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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 03-27-06, 03:58 PM   #1
kohinoor
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City called carless

Hi Folks how would you like to live in a city earmarked for bicycles only.Is there a city in the U.S.A that is habited by cyclists only.If not why not get one.I hope one day there will be one such city in every country.
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Old 03-27-06, 04:30 PM   #2
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The only place in the USA that I know of is Mackinac (pronounced Mack-i-naw) Island. Private cars are not allowed, although delivery vehicles and emergency vehicles are. Most people travel by foot or by bicycle, although horses are common as well. In the winter, people also ride snow mobiles around in the streets.

It is unlikely you could move there permanently unless you are rich. The island is small, and most of the money is generated from tourism. Real estate on the island is very expensive.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mackinac_Island

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Old 03-28-06, 12:24 AM   #3
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Have you been to Venice? It's like being on another planet. Even though there are people everywhere, it's very, very quiet and serene. My wife and I loved it.
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Old 03-28-06, 01:24 AM   #4
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_carfree_places
List of car-free places - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 03-28-06, 11:43 AM   #5
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_carfree_places
List of car-free places - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I find it humorous that Ithaca commons is on there. That is definitely not "car-free" in my book. It's 2 blocks of a outdoor strip mall, that has a 4 story parking lot. That should not be there.
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Old 03-28-06, 12:21 PM   #6
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A car free city would have to be extra expensive to live there. A city of this type would violate so many codes and lawsuites, it could only be built for the very rich.
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Old 03-28-06, 01:13 PM   #7
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A city of this type would violate so many codes and lawsuites, it could only be built for the very rich.
Being a law student, this statement certainly aroused my curiosity. Where on earth did you get this idea?

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A car free city would have to be extra expensive to live there.
It depends. As I understand it, it's very cheap to live in much of the third world. I think that it would be difficult to keep many of the common amenities of first-world life in a town with no motor vehicles, but once you let go of those amenities, I think even a first-world town could be made cheap to live in, albeit with an isolated and mostly low-tech economy.
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Old 03-28-06, 01:42 PM   #8
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_carfree_places
List of car-free places - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I find it interesting that little plazas are included in the Car-Free listings at all. So somebody drives 10 miles to park one block from the plaza, and it's considered car-free. I guess some of these areas are a mini-step in the right direction.
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Old 03-28-06, 02:03 PM   #9
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As an experimental car-free city in Arizona:
http://www.arcosanti.org/theory/arcology/intro.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arcosanti

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Old 03-28-06, 06:59 PM   #10
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As I understand it, it's very cheap to live in much of the third world.
I wouldn't call the third world car free. Most people may not own cars there, but there are still people with cars. The drivers are as bad or worse than industrialized nations. Here is an interesting article that deals with cars in the third world written by a Bangladeshi:

http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2003/3/13/3325/49568
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Old 03-28-06, 07:39 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by kohinoor
Hi Folks how would you like to live in a city earmarked for bicycles only.Is there a city in the U.S.A that is habited by cyclists only.If not why not get one.I hope one day there will be one such city in every country.
Isla Vista in California is not car-free, but certainly bicycles dominate. In the seventies, the unofficial slogan was "Bicycles, Dogs and Frisbees", the official slogan being "The People, Yes."

Isla Vista has the distinction of being the birthplace of Kinko's. Bicycling is the best way to get about usually.

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Old 03-28-06, 10:13 PM   #12
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Most people may not own cars there, but there are still people with cars.
I didn't mean to suggest that most people in the third world lived in villages/cities/towns with no cars. But I think there's a significant number of "underdeveloped" villages without cars or any reasonable surface on which to drive them.
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Old 03-29-06, 08:55 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by cerewa
Being a law student, this statement certainly aroused my curiosity. Where on earth did you get this idea?
A car free city would violate many urban planning codes with regards to fire, traffic congestion etc. In addition, local and state politicians would have to be paid off before a project of this nature can even take off. The notion of building a city without regard to traffic is illegal and getting around it will require costly legal fees possible in the tens of millions and this cost will have to be paid by those living in the community.

