Charles Wu | 4 Oct 15:23 2006
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Car Free Introductory Profile.

INTRODUCTORY PROFILE

1. Which of the following best describes you? Please check one.
__ I do not presently own a car though I have owned a car previously.
__ I am car-free and have never owned a car
_X_ I own a car but use other forms of transport frequently

2. How long have you been either car-free or used non- 
automotive       transport as your principle means of transportation?

I was car free for a month and a half when I tried an experiment  
documented in a blog "Car(e)free in California" where I wrote about  
the challenges of living car free in a place designed for cars, I  
found out that once you established a rhythm it is almost possible.  
Ironically, it was outside of the rhythm that it became painful and I  
capitulated.

As I said though, new habits die hard. For local trips even though I  
purchased a car, i still ride my bike most of the time, so my car  
free experienced challenged the assumption that you need to use a car  
as long as you choose your living arrangements well.

The blog is at http://carfreeincalifornia.blogspot.com

3. What inspired your decision to reduce or end your reliance on the  
automobile?

Sudden loss of car, and cost and hassle led to a moment of whimsy to  
see how far could I go.

(Continue reading)

willtell9z | 5 Oct 13:02 2006
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New monbiot stuff

George Monbiot has set up another great website dealing mainly this 
time with Greenwash.  
See http://www.turnuptheheat.org

I think this has become necessary  because, as so many of us must have 
been noticing recently, there's  been such an avalanche of greenwash 
in growing momentum. And a reason behind this is probably because 
global warming/climate change  has  become undeniable. Some who might  
have denied before cant now without looking   stupid-just as stupid as 
those still denying the Holocaust.  

But I've detected   politicians, celebrities, bent academics, probably 
technocrats-all manner of crooks on the make-are becoming adept at 
pretending to be green.  One little example   I've just seen:   An 
interview with some publisher of travel books, promoting flights and 
tours to  Asia, Africa etc., : of course this guy boasts that its 
''eco-travel'', and of course he has a  car running on biofuel.  Save 
us please.

In the review article (see below)  about  Monbiot's new book he gives  
a very similar example  about an   ''environmentalist friend'' who 
spends her holidays snorkelling in the Pacific. "She doesn't get there 
by bicycle," he adds angrily.'' Yup that's the kind of anger I get too 
and increasingly coming across people of this ilk.  

Good to have a writer like  George dealing with this kind of stuff on 
his  site, (though in the articlesthere I've read so far he's is 
dealing with  slightly bigger greenwash  fish, eg Bransom).

The new site must  go hand in hand with Monbiot's new book- Heat.
(Continue reading)

Simon Norton | 5 Oct 16:06 2006
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disability v safety

I was once told that chicanes, as staggered railings are known, are an essential
safety requirement in certain places to slow cyclists down.

There are other cases where the interests of disabled people conflict with those
of safety, for example when the only step free way for rail passengers to get to
a platform is across the tracks. Maybe in due course such stations should expect
to get ramped footbridges, for example, but if this were made a legal requrement
we would no doubt be told that it was uneconomic for smaller stations which
would have to close, which would benefit nobody.

I agree with the rest of David Hansen's post, except that in one place it seems
to have a typo, saying Group 1 where Group 2 is meant. In pretending that there
was a hard and fast distinction between these two groups of cyclists, I was of
course deliberately oversimplifying, and I fully recognise that cyclists can
switch between these modes in mid journey.

Incidentally one thing I noticed when walking along canals in London at night
time recently is that allowing cyclists on them can increase one's sense of
security against mugging.

 Simon Norton

  Problem?  Email:  CarFree-owners@...

Yahoo! Groups Links

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CarFree/

<*> Your email settings:
(Continue reading)

Robert J. Matter | 5 Oct 21:13 2006
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Jobless Germans face giving up their cars

http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=oddlyEnoughNews&storyID=2006-10-05T124152Z_01_L04547895_RTRUKOC_0_US-GERMANY-CARS.xml&WTmodLoc=OddNewsHome_C2_oddlyEnoughNews-4

Thu Oct 5, 2006 8:42am ET168

Jobless Germans face giving up their cars: report

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germans on the dole might be forced
to give up anything more than the most modest of cars
to help support themselves if a plan by conservative
political leaders is approved, German media reported
on Wednesday.

