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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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Electric Bikes & Trikes for Aust Post

Posted in Models by Devin Maeztri on December 9th, 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.

“Posties have begun a trial of electric bicycles and tricycles in a plan to combat soaring fuel prices and be more environmentally friendly. Australia Post staff will take to bikes in Adelaide first but plans to roll out the trial to Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. …. ‘We are testing electric bicycles and tricycles, which are more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly ways to deliver the mail than motorbikes, spokesman Joshua Zugajev said.‘We have no intention to replace all our motorcycles, but rising fuel costs and a need for cleaner forms of transport mean trialling these electric bikes makes perfect sense,” Mr Zugajev said. The electric bicycles and tricycles were quicker than walking, made less noise than motorcycles, were virtually pollution-free and used rechargeable ion batteries, he added. They are assisted by an electric motor, which means the rider still pedals but receives a significant boost from the motor.”
Ref: Elissa Doherty, Courier Mail, 28/9/08


Major Cities Unit

Posted in Policies by Maeztri on November 11th, 2008

The section below is republished with permission from the Going Solar Transport Newsletter #84, 4 November 2008, compiled by Stephen Ingrouille. Going Solar newsletter provides an excellent commentary on local sustainable transport issues in Melbourne.

“If Australia is to maintain our prosperity, our cities must become more productive, more competitive, more innovative. At the same time they must be sustainable. … To make our cities more liveable and to improve the quality of life and sense of community for all who live in them. For this to happen we must have a long term vision for our cities. … Meeting the climate change challenge requires a whole of government approach which must include the planning of our cities. We must engage in the debate about the impact of alternative urban policy visions on climate change. For example,this is an important context when we are debating the planning of higher density housing alongside better public transport corridors. Or considering decentralised commercial centres which minimise the need for people to travel long distances to work, and provide community infrastructure where people live. …

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Airline Trash Landings

Posted in Policies by Devin Maeztri on October 28th, 2008

The section below is republished with permission from the Going Solar Transport Newsletter #82, 21 October 2008, compiled by Stephen Ingrouille. Going Solar newsletter provides an excellent commentary on local sustainable transport issues in Melbourne.

“Years after recycling became second nature at home, the aviation industry is taking the first steps to introduce recycling on flights and in airports. These early moves – including a Virgin Blue trial of in-flight recycling and the installation of recycling bins at Sydney Airport – follow a report that found American airlines throw out enough aluminium cans every year to build 58 new 747 jets.

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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


Park(ing) Day

Posted in Movements by Devin Maeztri on October 6th, 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.

“It’s a car park and when you put the money in the meter it’s essentially taking out a short-term lease on a space and you can do what you want with it,” said 29-year-old Alicia Hooper [Melbourne]…Since International Parking Day began in San Francisco in 2005, people have filled their car parks with beds, aquariums, putting greens and anything people can play with.
Ref: Hamish Townsend, The Age, 19/9/08,

From Flatbush Gardener

From Flatbush Gardener

“Brisbane’s first Park(ing) Day will feature 47 parking spaces, joining hundreds of others across the globe, from New York to Rio De Janeiro. PedBikeTrans president Robyn Davies said Little Stanley Street will be dotted with Park(ing) spaces, and will feature street furniture and some more unusual aspects.”
Ref: Andrew Wight, Brisbane Times, 19/9/08


“The Story of Highways”

Posted in Research by Ferne Edwards on August 7th, 2008

The section below is republished with permission from the Going Solar Transport Newsletter #70, 29 July 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.

This article is a excerpt of the transcript taken from ABC Radio National program Rear Vision: “The Story of Highways” produced and presented by Annabelle Quince, 20/7/08, See: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/rearvision/stories/2008/2281165.htm

The Story of Highways
Annabelle Quince: Throughout the first part of the 20th century, Freeways were seen as the epitome of modernity, but by the end of the century this began to change. The motor car first arrived in Europe and the US at the end of the 19th century. But according to Peter Norton, historian of technology, engineering and society at the University of Virginia, the car wasn’t welcome on the city streets when it first appeared.

Peter Norton: A hundred years ago of course roads were not for cars, because cars were rare, and to make roads places where cars could go, they had to be redefined. It helps us understand what the street was like to city people then, if we think of what a city park is like to us today. It’s a place where we think of everybody as welcome, provided they don’t get in the way of others, don’t make a nuisance out of themselves, and don’t endanger other people. And it was in the nature of cars to be nuisances and dangerous, and so the early response was to blame the car and to restrict the car.

<!–more–>This started to change partly because people, who had an interest in selling cars and in a good future for cars, saw that this would really limit their future, this attitude would limit their future and that they would have to change it. And to do it, they had to do a number of things at the same time: one is to try to teach children to stay out of the streets. They could not rely on parents to do this because parents at that time thought of the street, at least residential streets, as proper playgrounds for children. So auto dealers and auto clubs did things like promote the construction of playgrounds, they got involved in school safety education where they taught children to look both ways before they crossed; they started sponsoring school safety patrols where the children would guide each other as they crossed the street, and most importantly, would teach children that the street is a place for cars and not for children.

