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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 08-16-14, 01:34 AM   #26
Roody
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No ... I don't have any notions that pre-automobile days were a "Golden Era".

Some of what we've learned in our travels was that pre-automobile days, in some places, were really quite horrible when it came to transportation.
Can you think of any examples?
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Old 08-16-14, 01:47 AM   #27
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But really, when looking at people getting around in their communities, don't you find that the era immediately prior to the automobile truly was a Golden Era? The pedestrians in those old photos certainly look happy as they wander wherever they want, easily able to dodge the few horse wagons and slow moving trolleys. There might have been a pungent aroma of manure, but that was very preferable to the smog and dust particles of our times.
You have read of how New York was in fact saved from the awful nightmare that was horse manure, by the automobile. There was so much horse crap, but it wasn't just the smell, it was the disease risks that it carried. And what you might not know is that when a horse died -- and there were a lot of them each day -- they were left to rot in the streets. They weren't removed.

I remember when night soil carts collected tins of human excrement from suburbs here, and the bath, kitchen and laundry water were let go into the roadside gutters resulting in a pervasive smell. This was in a "lower class" suburb, and it was only in the 1970s when sewerage was connected.

Even when we have travelled through France, in particular, the smell from the road grates for the sewers underneath can be quite overpowering. Add to that the smells of pig manure being sprayed on fields, and you can get an idea of how nasally unpleasant living in the era before the automobile actually was.
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Old 08-16-14, 03:42 AM   #28
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You have read of how New York was in fact saved from the awful nightmare that was horse manure, by the automobile. There was so much horse crap, but it wasn't just the smell, it was the disease risks that it carried. And what you might not know is that when a horse died -- and there were a lot of them each day -- they were left to rot in the streets. They weren't removed.

I remember when night soil carts collected tins of human excrement from suburbs here, and the bath, kitchen and laundry water were let go into the roadside gutters resulting in a pervasive smell. This was in a "lower class" suburb, and it was only in the 1970s when sewerage was connected.

Even when we have travelled through France, in particular, the smell from the road grates for the sewers underneath can be quite overpowering. Add to that the smells of pig manure being sprayed on fields, and you can get an idea of how nasally unpleasant living in the era before the automobile actually was.
From the Centers for Disease Control:
Transportation-related pollutants are one of the largest contributors to unhealthy air quality. Exposure to traffic emissions has been linked to many adverse health effects including: Exacerbation of asthma symptoms, diminished lung function, adverse birth outcomes, and childhood cancer.

Common transportation-related air pollutants include carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter. Ozone, formed when nitrogen dioxide and sunlight react, is also a common pollutant. Particulate matter and ozone are known respiratory irritants that can aggravate asthma either by themselves or when combined with other environmental factors. Recent health studies also suggest that particulate matter is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Motor vehicles contribute to more than 50% of air pollution in urban areas. The design of communities and transportation systems impacts how often automobiles are used, how many automobile trips are taken, and how long those trips are. Reducing automobile trips by increasing mass transit use, carpooling, walking, and bicycling can help reduce air pollution, especially in urban areas.
CDC - Healthy Places - Respiratory Health and Air Pollution

BTW, your second and third paragraphs have absolutely nothing to do with carfree transportation.
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Old 08-16-14, 06:15 AM   #29
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Can you think of any examples?

The ease and speed of medical assistance springs to mind.


You might have a look at mortality rates over the years.
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Old 08-16-14, 06:49 AM   #30
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From the Centers for Disease Control:
Transportation-related pollutants are one of the largest contributors to unhealthy air quality. Exposure to traffic emissions has been linked to many adverse health effects including: Exacerbation of asthma symptoms, diminished lung function, adverse birth outcomes, and childhood cancer.

Common transportation-related air pollutants include carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter. Ozone, formed when nitrogen dioxide and sunlight react, is also a common pollutant. Particulate matter and ozone are known respiratory irritants that can aggravate asthma either by themselves or when combined with other environmental factors. Recent health studies also suggest that particulate matter is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Motor vehicles contribute to more than 50% of air pollution in urban areas. The design of communities and transportation systems impacts how often automobiles are used, how many automobile trips are taken, and how long those trips are. Reducing automobile trips by increasing mass transit use, carpooling, walking, and bicycling can help reduce air pollution, especially in urban areas.
CDC - Healthy Places - Respiratory Health and Air Pollution

BTW, your second and third paragraphs have absolutely nothing to do with carfree transportation.
Again you're reaching. You and your romanticists can go back to the Golden Ages quite easily by joining Amish communities, or moving to the African or Asian sub-continents and joining communities that haven't seen more than a dozen motor vehicles in a year. I wonder sometimes how many posters here have volunteered in such places with aid and relief programs (and for the purposes of complete disclosure, I haven't) just so they can give their perspective.