Please read, Suburban Nation : The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream for a better understanding of city planning.
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Old 03-30-06, 08:28 AM   #14
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City called caeless

Your statement "where did you get the idea" is ambiguous.What do you mean.Is it a good idea or a bad one.If there is a will there is a way.Here in Great Britain the attitudes to cycling is changing so is it in Australia that is experiencing the impact of Global Warming more than the other countries.Politicians who have vested interests will always be in the way.As a child I can remember living in a such place in the Indian Sub-Continent.The Air was so pure to breath.The water tasted different and everyone smiled.Today here in England it is very hard to find anybody with a smile unless theyare " high" on drugs or alcohol.The cost of keeping a car is taking the toll on its owners.Is it worth it.
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Old 04-01-06, 02:52 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by cerewa
Being a law student, this statement certainly aroused my curiosity. Where on earth did you get this idea?

I think that it would be difficult to keep many of the common amenities of first-world life in a town with no motor vehicles...
Or read the book "Carfree Cities" by J.H. Crawford. The federal government has established rules which make it uncomfortable for lower level governing bodies not to follow their zoning guidelines, but it's not illegal. As far as the ammenities go, there isn't anything a carfree city should be unable provide that a car-centric one can.
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Old 04-01-06, 09:58 AM   #16
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Your statement "where did you get the idea" is ambiguous.
Yeah, I was surprised to read that there would be a lot of legal problems for a town that tried to be car-free by design, but I hadn't actually read anything that would indicate one way or the other whether that's true.
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Old 04-08-06, 10:27 AM   #17
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Haha, I wasn't even thinking about it at the time of my earlier posts here, but the "early experiences" thread reminded me that I actually have early memories of living in a mostly-car-free village from ages 4 to 6- Aniak, Alaska.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=e...45,0.21698&t=h

It may be that the other 49 states have rules making car-free communities practically nonexistent, but in Alaska there are a whole lot of communities where there are only a couple miles of road in total, and no access to the rest of the world's roads. A significant portion of Alaska's population lives in villages of 200 or so. If you click the google maps link above, and follow the river you'll see a bunch of communities such as Kalskag (it's west of Aniak) which have far fewer people than aniak. I think a lot of the communities that small and remote have no cars.

So any of you brave souls wanting to live in a community in the U.S. with no cars- feel free to try rural alaska. If you want to report back to bikeforums from there you may be out of luck. AOL provides service through a 1-800 number, (and you pay AOL 10 cents a minute I think) but I hear some of the communities have only one phone line and I don't know if anybody would let you hook your computer up to it.
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Old 04-08-06, 10:20 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
A car free city would violate many urban planning codes with regards to fire, traffic congestion etc. In addition, local and state politicians would have to be paid off before a project of this nature can even take off. The notion of building a city without regard to traffic is illegal and getting around it will require costly legal fees possible in the tens of millions and this cost will have to be paid by those living in the community.

Please read, Suburban Nation : The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream for a better understanding of city planning.
Another law student here, also questioning these statements. Urban planning codes are developed by the city, usually by a planning department and approved by the city council (because they're a code, they are the "law" for that city). If a city wants to build a car-free area, all it has to do is make the design of that car-free area a part of its code. Now obviously, if the code calls for something like certain-width streets to allow emergency vehicles, the city has to either exempt the emergency vehicles from the proscription on cars (the most sensible solution) or exempt the car-free area from the requirements for emergency vehicles. Regardless, I don't see any legal reason a city can't design car-free.

I haven't read the recommended books, and probably should, but still... a city can design itself any way it wants to, as long as it follows the law, and in the case of building codes, the city establishes those (there may be state building codes to contend with as well, though).

