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The Car as a Modern Nightmare

Posted in Policies by Devin Maeztri on December 22nd, 2008

The section below is republished with permission from the Going Solar Transport Newsletter #88, 2 December 2008, compiled by Stephen Ingrouille. Going Solar newsletter provides an excellent commentary on local sustainable transport issues in Melbourne.

“Offering a type of adventure, the motor car is violent. Whatever images may recur in modern nightmares, the real contact individuals have with objects and situations powerful enough to maim them will almost entirely involve motor cars. They may turn pale when their jumbo jet takes off, or swim with trepidation because of the thought of sharks. But if they die violently, it will almost certainly be in a car. If they see seriously injured bodies in the flesh, it will be near car wreckage. As a consequence, the important civic discussion of how, and in which situations, the law ought to protect citizens against violence ought to take a special interest in automobile traffic and its movement. … Drivers imagine that they are insulated from the potential violence that surrounds them. Their car shields them, and this shielding is one of the factors contributing to the relaxation they experience at the wheel, in their air-conditioned cabin, listening to music.”
Ref: John Carroll, The Age 18/10/08 Extract from ‘Ego & Soul published by Scribe

And Also
“Motor cars are the new wombs – perhaps explaining why people retreat to them.” Ref: Frank Fisher, 14/10/08


The Call for Lower Speed Limits

Posted in Research by Devin Maeztri on December 10th, 2008

The section below is republished with permission from the Going Solar Transport Newsletter #87, 25 November 2008, compiled by Stephen Ingrouille. Going Solar newsletter provides an excellent commentary on local sustainable transport issues in Melbourne.

“Roads Minister Tim Pallas has dismissed calls to cut car speeds across Melbourne that proponents say will improve road safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Research released yesterday by the Safe Speed Interest Group, a coalition of councils and the Heart Foundation, found that dropping speed limits to 30km/h on suburban streets would cut pedestrian injuries. And it would improve community health by encouraging more to walk and cycle, the research found. ‘The evidence is incontrovertible: lowering speed limits increases safety, said Yarra councillor and the coalition’s spokeswoman, Jackie Fristacky.

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More on the CBD Bus Accident

Posted in Policies by Devin Maeztri on October 7th, 2008

The section below is republished with permission from the Going Solar Transport Newsletter #79, 30 September 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.

“Unfortunately, this was an accident waiting to happen. It is ridiculous that Swanston St should be closed to car traffic but that these enormous coaches should be allowed to clog up the street during its busiest period. When the coaches are parked, cyclists are forced ride within a hairs breath of the coaches or cross into the path of the trams. In the wet (when tram tracks are very slippery for cyclists)this problem is even worse. The coaches should be removed.”
Ref: Readers Comment, The Age, 18/9/08

“Stung by criticism he failed to protect cyclists from the thousands of tour buses that choke one of the city’s main thoroughfares, an emotional [Melbourne] Lord Mayor John So last night banned buses from Swanston Street after a young woman riding to work was killed. … Melbourne City Council last year considered forcing tour buses from Swanston Street to a purpose-built terminal at Federation Square. But the council buckled under pressure from tour operators – which pick up 320,000 customers a year on Swanston Street from nearby hotels.”
Ref: Clay Lucas, The Age, 19/9/08