And my second and third paragraphs go to the heart of the "Golden Age" comments and the apparent desire of some to return to those wonderful days, when the smells of rotting horses on the streets along with raw sewage permeated everything. The car actually saved people's lives, whether you like it or not. And in many respects, it still does.

You can level criticism all you like at the car and the pollution it creates, but as a transport option, it isn't going to disappear anytime soon... because the community accepts it as a necessary part of their lives. Enlightened communities will plan to incorporate multi-model transport modes that include cars. This has been amply demonstrated in Europe and other parts of the world. Make of it as you will America's status on this.
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Old 08-17-14, 12:13 AM   #31
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Again you're reaching. You and your romanticists can go back to the Golden Ages quite easily by joining Amish communities, or moving to the African or Asian sub-continents and joining communities that haven't seen more than a dozen motor vehicles in a year. I wonder sometimes how many posters here have volunteered in such places with aid and relief programs (and for the purposes of complete disclosure, I haven't) just so they can give their perspective.

And my second and third paragraphs go to the heart of the "Golden Age" comments and the apparent desire of some to return to those wonderful days, when the smells of rotting horses on the streets along with raw sewage permeated everything. The car actually saved people's lives, whether you like it or not. And in many respects, it still does.

You can level criticism all you like at the car and the pollution it creates, but as a transport option, it isn't going to disappear anytime soon... because the community accepts it as a necessary part of their lives. Enlightened communities will plan to incorporate multi-model transport modes that include cars. This has been amply demonstrated in Europe and other parts of the world. Make of it as you will America's status on this.
All I'm trying to say is that I like the urban transportation patterns of the early 1900s. Obviously there are other things about that time period that I wouldn't wish to resurrect. I'm sorry that you can't seem to hold the two ideas separately.

High mortality rates in undeveloped countries are attributable to many things, with lack of cars being a very minor contributor compared to poverty, ignorance, poor sanitation, bad water, and so forth.

BTW, the Amish who don't own cars and rarely use them have mortality rates that are quite similar to other Americans.
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Old 08-17-14, 04:29 AM   #32
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But really, when looking at people getting around in their communities, don't you find that the era immediately prior to the automobile truly was a Golden Era? The pedestrians in those old photos certainly look happy as they wander wherever they want, easily able to dodge the few horse wagons and slow moving trolleys. There might have been a pungent aroma of manure, but that was very preferable to the smog and dust particles of our times.
+1

A number of forum memebers think life must have been horrible with all those horses. Visit the library and start reading microfilm from 1900 (of your town) as I did and you'll get a very different picture.

I did not see one comment of anyone complaining about horse droppings. Not one! The newspapers were full of stories about weddings, high school sports, social events all being accomplished with no motor coach or bus! There was one trolley line in my town yet not one complaint about the lack of public transporation in the papers.

Life was differernt but not worse.

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Old 08-17-14, 01:53 PM   #33
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+1

A number of forum memebers think life must have been horrible with all those horses. Visit the library and start reading microfilm from 1900 (of your town) as I did and you'll get a very different picture.

I did not see one comment of anyone complaining about horse droppings. Not one! The newspapers were full of stories about weddings, high school sports, social events all being accomplished with no motor coach or bus! There was one trolley line in my town yet not one complaint about the lack of pulic transporation in the papers.

Life was differernt but not worse.
And in some aspects, life was better 100 years ago. Urban transportation was highly developed with electric tramway systems covering all urban areas. Wide streets and sidewalks were equipped with public drinking fountains and restrooms for the comfort of pedestrians and cyclists. There were even drinking fountains for the horses! Sanitation departments regularly removed manure, which was often sold to nearby farms. Cities were connected with electric interurban railways that provided efficient low cost travel.

This is not romanticism. As with you, I have studied this matter over the years, and what I say is reality, not a romantic dream. I'm well aware that some aspects of life were worse, and many, as you say, were just different.
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Old 08-17-14, 05:47 PM   #34
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To each his own.

But having lived for a year in the rustic conditions reminiscent of a time a century or more ago, I don't see the romance of that time. I know the work involved ... and many of the challenges.

However, as Rowan pointed out, if you want to enjoy the romance of the rustic, go live with the Amish for a while. Or maybe in remote areas of less developed countries.
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Old 08-17-14, 05:55 PM   #35
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To each his own.

But having lived for a year in the rustic conditions reminiscent of a time a century or more ago, I don't see the romance of that time. I know the work involved ... and many of the challenges.

However, as Rowan pointed out, if you want to enjoy the romance of the rustic, go live with the Amish for a while. Or maybe in remote areas of less developed countries.
Or watch YouTube and daydream.
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Old 08-17-14, 11:50 PM   #36
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Or watch YouTube and daydream.
That seems like a more sensible option.
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