dawie_coetzee | 1 Feb 11:54 2007
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Re: pedestrians fight back

There is a particularly South African factor here, which it might be
worthwhile to explain to those who are not familiar with the country.

We have a long tradition of attaching different meanings to those
used by the rest of the world to words. For instance, in the days of
apartheid, 'location' meant 'black group area suburb' rather than
simply where something was. Similarly, 'taxi' in South Africa
means 'small privately-operated omnibus' rather than 'taximeter cab'.
These are car-sized minibuses operating on set routes, picking up and
dropping off passengers along the way, much like public buses.

The major difference is that they do not constitute a politically
accountable component of an integrated system of public transport.
The industry originated in the 'bad old days' when a minibus-taxi
venture was one of very few business fields open to black people. The
result was far more minibus taxis than the available passenger pool
warranted, consequent fierce competition over routes, and the
emergence of a sort of taxi mafia which regularly resorts to violence
to settle disputes over route allocations, etc. Because of this
ferocity of competition and culture, minibus taxi drivers are
generally considered the most dangerous drivers on South African
roads. Minibus taxis moreover represent a sizeable proportion of all
road traffic.

The current problem is that minibus taxis are generally considered to
be a mode of public transport. Urban designers think they are being
all urban by accommodating taxis, like a sort of third-world Metro in
archipelago form. Local public transport initiatives consequently
tend at least to include new and improved taxi ranks. There are as
yet very few who question this received wisdom. The idea of a system
of public transport in which the minibus taxi does not feature at all
is not considered.

The government is trying to implement a Taxi Recapitalization
Programme against severe opposition from the minibus taxi industry.
This will achieve little more than replacing simple, user-fixable
vehicles used inappropriately with overcomplicated, disposable
vehicles used inappropriately. It will not solve the real problem,
which is that minibus taxis have the same spatial and practical
requirements as any other motor vehicle. A city suited to the minibus
taxi is a car-shaped city.

The beginnings of a shift are there: a recent column by well-known
local journalist John Matshikiza did in fact question the publicness
of the minibus taxi as a mode of transport.

-Dawie

--- In carfree_cities <at> yahoogroups.com, "Andie Miller" <andiem <at> ...>
wrote:
>
> http://www.citizen.co.za/index/article.aspx?pDesc=31444,1,22
> (see pic)
>
> Rubber bullets fired at protesting community
>

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Debra Efroymson | 1 Feb 13:56 2007
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Re: The Zen of Cars, Bikes, and Feet

End world hunger. Feed people, not cars.

The worst design flaw is found not in individual cars,
but in the whole system of designing cities to
accommodate them.

Road kill is no accident. End the slaughter - travel
by gentler means.

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Matt Hohmeister | 7 Feb 22:54 2007
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"New York may ban iPods while crossing street"

http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/ptech/02/07/nyc.ipod.reut/index.html

I'm not sure which one is harder for me to stomach: this, or the Leon
County Sheriff's Office setting up shop outside my high school to
write citations to students for jaywalking.

I'm going to assume here that the city and police are going to
continue doing absolutely nothing about the real problem, using this
only as an excuse to harass people and to say "Well, we tried
something..."

By the way, if this ban is passed, I can almost guarantee that more
citations will be written to people who are younger and/or more
casually dressed. Or, dare I say, not white.

I equate tricks like this to tackling a burglary problem by writing
citations to residents for not arming their burglar alarms.

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Todd Edelman | 7 Feb 23:57 2007

Re: "New York may ban iPods while crossing street"

Hi,

What is the "real" problem? Cars, as you imply, or the larger issue of
people cutting themselves off from the streets they move on using ANY
type of technology?

A person so zoned out in iPodland wont hear bicycle bells, the engine of
an approaching bus, their friend calling to them, or the cries of a
person needing help.

Obviously going after people "Operating electronic device above xdB
whilst engaged in bipedal locomotion" before making any kind of phone
use while driving illegal - and enforcing it - is a joke, but NYC has a
history of going after the "little guy", e.g. cyclists, in recent
activity against Critical Mass, and a few years before that against
cyclists riding on the sidewalk, after one pedestrian was killed.

By choice, I don't and never have used any kind of portable listening
device on the street. I think it is an insult to the Street. I assume
many people feel the same way. Why do we need to isolate ourselves while
in public?

I am not for a law making portable devices illegal while walking, and I
recognize that their use brings pleasure on e.g. long commutes, but on
the other hand I am very curious if many pedestrian-friendly and compact
places also have low use of these devices. Personalised music doesn't
make dangerous noise go away, it just covers it up.

