Check with your local police department to find the location of the first pedestrian death in your town. Work to see a memorial plaque placed there.
The prevalent conception [is that] the main purpose of traffic is to enable a maximum number of citizens to derive all possible benefits from the use of automobiles.... Transportation -- I blush to utter a truism now so frequently ignored -- is a means and not an end.... Like any other tool, it must be used for some human purpose beyond the employment of the tool itself.... [B]efore we cut any more chunks out of our parks to make room for more automobiles or let another highway cloverleaf unfold, we should look at the transformation that has taken place during the last 30 years in Manhattan.... The private motorcar [is] a method that happens to be, on the basis of the number of people it transports, by far the most wasteful of urban space. Because we have apparently decided that the private motorcar has a sacred right to go anywhere, halt anywhere, and remain anywhere as long as its owner chooses, we have neglected other means of transportation.... Instead of curing congestion, they [planners] widen chaos.
--From Landscape Architecture, an issue from some time in 1990.
42 Street was open for Buses and human-powered transportation only. Bus speeds rose 29% eastbound and 9% westbound. On adjacent streets open to all traffic, eastbound speeds increased 16% and westbound speeds by 18%. Overall traffic in Midtown Manhattan declined by 21%.
The bicycle lane in Central Park was permanently extended to encompass the southern loop. This increased bicycle use by 60% in the morning rush and 180% in the evening rush.
The existing bicycle lanes on 6 Av. (northbound) and Broadway/5 Av. (southbound) were cordoned off by cones for the day. This widened the bikelane to include the lane in which cars usually park. This increased bicycle volumes by 51% on 6 Av. and 61% on Broadway/5 Av.
--Based on an article by Christina Sekulla, SMART Moves; Vol. 1, No. 6; published by NYC DOT, 1990.
Recently, bicycle transportation has received popular and research attention. It has become apparent that bicycle transportation is a possible alternative for solving the problems of immobility, traffic congestion, air pollution and energy shortages. However, there has been little research on the actual reasons why people choose bicycles as a transportation mode.
--Donna Lott and Dale Lott (Bicycle Research Associates, Davis, CA) and Timothy Tardiff (U Cal. Davis); Bicycle Transportation for Downtown Work Trips: A Case Study in Davis, California.
Although some traffic experts had predicted that closing 42d Street would create a gridlock nightmare, transportation officials said traffic in midtown was 20 percent lighter than normal yesterday because alert motorists had avoided the area.
"I've never seen it so light," said Aaron Anderson, a traffic agent assigned to keep traffic moving at the intersection of 43d Street and Broadway. "I think people were smart and heeded the warning and didn't drive into the city today."
Mohammed Hassan, manager of Bryant Imports, an electronics store near Fifth Avenue, said: "It's almost one o'clock and I've only had two customers today. See those shipments there in the corner [of the store]? Well, my customers will have to wait another day to receive their merchandise because there's no parcel post pickup." [Well, if this were a long term project, there would be deliveries made. It seems best if the network of greenstreets could get deliveries around the clock.]
--Calvin Sims, "On Car-Free 42d Street, only Merchants Fumed," New York Times, April 20, 1990.
--Newsweek, August 29, 1988.
Similar statements were made by the CBI last year, and the Government is coming under increasing pressure to take action. The Lord Mayor's report calls for more investment in public transport, and recommends much higher parking charges, stronger enforcement of parking controls and a programme of more extensive bus lanes. Sir Hugh also stated that introduction of some form of road pricing (making drivers pay an extra charge to bring their cars into central London) will be "essential to achieve efficient management and development of London's transport."
--London Cyclist, July/August 1990. London Cycling Campaign
--Wall Street Journal, 3/8/90
--International Bicycle Fund News, Summer 1990
--International Bicycle Fund News, Summer 1990
--Wall Street Journal, 5/25/90
--London Cyclist, Jan/Feb 1990. London Cycling Campaign
--London Cyclist, Jan/Feb 1990. London Cycling Campaign
As a sort of retro-vision of the future, trail advocates would like to see a path connecting all the cities of America. The trail would snake through forests and farmlands, the bright lights of downtown areas and the calm of suburbia -- a walkway for Americans who believe that the automobile has put too much distance between them and their country.
--Timothy Egan, "A Stroll in the Country For City Dwellers, Starting Downtown," New York Times, June 24, 1990, p.E5
--Michael Vandeman, Legal Tools For Stopping Freeway Expansion, July 19, 1988.
--Michael Vandeman for the Sierra Club, Transportation / Air Quality Fact Sheet, May 14, 1989.
"Company-assisted private motoring has become a perk with terrible consequences," it says, "the tax avoided comes to more than all the subsidies to public transport put together. It distorts London's travel patterns, increases congestion and pollution and should be removed at once."
