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Re: [carfree_cities] PRT anti-transit Disinformation

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  • Steve Geller
    ... No, it s not. It s the way people are. A while back, I wrote an article about the sociology of bus riding:
    Message 1 of 17 , Jul 13, 2004
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      At 06:39 AM 7/13/2004, you wrote:
      >The biggest myth the PRT proponents spread around is that people don't like
      >to ride with "strangers".
      >
      >This is total crap.

      No, it's not. It's the way people are.
      A while back, I wrote an article about the sociology of bus riding:

      http://home.comcast.net/~stgeller/Bus_Sociology.htm
    • Matt Dobbing
      Enjoying this thread but have just spent a day with 1250 11-16 year olds. Do we have to have foul language here too? sorry to moan folks!! but the English
      Message 2 of 17 , Jul 13, 2004
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        Enjoying this thread but have just spent a day with 1250 11-16 year olds. Do
        we have to have foul language here too?

        sorry to moan folks!! but the English langage is a beautiful thing and there
        are other ways to express disgust/emphasise points.

        Matt
        (tired UK teacher! it's been a looooong day!)

        _________________________________________________________________
        FREE pop-up blocking with the new MSN Toolbar � get it now!
        http://toolbar.msn.click-url.com/go/onm00200415ave/direct/01/
      • Doug Salzmann
        ... Yep. Cities *are* direct personal interaction. ... And, I think the PRT concept is fundamentally incompatible with both the spirit and functional reality
        Message 3 of 17 , Jul 13, 2004
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          On Tue, 13 Jul 2004, kenavidor wrote:

          > The whole urban experience is about masses of people, crowds, audiences,
          > throngs and mobs. If you don't like being among lots of people, you are not a
          > city person. If crowded, busy sidewalks, cafes, markets, stadiums, train
          > stations, libraries and streetcars bother you ....MOVE TO THE SUBURBS!

          Yep. Cities *are* direct personal interaction.

          > Please, no more PRT talk...I'm sick of it.

          And, I think the PRT concept is fundamentally incompatible with both
          the spirit and functional reality of carfree cities.

          -Doug

          ---
          Doug Salzmann
          Kalliergo
          Post Office Box 307
          Corte Madera, CA 94976 USA

          <doug@...>
        • Richard Risemberg
          ... From: Matt Dobbing Sent: Jul 13, 2004 9:34 AM To: carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] PRT anti-transit
          Message 4 of 17 , Jul 13, 2004
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            -----Original Message-----
            From: Matt Dobbing <matt_dobbing@...>
            Sent: Jul 13, 2004 9:34 AM
            To: carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] PRT anti-transit Disinformation

            Enjoying this thread but have just spent a day with 1250 11-16 year olds. Do
            we have to have foul language here too?

            sorry to moan folks!! but the English langage is a beautiful thing and there
            are other ways to express disgust/emphasise points.

            C'est moi, le vulgaire. I too love the English language; as anyone who reads any of my stuff in New Colonist will see, I take great care in trying to use it gracefully, and occasionally succeed. I also don't mind sometimes using a word that shows up prominently in English writers from Chaucer to Lawrence, all of whom wrote long before Miller and the rappers, if it serve properly to express a profoundly visceral indignation, an intense weariness with the smallminded lies we are constantly force-fed. The disdain of native English terms in favor of Latinate ones for certain expressions derives from the Norman conquest and the view of the English language as the domain of serfs, not rulers. I love French too and am fluent in it, but real English serves better to express irritation.

            This rant is actually tangentially germane to our discussion, as the disdain of "vulgar" English relates to the disdain of the crowd, of the peasant, of the tradesman, of riding the bus, of living near others, of the commons, and ultimately of the carfree sustainable city. We are constantly told we are worthy only when we live like kings in isolated towers, looking down on the hoi polloi; and we have based our transport lately on mobile towers that make us lonely slaves to our self-delusions. That is the problem behind the problem that we must eventually discuss, as it is the foundation of many of the arguments against our goals, and against city living in general.