A group of Christian Democrats in parliament wants to
introduce legislation that would put a formal limit of
10,000 euros ($12,700) on one car for each family
receiving welfare, Focus magazine online reported.

Until now, Germans on the dole have usually been
allowed to keep cars worth up to 14,500 euros.

Stories about welfare recipients driving expensive
cars have enraged taxpayers in the past but previous
attempts to force the sale of cars before the grant of
financial support have been rejected by courts,
prompting the parliamentary initiative.

A Christian Democrat spokesman said the party was
still working on the proposal and hoped to have a
detailed plan ready this week.

(Continue reading)

Larisa M. | 6 Oct 06:39 2006
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Re: If it is free will they use it?

--- In CarFree@..., Bling Williams <bobalinga <at> ...> wrote:
>
> Seems to me that at 50 cents its practibly free already. 50 Canadian
cents is about 25 pence in England. I pay £2.70 to get into town and
the same to get back and the UK has a higher bus ridership. My son
pays £14 a week to get to school (bout Can$28 I'm guessing)
>   Its not always the money that puts people off, its reliability,
cleanliness and sharing your space with the great unwashed with leaky
headphones.

Not really; it's convenience and time.  I'm living in Philadelphia
now; if I want to go somewhere, I walk out of my apartment building to
a bus stop on the same block, wait no more than 10 minutes and catch
the bus - which will take me to any of the places I want to go in a
time comparable to the time it would take to drive (actually, probably
less time, if you factor in the time it takes to find a parking spot).
 I don't mind paying $2 for this service - compared with the costs of
driving (and parking), it's cheap.  

When I lived in San Antonio, TX, and I wanted to go somewhere, I could
walk 8 miles to the nearest bus station (in 100 degree heat - fun,
no?), catch a bus that ran once every hour, if then, and go to only
the few limited places that the bus route covered.  I don't care if
that bus was free; I don't care if they paid me to ride it; it was
still completely useless.

What cities need is not "education" - they need good bus service that
actually works.  Then, the public will "educate" itself - and pay for
it if it's worth it.  

(Continue reading)

David Hansen | 6 Oct 09:18 2006
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Re: disability v safety

On 5 Oct 2006 at 15:06, Simon Norton wrote:

> There are other cases where the interests of disabled people conflict
> with those of safety, for example when the only step free way for rail
> passengers to get to a platform is across the tracks.

I think this issue demonstrates a particularly UK obsession with safety 
at all costs on railways. Crossing the line on the level is probably 
safer than crossing the road outside the station on the level, but 
officials worry about the former but not the latter.

Overseas one sees a far more grown up attitude. Railways are largely 
unfenced and there is not a holocaust of people being struck by trains. 

--

-- 
  David Hansen, Edinburgh 
 I will *always* explain revoked encryption keys, unless RIP prevents 
me
 http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/00023--e.htm#54

  Problem?  Email:  CarFree-owners@...

Yahoo! Groups Links

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CarFree/

<*> Your email settings:
    Individual Email | Traditional

(Continue reading)

Bling Williams | 6 Oct 10:55 2006
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Re: Jobless Germans face giving up their cars

Mmmmm, dunno if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Do the germans make you sell the family jewells TV's etc
when you lose your job? If a car is already bought and paid for then it doesn'r make sense really.
  I know many people DO sell a car when jobless but thats cos they can no longer afford to run it.

  Shyrley

"Robert J. Matter" <rjmatter@...> wrote:
          http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=oddlyEnoughNews&storyID=2006-10-05T124152Z_01_L04547895_RTRUKOC_0_US-GERMANY-CARS.xml&WTmodLoc=OddNewsHome_C2_oddlyEnoughNews-4

Thu Oct 5, 2006 8:42am ET168

Jobless Germans face giving up their cars: report

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germans on the dole might be forced
to give up anything more than the most modest of cars
to help support themselves if a plan by conservative
political leaders is approved, German media reported
on Wednesday.