Looking at the problems caused by this 'perk' from quite a different angle, a recent item in the Daily Telegraph stated that some firms are considering its abolishment because of "office jealousy." Apparently bickering amongst executives as to whether their car should be fuel-injected or turbo-charged is taking up an inordinate amount of director's time. And although the car may be worth far less than other bonuses offered to 'top managers,' some will ask for these to be lowered in exchange for an electric sun roof!
The ALA report (which is not connected with office squabbling) is called Keep London Moving and is priced at [5 Pounds].
--London Cyclist, Jan/Feb 1990. London Cycling Campaign
A broad outline of the kinds of measures in force or proposed in cities outside the US would be:
Drivers who enter illegally are subject to a relatively high fines.
1985 survey showed 23% decrease in private cars, 26% increase in taxis. I don't have a figure for the modes combined, but surveys did show a 7% reduction in bus travel times through the restricted area. There were small reductions in CO, NOx and HC emissions.
Mexico City: Latest and possibly most successful daily restriction program. Began November 1989. Government says it has reduced air pollution by 10 to 15%. Independent environmentalists cite a more conservative 7 to 10% reduction, but a Wall St. Journal report says they are impressed nonetheless.
There is a $150 fine for violators. Billboards display a NO DRIVING TODAY sign, a steering wheel divided into 5 segments, each one bearing the license number endings prohibited from driving on a given business day.
Among the design methods: creating zig-zags by staggering parking prohibition on different sides of the street; planting trees in the parking lanes; "silent policemen" which are road bumps to slow traffic; widening of sidewalks at intersections [and crosswalks] for pedestrian safety; parking on parallel on one side and diagonal on the other with total number of parking spaces remaining constant; 20 mph speed limit [that's still fast]; varied paving materials.
The Dutch "woonerf" and the German "Verkersberuhigung" techniques are the most advanced examples of this kind of design.
--David Gurin, Traffic Controls in Cities Abroad, May 2, 1990.
--summarized from The Urban Ecologist, Summer 1990.
--Early Summer '90 Update, Fossil Fuels Policy Action Institute, POB 8558, Fredericksburg, VA, 22404. tel. 703/371-0222.
--Based on a presentation by V. Setty Pendakur (Professor, University of British Columbia); Ecocity Conference 1990 Report of the First International Ecocity Conference, Edited by Christopher Canfield. Published by Urban Ecology, POB 10144, Berkeley, CA 94709. Tel. 415/549-1724
--Wall Street Journal, 5/25/90
--27 NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL, LABOR AND STATE TRANSIT GROUPS UNVEIL ALTERNATIVE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION POLICY, contact Harriet Parcells: Campaign for New Transportation Priorities.
Every time he sees another highway under construction, he says, "I ask myself, 'Has anybody sat down to ask whether in 40 or 50 years are we really going to be swimming in oil?'"
--Interview in Christian Science Monitor with Professor Amitai Etzioni, Center for Policy Research, George Washington University, April 3, 1987.
--"Strategies for Energy Use," Scientific American, September 1989.
The current gas tax is 31 percent. In Britain it is 64 percent, in France 76 percent, in Denmark 78 percent. An annual five-cent increase for 10 years would be tolerable, especially since very would be tolerable, especially since very few people will cut back on driving,whatever the cost of gasoline.
Since 44,000 people a year die on our highways and since 80,000 are permanently injured by cars, it is essential that we expand both mass transit and Amtrak in order to reduce this waste of life.
The first five-cent increase should be allocated as follows: one penny for Amtrak so it can order new equipment and expand its system; one penny to the Federal Railroad Administration so it will have funds to share with states for mass transit projects [and rail freight]; and three cents for mass transit so we can reduce auto use, clean up our air and put the brakes on global warming.
No one seems to be able to recall what OPEC did to us in 1973 and 1979. We are already back in the lap of foreign oil exporters. In the second quarter of this year we paid than $10.2 billion.
Certainly Americans should be willing to make a small gas tax sacrifice to help America get off its knees and stand tall again.
--Samuel Stokes Jr., "Do Increase The Gas Tax To Help Improve This Nation," [sic]. A guest editorial in Bellow Falls, VT. Town Crier. Stokes is a board member of the National Assoc. of Railroad Passengers.
Traffic safety is not perceived as a major issue in places where pedestrian precincts have been opened for cyclists. However, cyclists here typically ride rather slowly and yield or stop for oncoming pedestrians.
