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One year and counting
by Robb and Nancy Davis

Comment submitted via Web form, July 5, 2004:

As an encouragement to all we simply wanted to share that we have been car free for one year and three months now and don't miss it. Sure we live in a bike friendly town (Davis, CA) and have mostly good weather, but we have experienced a sense of liberation and joy by not contributing to so much of the hyperconumption culture around us. Here is the key: without a car you ARE less mobile and can't go just anywhere at the drop of a hat. While this might sound like a bad thing to many, we find that it has actually made life simpler and allows us to consume everything less. Basically, when you can't hop in your car and go and buy, you think about what you really NEED (not what the moment tells you you need).

Good luck everyone trying to make this switch. You will find it a joy and it will open lots of other doors for positive change. Oh yeah, it has great health benefits too.


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Call to Action--Help save the Historic Century building in St. Louis
by Nathan Sprehe

Request for help submitted via Web form, July 3, 2004:

I am a member of the yahoo group the Rehabbersclub (http://www.rehabbersclub.org), a group of over 1,000 St. Louis city rehabbers and preservations, and I come to you with a plea for help. We are fighting to save a beautiful building in downtown St. Louis called the Century building from being demolished for a 1,000 space parking garage. Here is a picture: http://www.mstl.org/projects/century-building.

We are asking other people who are committed to sustainable building/living to sign our online potition which asks the National Trust for historic preservation to reconsider its support in this project. The petition can be found at: http://www.petitiononline.com/63004cb/petition.html, where a description of what's going on can be found. Below is a short summary.

The developers of the Old Post Office want to demolish the Century building and build a 1,000 space parking garage. A parking study was conducted for this project and found that less than 200 spaces were needed. Several proposals for development of the Old Post Office have even proposed putting a 500 space garage into the century with office space and retail on the ground floor and they have not even been considered. Not to mention that there are 2 garages within a block that are a far cry from being at capacity and can provide adequate parking for the project.

The developers should not be able to get Historic Tax Credits for this project, because it involves tearing down a building on the National Register of Historic Places, when other options are available, yet the National Trust is behind them. The National Trust's own ad: http://jitneyboy.com/national_trust.jpg denounces the tearing down of significant buildings for parking garages.

Every time St. Louis tears down another building, we lose more of our history, urban fabric and character. Downtown has already lost so much, but we are still fighting for more parking. When we've created all the parking our "leadership" and corporations want, there will be no reason to even come to downtown as it will be an endless sea of parking and "open" space.

This is one of those decisions that will be viewed in 20 years in the same light as Pruitt- Igo and building Gateway One on the Gateway Mall.

WE NEED YOUR HELP! Please consider signing the petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/63004cb/petition.html and consider forwarding this message on to anyone who you think would want to support this fight.

Thank You,
Nathan Sprehe
Member Rehabbersclub (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rehabbersclub/)
http://www.rehabbersclub.org


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Parallel Worlds
by Robert Ashworth

An excerpt from Robert's Web site www.theslowlane.com, where he attests that improving our quality of life begins with changing the way we live, not where we live:

bikepath under freeway The quiet world of the bike path coexisting with the "rat race" world of the main stream.  Choose your world. Sammamish River trail passes under I-405 near Woodenville, Washington.

Like looking at one's self in the mirror...quality of life depends...on the person leading the life.

This point was driven home to me as I bicycled down to Seattle from this slightly less populated area to the north. 

Friends of mine, who drove down, dreaded the last part of the trip into the city. That is where the somewhat rural roads of Whatcom and Skagit counties give way to the crowded freeways of the city.

I recalled the last part of my trip to be the best part. That was where I could leave ordinary road shoulders and ride along a great bike trail that hardly ever has to cross another street all the way into the central part of the city.

The quiet world of the bike path exists along side, or in this case underneath, its more noisy counterpart. 

Most people choose...the noisy world of freeways even though they will say that there is little choice. Job and family obligations tie people, grudgingly, to main stream lifestyles, but many have found ways to escape.

A friendly world does exist in most urban areas, but one must be willing to try living it....

Read the full text of Parallel Worlds on Robert's Web site.


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One Less Car (auto-free family in New Mexico)

Comment submitted via Web form, May 20, 2004:

I just found your website and am enjoying it. On May 5th, we sold our last car and ordered a Bike Friday Family Triple to replace it. Currently my 4-year-old rides on a Family Tandem, and my 2-year-old rides in a Burley trailer.

We've been carlite for years, and with the kids getting older, it was time. Given that cars are one of the leading killers of young people, it will be good to have my children grow into carfree teens. (Although if they rebel and buy cars, it will come out of their own wallets. We will have no family insurance policy to put them on).

Keep up the good work.

Paul
Car-free, at-Home Dad
Santa Fe, NM


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Tax subsidizes drivers
by Frank Nilsen

Letter to the Editor, Ventura County Star, May 18, 2004:

A recent Star article implied that Ventura County's proposed half-cent sales tax intitiative (to be placed on the ballot in November, 2004) would primarily support transit. FALSE! Only 20 percent of the revenue would support transit and all automobile alternatives -- including pedestrian and bicycle facilities. This leaves eighty percent of the tax free and clear for massive road construction. More »


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Portland Oregon fake environmentalism
by Carol Siegel

Comment submitted via Web form, April 27, 2004:

After living 51 years without driving, I am contemplating violating all my ethics and getting a driver's license. Why? Because every summer in Portland, Oregon I face the same problem. Wonderful beaches are just an hour and a half drive away, but no one here supports public transportation access. Nor are there any organizations trying to provide access through buses.