T

Matt Hohmeister wrote:
>
> http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/ptech/02/07/nyc.ipod.reut/index.html
> <http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/ptech/02/07/nyc.ipod.reut/index.html>
>
> I'm not sure which one is harder for me to stomach: this, or the Leon
> County Sheriff's Office setting up shop outside my high school to
> write citations to students for jaywalking...
>
>

--
--------------------------------------------

Todd Edelman
Director
Green Idea Factory

Korunní 72
CZ-10100 Praha 10
Czech Republic

++420 605 915 970
++420 222 517 832
Skype: toddedelman

edelman <at> greenidea.eu
http://www.worldcarfree.net/onthetrain

Green Idea Factory,
a member of World Carfree Network

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c1ttad1no | 8 Feb 02:18 2007
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Re: "New York may ban iPods while crossing street"

--- In carfree_cities <at> yahoogroups.com, Todd Edelman <edelman <at> ...> wrote:
>
>
> A person so zoned out in iPodland wont hear bicycle bells, the
> engine of an approaching bus, their friend calling to them, or the
> cries of a person needing help.

Exactly right. The use, while negotiating shared public space, of
devices that distract one from the here and now, while
deadening/blocking/overloading physical senses that are required to
maintain appropriate awareness of the environment and those with whom
it is shared, is rude, dangerous, and dumb.

Lose the iPods.

-Doug (who mounted an air horn on his bicycle to penetrate
gadget-induced obliviousness)

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Elliot Schwartz | 8 Feb 07:29 2007
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Re: "New York may ban iPods while crossing street"


Todd Edelman <edelman <at> greenidea.info> writes:
> What is the "real" problem? Cars, as you imply, or the larger issue of
> people cutting themselves off from the streets they move on using ANY
> type of technology?

I'm not a big fan of iPods, but I'd still argue against such a law.

There is already not enough of an onus on those driving heavier, faster
vehicles to be responsible for their larger momentum. It seems that drivers
can often get away with excuse like "I didn't see them" or "they came out
of nowhere," and this would just be another excuse.

Drivers should bear the responsibility of conducting their inherently
dangerous activity as safely as possible, even if pedestrians are
deaf, hearing impared, or wearing an iPod.

elliot

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dawie_coetzee | 8 Feb 13:50 2007
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Re: "New York may ban iPods while crossing street"

I would also oppose such a law, firstly for the reason Elliot gives.
The very unpredictability of pedestrian movement is an important
factor that determines a public space as a predominantly pedestrian
space in which motor vehicles are rather awkward guests.

But secondly, I would oppose such a law on the principle that
endangering oneself is a basic human right. If iPod users are placing
themselves at risk, I would go to great lengths to defend their right
to do so. I mean in that way, not only by incurring state violence by
resisting arrest...

Thirdly, the absence of regulation (and the anonymity!) is one of the
great appeals of the pedestrian mode of moving. What's next? Licence
plates for pedestrians? Speed limits? Turn-signal epaulettes?

There is an important cultural reason why pedestrians ought to be
allowed to do pretty much whatever they bloody well like. In the
West, we have little in the way of rites of initiation, except that
one is an adult when one may cross the street unattended. Jaywalking
laws are as insulting to Westerners as addressing him as "boy" is to
an African man who has gone through agony to earn the right to be
called "man".

-Dawie

--- In carfree_cities <at> yahoogroups.com, Elliot Schwartz <es <at> ...> wrote:
>
>
> Todd Edelman <edelman <at> ...> writes:
> > What is the "real" problem? Cars, as you imply, or the larger
issue of
> > people cutting themselves off from the streets they move on using
ANY
> > type of technology?
>
> I'm not a big fan of iPods, but I'd still argue against such a law.
>
> There is already not enough of an onus on those driving heavier,
faster
> vehicles to be responsible for their larger momentum. It seems that
drivers
> can often get away with excuse like "I didn't see them" or "they
came out
> of nowhere," and this would just be another excuse.
>
> Drivers should bear the responsibility of conducting their
inherently
> dangerous activity as safely as possible, even if pedestrians are
> deaf, hearing impared, or wearing an iPod.
>
> elliot
>

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Todd Edelman | 8 Feb 15:24 2007

Re: Re: "New York may ban iPods while crossing street"

Hi again,

I am totally against any laws regarding using portable electronic
devices whilst walking... on public transport it is a little different
as it is a space in which you often cannot re-locate.