A German demonstration and research project, based on the aim to reduce car traffic in cities by improving conditions for cyclists, was carried out in Germany between 1981 and 1987. Two medium-sized cities, Rosenheim and Detmold, were chosen for the project out of 131 cities that applied. Studies showed that there was potential to double bicycle traffic if the bicycle became more attractive and the car less attractive. The project incorporated road capacity reduction for motorized traffic, extension of the bicycle network, and other measures. Initially proposals to reduce road capacity provoked resistance in politicians and local planners, indicating that many had supported their town's application only to get additional federal funding for bicycle facilities and not to rework related traffic politics.
--Jim Freemont, Proceedings from Pro Bike 88. Bike Federation, 1818 R St. NW, Washington, DC. 20009. 202/332-6986.
The mere existence of high-quality mass transit service does not guarantee its use. Research has clearly shown that transit use relates not only to the quality of the transit service provided, but to the ease and cost of automobile use as well. While traffic congestion that motorists encounter on route to the waterfront will deter some from electing to travel by car, traffic congestion by itself is an ineffective deterrent. The presence of excessive parking, available at no cost or at nominal cost to users, will prompt many to drive even if they must contend with congestion. p.5-117
--Hudson River Waterfront Transportation Study, Technical Report, April 1986.
--Blueprint for the Environment. [This publication may have something to do with the National Clean Air Coalition and published in 1989 --DC]
Business Week estimates that about half of all US political contributions, legal and illegal, come from the highway lobby.
Over greater distances, where a lane of highway carries 3,600 people per hour by car, 42,000 could go by train of 60,000 by bus.
More is spent on cars than on clothing, and roughly 70 percent of state capital funds are used for building and maintaining roads.
In the city, a car moving a t thirty miles per hour requires as much space as sixty pedestrians.
In the face of a population explosion an insatiable demand for energy after World War II, the automobile was made less efficient. Today's standard American car gets fewer miles to the gallon than did its predecessor fifty years ago.
Besides repeating solutions that don't work, ignoring ones that might work is also a mainstay of the automobile culture. Chevrolet, to cite a classic case, designed a promising pollution-control valve in 1924, then dropped it. Today, the automakers are conspicuously not building Rankine vapor-cycle external combustion engines, which dispense with transmission, starter motor, carburetor, and engine-block cooling system and which burn inexpensive fuel such as kerosene without emitting pollutants to any great extent.
Every such campaign should include an effort to draw in greedy, ambitious, ruthless allies, and give them an incentive to bury Detroit. these allies would equal in guile the land speculators who, after bribes are deducted, typically make a 2,000 percent profit when a new highway comes through. They should equal in predatory skill the door-to-door salesman who trade on status anxiety.
One obvious place to look of allies is the chemical industry. Adoption of the Rankine vapor-cycle external combustion engine, for instance, would boost the sales of heat exchangers, high-temperature lubricants, and fluorocarbon fluids (and probably lower the cost of oil for petrochemicals by lowering the demand for gasoline). The electric equipment and electric power industries are logical places to look, too, even though the oil companies have a hold there through ownership of much of the coal and gas that fuels the plants. the makers, installers and merchandisers of electronic equipment, to name further prospects, stand to benefit from more accessibility for less locomotion.
Homeowners as a class offer another possibility. Pollution is getting worse in the suburbs and staying high over weekends. Houses are likely to fetch a premium in any district that lowers its rating on the smog index several points below the figure for the surrounding region.
Every campaign for sensible transportation should try to create disincentives against the use of the automobile. Selective destruction of highways is desirable, for example, to make it harder to get from place to place by car or truck; and additional congestion in town is worth seeking. Disguises and pretexts have to be found to pursue such goals, because passionate attachment to the automobile, cultural inertia, and vested interest would need to be called something like the American Land Expansion Program in public and explained in private as a windfall for contractors, bureaucrats, and union business agents -- all those specifications and inspections, all that paving to be torn up, all the space to replant.
Similarly, the widening of the sidewalks might be presented as the Boulevard Movement for the benefit of merchants, shoppers, schoolchildren, buyers of front footage, and others. Even in elaborate disguise, of course, only a few anti-automobile measures are likely to slip through for a while. On the other hand, traffic is so heavy in most metropolitan areas that a slight additional impediment may bring on a crisis from which the automobile will never recover.
Disguises are plentiful. The so-called oil shortage, for example, though perhaps brought on prematurely by the oil companies, was due sooner or later anyway -- the result of severing consumption capacity from the earth's resource base. Under cover of "saving gasoline" on could lobby for mandatory engine tune-ups twice a year with a system of "licensing" official mechanics to make them artificially scarce like doctors and plumbers. The periodic worry over long waits and finding interim transportation might hasten the end of the automobile.
In the guise of fighting air pollution and noise as well as "saving gasoline," one could advocate reviving streetcars. Double tracks down the clogged streets of most cities would make driving unbearable. The good old cry of "keep taxes down" should be applied to road surfacing materials and maintenance schedules. With the sheer volume of traffic already on the verge of defeating presenting paving technology, only a little more deterioration would be necessary to generate countless potholes.