            By the way, if it is so innately undesireable that we sit with strangers now and then, why is it so much fun to eat out?

            Desolé de vous avoir derangé,

            Richard
          • Simon Baddeley
            There is a lot of fear of the other out there. On the bus someone dissed me when I greeted him with a hearty top of the morning to you my good sir so I had
            Message 5 of 17 , Jul 13, 2004
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              There is a lot of fear of the "other" out there.
              On the bus someone dissed me when I greeted him with a hearty "top of the
              morning to you my good sir" so I had to kill him (:))

              Simon


              On 13/7/04 4:49 pm, "Steve Geller" <stgeller@...> wrote:

              > At 06:39 AM 7/13/2004, you wrote:
              >> The biggest myth the PRT proponents spread around is that people don't like
              >> to ride with "strangers".
              >>
              >> This is total crap.
            • Doug Salzmann
              ... That s one stranger who won t bother anyone again. It s a good thing the Uzi fits comfortably under your coat. -Doug ... Doug Salzmann Kalliergo Post
              Message 6 of 17 , Jul 13, 2004
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                On Tue, 13 Jul 2004, Simon Baddeley wrote:

                > There is a lot of fear of the "other" out there.
                > On the bus someone dissed me when I greeted him with a hearty "top of the
                > morning to you my good sir" so I had to kill him (:))

                That's one stranger who won't bother anyone again.

                It's a good thing the Uzi fits comfortably under your coat.


                -Doug



                ---
                Doug Salzmann
                Kalliergo
                Post Office Box 307
                Corte Madera, CA 94976 USA

                <doug@...>
              • Korn, Dan
                I have a PRT device. It s called a bicycle. One of my favorite things to do with it is to go on group rides where I can enjoy being close to other people.
                Message 7 of 17 , Jul 13, 2004
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                  I have a PRT device. It's called a bicycle. One of my favorite things to do with it is to go on group rides where I can enjoy being close to other people.

                  Dan
                  Chicago
                  www.dankorn.com
                • Jym Dyer
                  ... =v= Interesting. I, on the other hand, have an SUV device that s called a bicycle. :^) ... =v= Oh, it s one of them there sociables. -- Ads
                  Message 8 of 17 , Jul 13, 2004
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                    > I have a PRT device. It's called a bicycle.

                    =v= Interesting. I, on the other hand, have an SUV
                    device that's called a bicycle. :^)

                    > One of my favorite things to do with it is to go on group
                    > rides where I can enjoy being close to other people.

                    =v= Oh, it's one of them there "sociables."
                    <_Jym_>
                    --
                    Ads below? Just ignore 'em.
                  • Simon Baddeley
                    Dear Richard I suppose the grain of dust that irritates an oyster could be described as a stranger. Simon
                    Message 9 of 17 , Jul 13, 2004
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                      Dear Richard

                      I suppose the grain of dust that irritates an oyster could be described as
                      a "stranger."

                      Simon

                      On 13/7/04 6:11 pm, "Richard Risemberg" <rickrise@...> wrote:

                      > -----Original Message-----
                      > From: Matt Dobbing <matt_dobbing@...>
                      > Sent: Jul 13, 2004 9:34 AM
                      > To: carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com
                      > Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] PRT anti-transit Disinformation
                      >
                      > Enjoying this thread but have just spent a day with 1250 11-16 year olds. Do
                      > we have to have foul language here too?
                      >
                      > sorry to moan folks!! but the English langage is a beautiful thing and there
                      > are other ways to express disgust/emphasise points.
                      >
                      > C'est moi, le vulgaire. I too love the English language; as anyone who reads
                      > any of my stuff in New Colonist will see,
                    • Matt Hohmeister
                      Yes, I have noticed this too. I can rattle off a list of the behaviors of typical Americans: - Demand the freedom to use a car at city taxpayers expense, yet
                      Message 10 of 17 , Jul 16, 2004
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                        Yes, I have noticed this too. I can rattle off a list of the behaviors of typical Americans:

                        - Demand the freedom to use a car at city taxpayers' expense, yet unwilling to live in the
                        city limits to avoid city taxes.