The notion of payoffs is ridiculous, however-- if the city wants to build something, the city doesn't have to "pay off" politicians, because it is the city politicians who set the direction for the city in the first place.
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Old 04-08-06, 10:24 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by AverageCommuter
Or read the book "Carfree Cities" by J.H. Crawford. The federal government has established rules which make it uncomfortable for lower level governing bodies not to follow their zoning guidelines, but it's not illegal. As far as the ammenities go, there isn't anything a carfree city should be unable provide that a car-centric one can.
Right, that's the point. If a city wants to go car-free, it just makes that a part of its City Plan. Then when it designs car-free areas, it is simply following its Plan. No big deal. Cities have a free hand to do a lot of things. They can't violate federal or state laws, but they do have a free hand to pretty much do whatever they want within the law.
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Old 04-09-06, 07:13 AM   #20
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A car-free city. Tell me how firemen, ambulances, dump trucks, postal service, and police transport things that must use a vehicle. Cars are vital in a city function. Maybe if all cities were car free they wouldn't but it'd be impossible for a certain populace number. Resort town would probably be the only idea. Or a large section of town without cars.
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Old 04-09-06, 09:25 PM   #21
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Katrogen-

Your post mentions car-free cities, and my knowlege of Alaska pertains to car-free villages, not cities. Maybe city people will never accept some of the ways-of-doing-things of rural areas, but some rural practices could be used in cities if there were support for it.

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Tell me how firemen, ambulances, dump trucks, postal service, and police transport things that must use a vehicle.
First of all, a car-free city is not necessarily a vehicle-free city. In Aniak, AK there were gravel roads and a very large airstrip- large government vehicles were undoubtedly used to build those. None of the buildings in the village were more than a couple miles from any of the other buildings- an ambulance was not needed. There was no hospital- just a clinic. No medical doctors at the clinic, just a nurse. If someone was seriously hurt, medical-evacuation airplanes/helicopters in other communities were ready to fly the person to a hospital. The postal service flew the mail in to the post office and everybody picked up their mail from there. Like many less remote communities, there was no door-to-door mail delivery. To my knowlege there was one law-enforcement officer. (not called a police officer, though.) As far as I know, that person didn't have a car, but may well have had a snow-mobile and an ATV.

Very few people are in favor of communities with no motor vehicles whatsoever. I think most car-free advocates are in favor of ambulances, trains, and a certain number of large motor vehicles to be used for building construction and road construction, etc.
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Old 04-09-06, 11:04 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by cerewa
Very few people are in favor of communities with no motor vehicles whatsoever. I think most car-free advocates are in favor of ambulances, trains, and a certain number of large motor vehicles to be used for building construction and road construction, etc.
As a die-hard car-free advocate I agree with that. "Car-free" means "no personal motor vehicles". It has nothing to do with commercial vehicles, emergency vehicles, or service vehicles. While I certainly want those as efficient and low-emission as possible, they are not the problem.
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Old 04-09-06, 11:11 PM   #23
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As a die-hard car-free advocate I agree with that. "Car-free" means "no personal motor vehicles". It has nothing to do with commercial vehicles, emergency vehicles, or service vehicles. While I certainly want those as efficient and low-emission as possible, they are not the problem.
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Old 04-10-06, 05:10 AM   #24
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car free and pollution free

Car Free does not mean that the essential services vehicles will not be allowed.They will be advised to use vehicles that do not burn Gasoline.The buses can use Hydrogen cells,The Ambulances and Police Vehicles can use Alcohol,The Bank Robbers and Drug dealers can use Rocket Fuel.The main purpose of making a city carless is to make it pollution free and a pleasant place to be in.
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Old 04-21-06, 09:33 PM   #25
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The Toronto Islands are carfree. A few people actually live there. But there are only a few km of paths combined, and cycling isn't very pleasant there: far too crowded, no roads (MUPs only, with stupid peds insisting on taking the whole path - this irritates me whether I'm on a bike OR on foot).
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