These are only a few examples. The possibilities are endless. To get two or three minutes more walking time a traffic signals in the city might pay off tenfold in obstruction. The crucial thing is to put further disincentives to work when any aspect of motoring improves temporarily. Otherwise a decongestion effect is predictable: if the streets clear a bit, everyone will think of driving again unless other pressures are increased.
--Robert Erwin, "Dead End: America on Wheels," The Progressive, December 1974.
While on the FDR Drive, a limited access highway on Manhattan's East Side, an auto driver approached congestion caused by a pedestrian standing in the middle of the road. A brick came through the window and the person reached in and grabbed her purse off the front passenger seat.
reported in the September 3, 1990 issue of the New York Observer.
--Christopher Daggett, "Smog, More Smog and Still More Smog, New York Times, January 23, 1988.
A South Coast Air Quality Management District regulation requires large companies to reduce worker's use of cars. "They're making progress," though slowly, a district spokeswoman says. 20th Century Industries, an insurance firm, offered carrots like good parking spaces, but that had little effect. So the company tried the stick: $30-a-month parking charges; "almost overnight," 200 car pools formed.
Atlantic Richfield offered employees $100 a month to take buses to work, and was "overwhelmed" by new bus riders. Los Angeles will subsidize up to 1,000 new van pools; Mayor Bradley also proposes giving employers a discount on ridesharing taxi service they purchase for the workers and requiring them to match parking subsidies paid to workers with transit aid.
[Also, it goes to reason, if companies stopped giving cars to their employees, or provided equal cash settlements to those who don't want the car, driving would be reduced.]
--Wall Street Journal, January 15, 1991
Vienna's most prestigious commercial street, the Graben, was converted to pedestrian-only status this summer, matching other streets in the same area. As in Bermany, Vienna's pedestrian-street movement originally began some ten years ago. Store owners initially worried that business would be hurt, but tests showed that sales actually increased.
--The Urban Ecologist, Fall, 1990. Urban Ecology, POB 10114, Berkeley, CA 94709. 415/549-1724.
--Mark Uhlig, "Gasping, Mexicans Act to Clear the Capital's Air," New York Times, January 31, 1991.
On the other hand, our study found that the County could accommodate twice as many households and jobs as today without excessive traffic problems if most new growth was clustered in pedestrian and bicycle friendly centers focused on an expanded rail transit and busway system, with shifts in commuter subsidies to favor alternatives to the automobile. Attaining this would require shifting from a 75% automobile driver mode share to a 50% automobile driver mode share for commuter trips made by County residents.
A fundamental conclusion of our study was that the pattern of growth is more important than the place or amount of growth in determining the level of traffic congestion and resource use. The strategy that clustered development to favor transit, pedestrians, an bicycles led to roughly half the level of energy use and air pollution as the sprawled automobile oriented strategy. These findings are now being incorporated into revisions of the County's growth management system and master plans for land use and transportation, although it will take years to effect the fundamental reform of many related local policies.
--Michael Replogle, Public Transportation for the New Century. Prepared for presentation to the Transit 2000 Conference in Chicago, Nov. 15, 1990.
The loss of the Cypress Freeway also caused 90,000 trips to disappear....
There is no evidence I am aware of that HOV lanes increase the proportion of HOV use. In fact, studies in Santa Clara County have shown that despite the new HOV lanes, the percentage of commuters carpooling has decreased...
--Michael Vandeman, Correspondence to Preston Kelley, District Director of the California DOT, regarding the EIS for the I-880/Cypress Freeway replacement, December 23, 1990.
If, as you assert in the EIS/EIR, the freeway will be so good for air quality and noise levels, I have a challenge for you: Why don't you and your senior staff move to homes next to the existing or proposed freeway?
--Michael Vandeman, Correspondence to Preston Kelley, District Director of the California DOT, regarding the EIS for the I-880/Cypress Freeway replacement, January 13, 1991.
State Reforms. A higher gasoline tax could be justified on several bases. First, it would produces large sums of recurring revenues. For example, a 15 cents per gallon increase would generate approximately $800 million annually. A larger increase might not generate an equivalent multiple because the demand for gasoline is not completely inelastic, but reduced automobile usage would serve other positive interests including cleaner air, expanded use of mass transportation, and energy conservation. In addition the State's gasoline taxes have not been increased for a long time and are relatively low [the second lowest in the nation, 8 cents/gallon], which suggest that an increase would have minimal effects on the state's competitiveness.
--The Fiscal Problem of the Two New Yorks: Size, Nature and Possible Solutions, Citizens Budget Commission, May 1991.
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