >charming downtown, with a vintage 1730s cathedral, and a couple of very old
                                                    >Spanish missions. That's it.

                                                    Cool.

                                                    > > Interesting, I guess Houston is pretty much free/open range from a
                                                    >planning
                                                    > > perspective.
                                                    >
                                                    >Planning maps from the 1960s suggest that a street grid was planned for the
                                                    >most of Harris County, suggesting some form of planning
                                                    >http://www.texasfreeway.com/houston/historic/freeway_planning_maps/houston_historic_maps.shtml#1974).
                                                    >However, the grid, if it is still planned as such, is spotty
                                                    >(http://maps.yahoo.com/maps_result?ed=M7tNO.p_0TqT&csz=Houston%2C+TX&country
                                                    >=us). The Houston Planning Department conducted a study on TOD inside Loop
                                                    >610, along Katy Freeway
                                                    >(http://www.ci.houston.tx.us/department/planning/projects/katy/home.html).
                                                    >
                                                    >The most progressive planning has come from Metro, with their Solutions
                                                    >plan
                                                    >(http://www.ridemetro.org/motion/solutions/plan/default.asp).
                                                    >
                                                    >How they are going to get LRT on freeways is beyond me. Elevated stations
                                                    >above the freeway? Running only on the frontage road? If this is going to
                                                    >be part of any carfree developments in the future, the freeway will need to
                                                    >be bulldozed, unless it's already below grade (like inner-loop Katy, much
                                                    >of
                                                    >the Southwest freeway and the Southwest/South Merge until Downtown).

                                                    To deep sixty the freeway would be expensive, but over all it would help.

                                                    Till later, Andrew Dawson

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                                                  • Chris Loyd
                                                    ... Would the external costs remain the same if gasoline taxes were raised to cover them? If gas taxes totaled up to $15/gallon, then most non-business
                                                    Message 25 of 27 , Dec 30, 2003
                                                    • 0 Attachment
                                                      > Many environmentalists recognize that the way to address the external
                                                      > costs of burning motor fuel is to tax it so that those social costs
                                                      > are reflected in the price that consumers pay. Most of these
                                                      > environmentalist probably know that the price conscious, gasoline
                                                      > addicted electorate may be the barrier to reform. However, that
                                                      > difficulty is no reason to abandon the pursuit of the one thing that
                                                      > would necessarily work if enacted.

                                                      Would the external costs remain the same if gasoline taxes were raised to
                                                      cover them? If gas taxes totaled up to $15/gallon, then most non-business
                                                      driving would cease, and businesses and commuters would have to make
                                                      decisions on how to save money. If just Wisconsin enacted this, the
                                                      solution is simple: leave Wisconsin. It's harder to leave the States and
                                                      find a business-friendlier environment with as many eager consumers as the
                                                      States.

                                                      > On the subject of bootlegging, it is true that there will be people
                                                      > who will want to break the law. I don't see that as a reason to do
                                                      > away with laws. I think the implicit suggestion is that it would be
                                                      > so worthwhile to break the law that any benefit from the gas tax would
                                                      > be diminished or more than offset by the crime that results. I
                                                      > seriously doubt that that would be the case.

                                                      We're not talking about laws per se, we're talking about taxes. It's
                                                      against the law to evade paying taxes, yes. Look at guns, drugs, abortions
                                                      (before 1973), mp3s, movies, software, child porn, homosexual activity in
                                                      Texas, sex-with-minors, etc. If there's a demand for it, it's going to
                                                      exist. However, you make it really expensive for people to do things
                                                      legally, when there's a cheaper, but more dangerous, alternative. It's
                                                      time-consuming to buy a gun, and in some guns, impossible. It's faster to
                                                      buy it at a show, or from a private owner (from the trunk of his car).
                                                      Drugs are well-known, where the costs of enforcement are ridiculous. And so
                                                      forth. The same thing would apply to gas, only the gas tax would be
                                                      universally unpopular. I'd would not be surprised if gas stations, or even
                                                      whole companies, would refuse to collect the tax.