                        - Says cars are all about freedom, but they also want to force their lifestyle upon others--
                        think about all the municipal codes forcing property owners to provide free parking.

                        And you're right about going to Europe. I have heard countless Americans spend a week or
                        three over there, comment on how much they love the lifestyle there and using the metro,
                        and the second they get home, become homebound again unless their car is available.

                        You have an excellent point about "unpaid taxi service". Your typical suburban American
                        who claims to enjoy driving probably does not enjoy the drive to and from work. Even
                        someone who wants a "nice car" and spends $40,000 or more on it will not enjoy their
                        drive home from work.

                        > Absolutely. When I get on teh buses and trains here, I see people
                        > reading or listening to Walkmans, sure, but I also see lots of people
                        > chatting happily with each other, and often end up in conversations with
                        > strangers myself. When I look out the window of the bus at the people
                        > in cars, I see a bunch of grim-faced automatons doing unpaid taxi
                        > service for themselves in the name of status. Fuck it.
                        >
                        > We are social animals. We are healthier when we live in a community.
                        > Our communities are healthier when they allow people to meet with, even
                        > semi-anonymously, with others both similar to and different from
                        > themselves. This makes life richer and safer, and all of us happier.
                        >
                        > Waht is it with Americans? Why must they consistently behave like
                        > sullen thirteen year olds who hide in their rooms but still expect mom
                        > and dad to drop off the tray of dinner at their door and do their
                        > laundry? No wonder we have the highest murder and drug use rates in the
                        > world here. We isolate ourselves like monkeys volunteering for a
                        > contact deprivation experiment, and desperately cling to the baling-wire
                        > mommy of the TV set.
                        >
                        > Then we go to Paris on vacation and wonder why we feel so good walking
                        > the busy sidewalks and sitting in a crowded cafe on a busy square.
                        >
                        > Transit ROCKS. I make friends, watch dramas and comedies unfold, hear
                        > the poetry of life--and get to work. I could save fifty bucks a month
                        > by riding my bicycle instead, but when I do it I really miss the
                        > sensation of being part of life.
                        >
                        > Socrates said, "Fields and trees teach me nothing. The people in a city
                        > do." Well, sitting in a mobile cubicle all alone, be it a car or a PRT
                        > vehicle, teaches you far less. Fuck it.
                        >
                        > Richard
                        >
                        > --
                        > Richard Risemberg
                        > http://www.living-room.org
                        > http://www.newcolonist.com
                        >
                        > "Until you stop looking for simple answers, you will not be happy. You
                        > will not even be human."
                        >
                        > RR
                      • Matt Hohmeister
                        I just took another look at this and it made me think of direct comparisons.... Sullen thirteen year olds :: Suburban residents Bedrooms :: Suburbs outside the
                        Message 11 of 17 , Jul 16, 2004
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                          I just took another look at this and it made me think of direct comparisons....

                          Sullen thirteen year olds :: Suburban residents

                          Bedrooms :: Suburbs outside the city limits

                          Mom and dad :: City taxpayers who finance six-lane roads to let these spoiled children
                          drive home

                          Dinner and laundry :: City utility services financed by taxpayers paying the same piece rate
                          for services--electric, water, gas, sewer, and refuse--that are much more expensive to
                          provide in suburbs because of long utility runs, more garbage truck use, etc

                          "Mommy of the TV set" :: Since suburban children are forced to stay at home unless
                          Mommy can drive them somewhere (which she frequently can't because she's working full-
                          time and being the family's chef and cleaner), the kids are stuck at home in front of the
                          TV.