They also had to get adults to concede the street to motorists as well, and reaching them was harder, and they did it in a number of ways, but I think the most effective and most interesting was a campaign to redefine walking in the street as an inappropriate thing to do, an inappropriate use of the street. And one way they did this was to invent a new term of ridicule, and direct that against pedestrians walking in streets. They used a mid-Western American term ‘Jay’ which was an insult; it meant that you were uneducated and rural, and they connected it with ‘walker’ and invented the term ‘Jay walker’ and it was used as a term of ridicule against pedestrians.

Annabelle Quince: The other way car companies and car associations changed our understanding of the road was to promote the construction of car-only roads. Thomas Zeller is a historian of Technology and the Environment at the University of Maryland.

Thomas Zeller: When we talk about roads exclusively for cars, sometimes they were called cars-only roads, there was a precedent in the United States in the 19-teens and 1920s, roads that were called ‘parkways’. Those were roads that were built exclusively for shall we say pleasure drives, and they were designed in such a way that the people who drive on them experience lovely views and then once those parkways are built in the countryside, they’re built so that they touch on the vantage points, and they go to the hilltops, and there are rest areas so people can enjoy the scenery. But then what we see in the ’30s especially, is that two European dictatorships take over this idea of highways exclusively for cars, and those are Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, and in both of these countries you had lobbies, lobbies made up of middle-class car owners and the construction companies who would benefit from building those highways, the automotive clubs, their companies that would sell tyres, so there’s a whole coterie of interest that pushed for these automobile-only roads in the inter-war period.

'Highway Insomnia' by Nrbelex


The cars that ate Melbourne….?

Posted in Research by Ferne Edwards on April 1st, 2008

The section below is republished with permission from the Going Solar Transport Newsletter #52, 25 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.

The Cars That Ate Cities
“When youre in traffic these days, four-wheel drives are everywhere. Most of them are registered in the cities and rarely leave the bitumen. They can be deadly urban assault vehicles. Many of them guzzle fuel at a rate that makes the big Falcons and Commodores look like petrol misers. And the toxic emissions that many four-wheel drives spew from their exhaust pipes can rate up there with small trucks. Four wheel drive sales have boomed over the past decade; they now make up about a quarter of all new passenger vehicles sales in this country. In contrast, regulation by the federal and state governments is going at a snails pace. Its been a similar situation in the United States, where four-wheel drives now rule the roads. New Australian safety research youll hear about on todays program adds to the concern. …Actually here theyre now officially called Sports Utility Vehicles, or SUVs, as theyre called in America.”
Ref: Stephen Skinner, Background Briefing, The Cars That Ate Cities, Radio National 15/6/03
Read the full transcript:
http://www.abc.net.au/rn/talks/bbing/stories/s881845.htm

'SUV anyone?' by Kaddy


Melbourne’s sustainable transport: cycling

Posted in Visions by Ferne Edwards on January 17th, 2008

The section below is republished with permission from the Going Solar Transport Newsletter #42, 15 January 2008, compiled by Stephen Ingrouille. Going Solar, www.goingsolar.com.au/transport.

Sustainable Transport: Cycling
“The number of cyclists entering central Melbourne has doubled in the past year, according to the first comprehensive study of cycling in the City of Melbourne. [The] inaugural Bicycle Account summarises cycling trends, behaviour and safety in the CBD and inner suburbs.

A copy of the account obtained by The Age shows:
♦ Cyclists account for 8 per cent of all trips in the morning peak, up from 4 per cent last year.
♦ On-road cycling increased by 10 per cent and off-road by 20 per cent.
♦ Cyclists make up 22 per cent of traffic on St Kilda Road.

The number of cycling accidents is also decreasing. In 2005, there were 155 crashes, dropping to 146 in 2006. In the year so far, only 46 road crashes have been recorded. Crash figures could be much higher as many incidents go unreported or police are unable to prosecute because cyclists have been thrown from their bikes and cannot identify other vehicles involved.

But only 46 per cent of cyclists surveyed in the data said they felt safe riding in the City of Melbourne and 41 per cent said cyclists observed road rules. Lord Mayor John So said cycling had become a preferred mode of traffic in the CBD. ‘More than half of cyclists surveyed for this initiative described Melbourne as a cycle-friendly city. We want to ensure that even more cyclists share that view in the future, he said.

Ref: Stephen Moynihan and David Rood The Age 17/10/07

Republished with permission from the Going Solar Transport Newsletter #42, 15 January 2008.

'Cyclist' by Cartoon Heroes