It is also fine for people to be anonymous (you don't have to give your
name if you help or smile at someone on the street...and so on...). The
problem is being oblivious!

The main reason for pedestrians to carry ID these days is so if a car
hits them and they are killed or worse, their family members can be found.

T

dawie_coetzee wrote:
>
> I would also oppose such a law, firstly for the reason Elliot gives.
> The very unpredictability of pedestrian movement is an important
> factor that determines a public space as a predominantly pedestrian
> space in which motor vehicles are rather awkward guests.
>

[...]

--------------------------------------------

Todd Edelman
Director
Green Idea Factory

Korunní 72
CZ-10100 Praha 10
Czech Republic

++420 605 915 970
++420 222 517 832
Skype: toddedelman

edelman <at> greenidea.eu
http://www.worldcarfree.net/onthetrain

Green Idea Factory,
a member of World Carfree Network

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c1ttad1no | 8 Feb 17:39 2007
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Re: "New York may ban iPods while crossing street"

--- In carfree_cities <at> yahoogroups.com, "dawie_coetzee"
<dawie_coetzee <at> ...> wrote:
>
> I would also oppose such a law, firstly for the reason Elliot gives.
> The very unpredictability of pedestrian movement is an important
> factor that determines a public space as a predominantly pedestrian
> space in which motor vehicles are rather awkward guests.

I think all this protesting about the sacred right of pedestrians to
be free and unfettered while wandering unpredictably through the
shared environment is, essentially, anti-social.

At the very least, pedestrians, or others, involved in collisions
(with vehicles, cyclists, other pedestrians, stationary hazards, etc.)
while distracting themselves and deadening their senses should be
presumed responsible, as motorists are presumed responsible for
collisions with non-motorized traffic in some European nations.

> But secondly, I would oppose such a law on the principle that
> endangering oneself is a basic human right.

Perhaps, but endangering others, or even impeding or inconveniencing
them, for no better reason than entertainment or personal preference,
is neither a right nor a privilege. If one wants to endanger oneself,
it would be courteous to do so where others will not be affected,
including by the trauma of witnessing or disposing of one's mangled
corpse.

-Doug

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Andrew Hitchcock | 8 Feb 19:25 2007

Re: Re: "New York may ban iPods while crossing street"

This is ridiculous.

c1ttad1no wrote:
>
>
> --- In carfree_cities <at> yahoogroups.com
> <mailto:carfree_cities%40yahoogroups.com>, "dawie_coetzee"
> <dawie_coetzee <at> ...> wrote:
> >
> > I would also oppose such a law, firstly for the reason Elliot gives.
> > The very unpredictability of pedestrian movement is an important
> > factor that determines a public space as a predominantly pedestrian
> > space in which motor vehicles are rather awkward guests.
>
> I think all this protesting about the sacred right of pedestrians to
> be free and unfettered while wandering unpredictably through the
> shared environment is, essentially, anti-social.
>
> At the very least, pedestrians, or others, involved in collisions
> (with vehicles, cyclists, other pedestrians, stationary hazards, etc.)
> while distracting themselves and deadening their senses should be
> presumed responsible, as motorists are presumed responsible for
> collisions with non-motorized traffic in some European nations.

People have other senses besides there ears. If you are going to
automatically blame people who have less-heightened senses, then you are
placing blame on deaf people, blind people, and the elderly.

>
> > But secondly, I would oppose such a law on the principle that
> > endangering oneself is a basic human right.
>
> Perhaps, but endangering others, or even impeding or inconveniencing
> them, for no better reason than entertainment or personal preference,
> is neither a right nor a privilege. If one wants to endanger oneself,
> it would be courteous to do so where others will not be affected,
> including by the trauma of witnessing or disposing of one's mangled
> corpse.

I live near a college campus, the sidewalks are fairly crowded and many,
many people use iPods or other digital audio players. Despite this, I
have yet to see any 12 human pileups resulting in loss of life.
Amazingly, people still know how to walk while listening to music.

Meanwhile, people in my city are hit in crosswalks when they have the
right of way even without using headphones.

I used to wear headphones all the time when walking around. I don't now
because I know lots of people so I'm always saying hi or stopping to
chat. However, sometimes when I'm not feeling social (either deep in
thought or in a bad mood), I'll use my iPod.

If you want to ban all anti-social activities (such as listening to
headphones in public), well, I might as well unsubscribe from this list
now, because the carfree city you envision is very different than the
carfree city I envision, and one in which I would not want to live.

Andrew

>
> -Doug
>
>

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