                                                      > If congestion were the only cost we were concerned about, the
                                                      > $15/gallon would be the price for driving on an uncongested road.
                                                      > People who find it worth paying that to avoid traffic would feel the
                                                      > tax is justified. Taxing gas isn't a reasonable approach to dealing
                                                      > with congestion for reasons previously discussed. We are interested
                                                      > in the other externalities, and the per gallon cost of these will be
                                                      > positive regardless of how little gasoline is consumed.

                                                      Positive, but changeable. Do you think that people are going to drive the
                                                      same amount, and consume the same amount of gas (legally) at $15/gallon?
                                                      These external costs would change when the amount of gas consumed is change.
                                                      Would you then change the gas tax to reflect these lower external costs?
                                                      Adjust yearly?
                                                    • mtneuman@juno.com
                                                      ... People would not drive as much if the price of gasoline were increased significantly. But we need to reduce the amount of fossil fuel burning to the
                                                      Message 26 of 27 , Jan 1, 2004
                                                      • 0 Attachment
                                                        > Positive, but changeable. Do you think that people are going to
                                                        > drive the
                                                        > same amount, and consume the same amount of gas (legally) at
                                                        > $15/gallon?
                                                        > These external costs would change when the amount of gas consumed is
                                                        > change.
                                                        > Would you then change the gas tax to reflect these lower external
                                                        > costs?
                                                        > Adjust yearly?

                                                        People would not drive as much if the price of gasoline were increased
                                                        significantly. But we need to reduce the amount of fossil fuel burning
                                                        to the minimum amount possible. This is because greenhouse gases from
                                                        oil, coal and natural gas hang in the atmosphere for upwards of 120
                                                        years.

                                                        The effects of accumulating greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are
                                                        cumulative. Over time, the impacts from more and more fossil fuel
                                                        burning throughout the world will continue to worsen; extreme weather
                                                        events fed by global warming become more common. It might be necessary
                                                        to raise the price of fuel even more to account for the worsening
                                                        marginal costs of global warming.

                                                        http://www.environmentaldefense.org/documents/382_myths.htm

                                                        Mike Neuman

                                                        "Global warming is unpleasant news. The costs of doing something
                                                        substantial to arrest it are daunting, but the consequences of not doing
                                                        anything are staggering."

                                                        - Jerry Mahlman, senior atmospheric research scientist


                                                        ________________________________________________________________
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                                                      • Chris Loyd
                                                        ... If this source is believable, the 120-year lifespan applies only to Nitrous oxide. Other chemicals have different lifespans. a.. CO2 duration stay is
                                                        Message 27 of 27 , Jan 8, 2004
                                                        • 0 Attachment
                                                          > This is because greenhouse gases from
                                                          > oil, coal and natural gas hang in the atmosphere for upwards of 120
                                                          > years.

                                                          If this source is believable, the 120-year lifespan applies only to Nitrous oxide. Other chemicals have different lifespans.

                                                          a.. CO2 duration stay is variable (approx 200-450 years) and its global warming potential (GWP) is defined as 1.
                                                          a.. Methane duration stay is of 12.2 +/- 3 years and a GWP of 22 (meaning that it has 22 times the warming ability of carbon dioxide),
                                                          a.. Nitrous oxide has a duration stay of 120 years and a GWP of 310

                                                          http://en2.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_gas

                                                          They claim that their source is the GIEC (Groupe d'Experts Intergouvernnemental sur l'Evolution du Climat).

                                                          > Over time, the impacts from more and more fossil fuel
                                                          > burning throughout the world will continue to worsen; extreme weather
                                                          > events fed by global warming become more common. It might be necessary
                                                          > to raise the price of fuel even more to account for the worsening
                                                          > marginal costs of global warming.

                                                          The tax on fuel can only go so high before consumption of it drops to the point where increasing the tax leads to decreasing revenues from that tax. If the price of gas was so high that most people couldn't afford it, then it would cease to be a point of concern. Isn't that the point of the Hubbert Peak -- that gas would become so expensive that people couldn't afford it anymore?



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