The only access without a car is by an Amtrak bus which leaves once a day at 6:00pm arriving after dark at one of the two beach towns it visits. The only time the bus leaves the beach towns is early in the morning. So anyone who wants a day -- rather than a night -- at the beach must spend two nights there. For busy working people this is very inconvenient, to say the least. It's also a huge rip-off because there's no place to camp free of charge. Everyone I consult who is involved with environmental activities here offers the following solutions: rent a car, get a car from Flex-Car, or befriend someone with a car.

My conclusion, Portland Oregon is big on environmentalist posturing, but people here can't really think of ways to live carfree that do not impose ridiculous levels of hardship and limitation on those who really don't drive ever or ever support driving private cars. Since I love my job here, I guess this means I need to get a license, buy a car so I can practice enough to be a safe driver, and then start driving. SIGH!

I'm writing you in hopes that someone in Portland will see this and let me know if I have missed anything. But please don't write and say that you heard there was some bus that goes to the beach for day trips. I've been hearing that for the ten years I've been here and can't find out anything more except that, yes, I could charter a bus. Or maybe spend 5 hours taking Greyhound subsidiary buses to finally reach a beach at dusk and leave the next afternoon, having spent only one night, but about 10 hours in transit.

Carol Siegel
Portland, OR
siegel@agora.rdrop.com


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What Alan Greenspan Didn't Say
by Phil Hamerslough

February, 2004

On his most recent visit to Capitol Hill, Mr. Greenspan took issue with the Bush Administration's rosy picture of the economy. What Mr. Greenspan didn't address was putting an end to the $1.6 Trillion Bush tax cut, most of which benefits the wealthy, or the $43 billion depreciation tax credit made to corporations. More »


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Creating Environments
by Phil Hamerslough

Comment submitted via Web form, February, 22, 2004:

What we know intellectually, and what we discover through experience aren't always the same.

In order to really get people out of their cars, we need to create environments that are safe and inviting to human-powered transport. We need to create streetscapes that are safe for bicycles and sidewalks that are esthetic to pedestrians.

The cost of doing this is far less than the cost of building new highways and roads. Though we are a nation of vast spaces, the fact is that the majority of people live in relatively densely populated areas. Turning suburbs into bike-friendly places is far more cost effective than putting new roads and highways through and around them. A multi-model approach is what is needed. Public transport combined with human powered transport is more cost effective, psychologically healthier, and creates a more cohesive society than building for cars driven by one person.


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Subsidies influence transportation choices
by Frank Nilsen

Letter to the Editor, Carpinteria Coastal View News, Your Views February 5, 2004:

Rebuttal to a pro-car, pro highway widening editorial seeking increased car accommodation as a solution to traffic congestion. More »


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Unmet Transit Needs Hearing, February 2, 2004

Letter to the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC):

[Urgently] needed, more transit service for west Oxnard, and more connections between Oxnard and Ventura along thouroughfares currently WITHOUT transit service. More »


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Richard S. Hockett, MBA Too Many Cars and Not Enough Road (PDF - 690 KB)
by Richard S. Hockett, MBA, et. al.

Too Many Cars and Not Enough Road [demonstrates] the economic...and social...benefits [of reducing] the...number of cars on our highways in general -- US 101 between Thousand Oaks and Goleta in particular. More » (PDF - 690 KB)

You'll need Adobe Acrobat to view files in Portable Document Format (PDF).


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Oxnard Blvd Bike & Pedestrian Path approved by City Council

Update by Frank Nilsen:

Anticipated completion by May, 2005, the Oxnard City Council approves a combination Class I/Class III facility along Oxnard Blvd between Vineyard Avenue and the Oxnard Transportaiton Center (OTC). While some members of the public complain that bike facilities INCREASE traffic congestion, councilmembers express urgency in getting bike/ped projects completed a.s.a.p. More »

An excerpt of this report was published in the December, 2003 issue of Chain Chatter, the monthly newsletter of the Channel Islands Bicycle Club.


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Ventura County Star: Oxnard plans bike path from Vineyard to transit center
by Raul Hernandez, November 25, 2003

"Mayor Manuel Lopez said [the pathway will] be a 'very good component'...[allowing] people another way to go from one place to another...[and] serve as a lure to get people to start using bicycles or walking. Councilman Andres Herrera agreed, adding that the path...will help alleviate traffic congestion in Oxnard." More »


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Walking & Biking in Oxnard
by Frank Nilsen

Letter to Oxnard City Council endorsed by environmental and recreational organizations in two counties, and Oxnard residents, October 16, 2003:

The notion that we should all own and drive cars to every single destination in town will erode the quality of life we enjoy in Oxnard and harm the health of the City's residents. Please do more to DISCOURAGE behavior that DEGRADES our quality of life. More »


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Robert Bernstein Fear and Traffic in the Suburbs
by Robert Bernstein

Letter to the editor, Santa Barbara News Press, December 15, 2002:

It's easy to blame others for what is wrong in the world. It's far more challenging and productive to see how we can make things better.... If you ask people why they don't ride a bike...the most common reason is fear of...cars.... But, if you were on a bike instead of in a car, you would be one less menace.... [Change] begins or ends with you.... More »

Visit Robert's Circus of Activism for more Selected Published Writings by Robert Bernstein.


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Frank Nilsen Car Culture Run Amok
by Frank Nilsen

An essay from 1999:

Southern California demonstrates that [the] vicious cycle of more cars and more road space is failing--on a colossal scale--to work as an effective mode of transportation. More »


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