A group of Christian Democrats in parliament wants to
introduce legislation that would put a formal limit of
10,000 euros ($12,700) on one car for each family
receiving welfare, Focus magazine online reported.

Until now, Germans on the dole have usually been
allowed to keep cars worth up to 14,500 euros.

Stories about welfare recipients driving expensive
cars have enraged taxpayers in the past but previous
attempts to force the sale of cars before the grant of
(Continue reading)

Jym Dyer | 7 Oct 00:10 2006

AP\The Best Way To Calm Down

=v= Great photo in today's newspaper of Londoners in business
suits smashing up a car to relieve stress.  Yahoo! News has
to photos of this lovely event!

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/061005/481/c43dc53cca4242f4990e1d2c945b9e81

http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20061005/capt.c43dc53cca4242f4990e1d2c945b9e81.aptopix_britain_stress_lkw109.jpg

City workers Graham Drew, left, and Peter MacIntosh, top, smash
up an old car with baseball bats in London, Thursday Oct. 5,
2006. The workers were trying out a new form of stress busting
therapy, after a poll revealed that kicking, punching or
breaking an object is the best way to calm down.
(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) (410x296)

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/061005/481/1bc000beb9af49d191f50a9cb65bbde1

http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20061005/capt.1bc000beb9af49d191f50a9cb65bbde1.britain__lkw110.jpg

City worker Graham Drew smashes up an old car with a baseball
bat in London, Thursday Oct. 5, 2006. City workers were trying
out a new form of stress busting therapy, after a poll revealed
that kicking, punching or breaking an object is the best way to
calm down.
(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) (341x410)

=v= The URLs that end with .jpg are actually bigger than the
ones that are resized to fit on the news.yahoo.com pages, but
they're probably not as persistent.  All of these links will
expire at some point, so see 'em now!
(Continue reading)

De Clarke | 7 Oct 01:52 2006

the land's last crop: cars and paving


as the US population reaches 300 mio, Lester Brown muses
on the implications of "the American Way of Life" for 
an ever increasing population:

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

    In the United States, more people means more cars. And that 
in turn means paving more land for roads and parking lots. Each 
US car requires nearly one fifth of an acre of paved land for 
roads and parking space. For every five cars added to the US 
fleet, an area the size of a football field is covered with 
asphalt. 

    More often than not, this land being paved is cropland 
simply because the flat, well-drained soils that are good for 
farming are also ideal for building roads and parking lots. 
Once paved, land is not easily reclaimed. As environmentalist 
Rupert Cutler once noted, "Asphalt is the land's last crop." 

    The United States, with its 226 million motor vehicles, has 
paved some 4 million miles of roads - enough to circle the 
Earth at the equator 157 times. In addition to roads, cars 
require parking space. Imagine a parking lot for 226 million 
cars and trucks. If that is too difficult, try visualizing a 
parking lot for 1,000 cars and then imagine what 226,000 of 
these would look like. (See Paving the Planet.) 

    More cars also translates into more traffic congestion. 
Americans are spending more and more time sitting in their cars 
(Continue reading)

renegadebuddhacoach | 9 Oct 10:17 2006
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not so far off now

The Pedestrian
              By Ray Bradbury (author of Farenheit 451 and avid 
walker)

                      To enter out into that silence that was the 
city at eight 
              o'clock of a misty evening in November, to put your 
feet upon that 
              buckling concrete walk, to step over grassy seams and 
make your way, 
              hands in pockets, through the silences, that was what 
Mr. Leonard
              Mead 
              most dearly loved to do.  He would stand upon the 
coner of an 
              intersection and peer down long moonlit avenues of 
sidewalk in four 
              directions, deciding which way to go, but it really 
made no 
              difference; he was alone in this world of 2052 A.D., 
or as good as 
              along, and with a final decision made, a path 
selected, he would 
              stride off, sending patterns of frosty air before him 
like the smoke 
              of a cigar.
                      Sometimes he would walk for hours and miles 
and return only at 
              midnight to his house.  And on his way he would see 
cottages and
(Continue reading)


Gmane