                          If I was married and had children, I would try all I could to have one parent--I don't care if
                          it's me of my wife--stay home through early childhood. Living in a less expensive house in
                          a closer suburb [or city] and having fewer cars--or making less use of them--would save a
                          good deal of money, allowing one parent to stay home. Failing that, our lifestyle would
                          still allow us to save more money for vacations, children's college education, the imminent
                          $3000 re-roofing or air conditioner biting the dust, and retirement.

                          Anyway, what's about status? I lived with my parents and sister to the age of 19 in roughly
                          2000 square feet and never felt short on space. I hate to sound old-fashioned, but I feel
                          that the same square footage seems more spacious when you have a 300 square foot
                          living room instead of the 600 you find in newer houses--allowing you a separate
                          playroom for the kids. Also, master bedroom bathrooms are getting huge (100 sf or
                          more), further taking space away from the house. This is why I want a house built between
                          the 1950s and 80s--better usable room. And sorry, I know this isn't a home design
                          discussion board, but I feel that's another downfall of suburbs: the demand for bigger
                          houses that "seem" the same size as smaller houses of years past.

                          > Waht is it with Americans? Why must they consistently behave like
                          > sullen thirteen year olds who hide in their rooms but still expect mom
                          > and dad to drop off the tray of dinner at their door and do their
                          > laundry? No wonder we have the highest murder and drug use rates in the
                          > world here. We isolate ourselves like monkeys volunteering for a
                          > contact deprivation experiment, and desperately cling to the baling-wire
                          > mommy of the TV set.
                        • Karen Sandness
                          It s hard to convince people of the advantages of transit if they ve never experienced a good system. Heavens, living in Minneapolis, trying to use
                          Message 12 of 17 , Jul 17, 2004
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                            It's hard to convince people of the advantages of transit if they've
                            never experienced a good system. Heavens, living in Minneapolis, trying
                            to use non-automotive means of transportation as much as possible, I'm
                            often stymied in attempts to get around without a car, and after ten
                            years of car-free living in Portland, I'd become pretty ingenious.
                            Judging from my 2001 trip to Los Angeles (where Richard gave me some
                            excellent hints about getting around), that quintessential car city has
                            better public transit than the Twin Cities do. Express buses running
                            every 15 minutes on a Sunday are just unimaginable here, where the MTC
                            pats itself on the back for running 3 buses per hour on weekdays one of
                            the most useful routes.

                            As I travel around the area with newly sensitized eyes, I can see that
                            what hindered the development of sustainable transit in this area was
                            the rapidity and efficiency of the freeway building program. Because
                            the area acquired so many freeways so quickly, there are now a number
                            of "island" neighborhoods that are or could be terrific walkable
                            neighborhoods, but they are utterly inaccessible without a car. In
                            addition, some idiotic urban planners let the big box stores knock down
                            existing commercial structures and set up suburban-style shopping
                            centers and fast-food outlets in the city--but only in the poorer
                            neighborhoods, where developers could get away with throwing up
                            structures that are ticky-tacky even by the generous standards of that
                            sort of building.

                            Judging from the bicycle and pedestrian traffic jams that I encounter
                            on the lakeside paths in good weather, Twin Cities people are not
                            averse to cycling or walking, although they are understandably averse
                            to riding the neglected bus system. It's just that wherever they go,
                            they inevitably run into barriers.

                            Meanwhile, we've got a city council member, a Green no less, pushing
                            PRT as the salvation of us all. Ken Avidor is valiantly fighting that
                            bit of idiocy.

                            The one bright spot is that the new light rail line seems to be
                            attracting riders, despite its limited area of service, and that city
                            officials are making favorable noises about connecting the downtowns of
                            Minneapolis and St. Paul with light rail, which is a great idea, since
                            the route would run through the University of Minnesota's main campus
                            and non-affluent and immigrant neighborhoods, thereby negating the
                            talking point that rail critics used in Portland about rail systems
                            being toys for suburban commuters at the expense of inner city
                            residents.

