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Comment – More on Car Free Cities

Posted in Visions by fedwards on March 4th, 2008

The section below is republished with permission from the Going Solar Transport Newsletter #47, 4 March 2008, compiled by Stephen Ingrouille. Going Solar, www.goingsolar.com.au/transport. This newsletter provides an excellent commentary on local sustainable transport issues in Melbourne.

Car Free Cities
“The industrialised nations made a terrible mistake when they turned to the automobile as an instrument of improved urban mobility. The car brought with it major unanticipated consequences for urban life and has become a serious cause of environmental, social, and aesthetic problems in cities.

The urban automobile:
· Kills street life
· Damages the social fabric of communities
· Isolates people
· Fosters suburban sprawl
· Endangers other street users
· Blots the city’s beauty
· Disturbs people with its noise
· Causes air pollution
· Slaughters thousands every year
· Exacerbates global warming
· Wastes energy and natural resources
· Impoverishes nations

The challenge is to remove cars and trucks from cities while at the same time improving mobility and reducing its total costs.”
Ref: J H Crawford http://carfree.com / (‘Carfree Cities proposes a delightful solution to the vexing problem of urban automobiles.’)

“Cars kill city life. They make the places they invade unpleasant, noisy, dangerous and smelly. But, of course, they deliver mobility. Making the city car free does not mean making car access impossible. But it does mean keeping cars out of central areas and making the public transport network more effective. Cities are taking the carfree challenge not just to save the environment, but to compete with other cities in creating places where people will want to work, live and spend. In this century, economic success comes with environmental quality. Venice, one of the world’s most admired cities, is of course car free.

In England, even the city of Birmingham, in the heart of the car industry, has turned its central area over to people on foot. London is taming the car with a congestion charge. Montpelier in the south of France has made its central retail and entertainment district a place for walking. These are examples of a movement that has swept Europe in the past 30 years and is catching on in the US. The first Australian city to go car free will gain a huge competitive advantage. Melbourne should not be looking for a single iconic building to win fame. Its whole central grid of streets and lanes is its icon.”
Ref: Nicholas Low, The Age, 9/9/07

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