                            In transit,
                            Karen Sandness
                          • Steve Geller
                            PRT should not be rejected out-of-hand. It could be a good idea on a college campus or for serving an office park / light industrial area. But generally,
                            Message 13 of 17 , Jul 17, 2004
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                              PRT should not be rejected out-of-hand. It could be a good idea
                              on a college campus or for serving an office park / light industrial area.

                              But generally, public transit works best in bulk. It thrives amid dense
                              development, and is most efficient when it moves many people; large vehicles
                              like buses are the way to do that.

                              I'm more convinced than ever that the success of public transit anywhere
                              is limited by two things: density (of riders/destinations) and the
                              availability of parking. Vast acreages of parking can only encourage
                              use of private cars. If any locality wants to cut congestion, the decision
                              must be made to cut back parking while providing public transportation.

                              I think a PRT could be a "feeder" to buses and lite rail, in areas
                              where there's a lot of coming and going, but not in big crowds.

                              As I travel around the area with newly sensitized eyes, I can see that
                              >what hindered the development of sustainable transit in this area was
                              >the rapidity and efficiency of the freeway building program. Because
                              >the area acquired so many freeways so quickly, there are now a number
                              >of "island" neighborhoods that are or could be terrific walkable
                              >neighborhoods, but they are utterly inaccessible without a car.

                              This is deliberate car-first public policy. The "islands" should be
                              connected by PRT, buses, rail or whatever is most appropriate.
                              And parking space within an island should be limited to
                              delivery vehicles.

                              One of my favorite "Roadkill Bill" cartoons shows RKB amazed at
                              a main street with no cars, and people getting about by foot,
                              trains and trolleys. He's at Disney World, where pre-car America
                              is exhibited as a nostalgic historical curiosity.
                            • Patrick McDonough
                              Take a read- ... *Paying the Pumper* By J. Robinson West Friday, July 23, 2004; Page A29 With the return of the highest oil prices since the energy crisis of
                              Message 14 of 17 , Jul 23, 2004
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                                Take a read-
                                -----------------------

                                *Paying the Pumper*

                                By J. Robinson West

                                Friday, July 23, 2004; Page A29

                                With the return of the highest oil prices since the energy crisis of the
                                early 1980s, there are growing cries of alarm that the world is running
                                out of oil. Some speculate that Saudi Arabia has reached maturity as a
                                producing state and that its production will decline. Others cite the
                                Hubbert curve, which postulates that once more than 50 percent of
                                reserves are produced, output inevitably declines.

                                The world will not run out of oil soon, but there's still good reason
                                for alarm. What the world is running short of is production capacity.
                                There's plenty of oil -- we just can't get it out of the ground. It's
                                important to understand some history to appreciate the problem.

                                Beginning in the 1960s and continuing through the energy crisis of the
                                '80s, the oil industry was restructured. The Western international oil
                                companies, which had controlled reserves and production just about
                                everywhere except the Soviet Union and Mexico, had many of their largest
                                assets nationalized by governments in such countries as Saudi Arabia,
                                Kuwait, Iran, Iraq and Venezuela. These governments organized national
                                oil companies to manage their resources. National companies are
                                government agencies accountable to their governments first and the
                                international markets second.

                                In response, competition among the international firms became intense as
                                they focused on exploration in places where they were still permitted to
                                invest: the United States, Canada, the North Sea and Australia. These
                                companies diversified global oil production to the extent they could.
                                With the development of sophisticated technology, they moved into
                                deep-water production, notably in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast
                                of West Africa. Whenever a new petroleum province opened for investment,
                                they tried to enter -- in Yemen, Colombia, the Caspian Sea and Russia.
                                The technical and political risks were immense, and some large
                                investments failed.

                                The indigenous oil industries in these countries, usually national
                                companies, resist international foreign investment. They don't want the
                                competition, nor do they wish to share the economic rent from the oil.
                                When oil prices were low, and governments needed money, as in the 1990s,
                                some foreign investment was permitted in certain countries, often over
                                the objection of the national company. Substantial production growth
                                resulted. Oil prices are now high, and most of the national oil
                                companies are capable of meeting the financial requirements of their
                                governments without foreign investment or interference.

                                The world economy is confronted with a situation in which there are
                                large reserves -- more than in 1985 -- but in places where it is hard to
                                tap them. The international oil industry is the only business in the
                                world in which global capital cannot invest in the lowest-cost, most
                                efficient production. National oil companies provide about 60 percent of
                                the world's production but control 87 percent of the reserves, and their
                                share will rise. Many commentators point out that a rising share of our
                                oil will come from fewer countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
                                Should these countries continue to maintain their production, or even
                                increase it, as we expect, there will remain the fundamental problem of
                                increasing production capacity sufficiently to meet growing world
                                demand. For example, sustained Saudi production is likely to grow by no
                                more than 3 million barrels per day over the next 10 years, but
                                worldwide demand, driven by the United States and China, is expected to
                                grow by 15 million barrels per day.

                                The capabilities of the national oil companies vary widely. Some are as
                                competent as the international firms, with excellent management and
                                efficient operations. Others are deeply corrupt and lack the capital and
                                skills to meet the sophisticated requirements of portfolio and reservoir
                                management. Furthermore, exploration for new reserves can involve
                                massive risks, which most governments are unwilling to underwrite,
                                whereas the internationals, with huge balance sheets and diversified
                                portfolios, are quite comfortable with these risks.

                                The thesis of the Hubbert curve is correct, but the conclusion that a
                                fall in global oil production has inevitably begun is not. The Hubbert
                                curve analysis applies where full commercial exploitation has taken
                                place, but in many areas, other factors, including politics and policy,
                                weigh in. It is true that production in most of the United States,
                                Canada and the North Sea is in decline -- there, exploration and
                                production have been exhaustive. But the most oil-rich areas, notably
                                Mexico, Venezuela, Russia and the Middle East, have not been fully explored.

                                National oil companies may open up for investment if there are enough
                                political and economic incentives. Production may also increase if there
                                are changes in technology. This has happened many times before, most
                                recently with the development of deep-water technology in the 1980s and
                                '90s. One approach includes enhanced oil recovery from existing fields,
                                where more than 60 percent of the oil often remains in place. Another
                                breakthrough may come in efficient production from extra-heavy oil and
                                tar sands, which is now very costly and capital-intensive. There are
                                greater reserves of extra-heavy oil in Venezuela and Canada than in
                                Saudi Arabia. Likewise, the industry has been seeking commercial
                                breakthroughs in gas-to-liquids technology, converting natural gas
                                reserves into ultra-clean diesel fuel.

                                Supply will increase if costs remain high long enough to justify the
                                huge investments necessary. But oil markets have been cyclical for more
                                than 120 years, and too much investment in capacity, as in the 1970s and
                                '80s, inevitably leads to price crashes, followed by further commercial
                                and political uncertainty.

                                Virtually every thoughtful policymaker knows that there is a serious
                                problem in energy, but they are afraid to act. The U.S. government can
                                do little to increase oil supply, but steps can be taken to reduce
                                demand. Getting between Americans and their cars is the third rail of
                                American politics. But if the American people refuse to accept some
                                modest discomfort now, they will almost certainly be dealing with higher
                                prices and serious economic disruption later. The obvious solution is
                                for politicians to gather their courage and tackle demand.

                                /The writer, a former assistant secretary of the interior, is chairman
                                of PFC Energy, strategic advisers on international oil and gas./
                              • Patrick McDonough
                                The 22september.org website has a list of European cities that are taking part in Car Free Day. Other than our event in Orange and Durham county in North
                                Message 15 of 17 , Aug 1, 2004
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                                  The 22september.org website has a list of European cities that are
                                  taking part in Car Free Day. Other than our event in Orange and Durham
                                  county in North Carolina, are there any other events going on that
                                  people are organizing or aware of?

                                  Patrick
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