Take it to the World’s Streets
A call for Europe-wide public assemblies of women, men and families in support of our Polish sisters as a time of great need
Pass it on/Make it happen.
As part of preparing the way for a sponsored project, the last months here were given over to work aimed at laying a firm organizational, working tools and communications base for the actual project. As of this date here are the main building blocks already for the most part in at least beta working order and ready to go as soon as the sponsors and partners give the green light:
We try to make this site a friendly and efficient way to get around in what is already a considerable body of materials and tools, and which will only continue to grow as the program moves ahead. Here is what we have done.
The keys to getting efficiently into the growing content of this site are basically two: (a) the top menu and (b) the left working menu. Let’s look at them in order:
I have just received a term paper from Iryna Poliukhovych, an International MBA candidate from the Ukraine, studying on a joint Erasmus program in Poland and Paris, on the topic of “Feminism and Sustainable development in Ukraine”, presented for my graduate seminar on Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy – http://sustain.ecoplan.org – at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris). The report is available for review and comment at https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B41h-Am2TpUHYXBsUTlNS29kTkk. To give you a taste for the rfull eport, below you will find her comments on the history of the women’s movement in the Ukraine.
If you do not know Chisinau and Moldova and want to have a first feel for how the transport scene works there, sit back and have a look. And as you will see from the vantage of what we call “sustainable mobility” it offers a very mixed scene, things that work, and others that could work better. Like virtually every city on this gasping planet. Let’s have a look.
This project is based on a discussion put forward in the last weeks by Eric Britton, professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), in exchanges with colleagues at the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC), who agreed to look more closely into this as an eventual collaborative project, and to get things moving who took contact with the Solved program as an eventual third partner. This note briefly introduces the project and the first two talking partners: The Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe and the Solved Collaborative. We are actively searching groups and individuals who are interested in following and, better yet, in collaborating with and improving this ambitious international team project.
The topic of “free public transport” (FPT), or better yet “zero fare public transport” (ZFPT), is one that has gotten considerable attention here in World Streets over the last several years, on the grounds that it is an extremely rich concept which is worthy of careful attention. If at first humanistic and caring glance it appears to be a great and just concept, the fact is that like much of life it is more than a little complicated. Let us have a look at a recent article which first appeared in the pages of our sister publication Citiscope, which we reproduce here with their and the author’s permission. ZFPT in Tallinn, an insider’s view
– Csaba Mezei reports from Budapest
In the field of mobility, Hungary typifies the formerly communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Municipal public transport is well-developed and its modal share is relatively high (e.g. 61 percent in the capital city Budapest). However, the quality of public transport systems is declining due to decreasing state subsidies. Car ownership is still a status symbol and governments are keen to placate car owners and support motorised individual transportation rather than sustainable community solutions. In cities the health impacts of transport include a high rate of respiratory decease and allergies. The situation can be expected to get worse with increasing air pollution (especially particulates), noise, and congestion.
Here is a rough chronology showing how information gets around in the world-wide sustainable transport network in 2011. Last Monday, 1 August, someone named Meras Zuokas (whom we do not know but whom we definitely like and who by all indications lives in Lithuania), uploaded a 104 second video onto YouTube with commentary in Lithuanian, showing a dynamic mayor dealing directly with the classic sustainable transport problem of illegally parked cars encumbering circulation in designated bike lanes in the capital city of Vilnius. That was the first stop on a lightning journey around the world that in a few days brings us here. Continue reading
Carsharing, a different way of owning and using a car — wherever you find it certainly got started one day with a stray thought, a dream even, often as not in the head of one person. Someone stuck in a car or sitting in a sidewalk café, looking at the traffic and letting their mind wander, and who then starts to talk about the idea. Then all you have to do is come back a year or two later and, if we are all very lucky, you may see that this idle thought has taken a few steps toward reality. Let us have a look at how the concept is just starting to unfold in Croatia, a country under attack from rapid, aggressive and utterly unthought-out automobilization. Carsharing. . . ?
Carsharing, like Rome, is not built in a day. At least not formal carsharing as we are seeing it develop in many countries now at, in places, rapid and highly satisfying rate. The following short report comes from colleagues who are involved in an attempted laying the groundwork for the first formal carsharing project in Greece. This is one of the EU “momo Car-Sharing” projects to encourage carshare development throughout Europe. We invite you to have a look and to share your thoughts and comments with the authors or with our readers more generally.
Ten years after system change and free market democracy was introduced here in Poland, the motor industry, car dealers and the road lobbies are coming on strong. Not exactly like in the USA in the glamour years after World War II (we have less money), but the general direction is pretty much the same. Continue reading
– From our vigilant Eyes on the Street reporter Marek Utkin in Warsaw.
Under a law passed in 2000 in Poland, anyone riding a bike under the influence of alcohol faces a fine or up to two years in prison, depending on the level of their intoxication.
This law was engineered (for not to say doctored) before Poland’s access to the EU: one of the requirements, imposed by the EU on its candidate members was to increase the detectability of the crimes. The cyclists became scapegoats…
This law, which places the cyclist after two beers on the same footing with a drunk driver of 20 ton truck or bus full of people, received a wholehearted welcome by police officers, especially in the countryside.
It turns out it is a way easier (and safer) to arrest a local farmer John, returning home by bike after closing of bar, than to stop a speeding car, which might be full of the thugs in track suits or — even worse — its driver could be a distinguished Member of Parliament (which is quite often phenomenon and means troubles for every policeman).
This law proceeded to the Constitutional Court, as absurd and draconian and which can drag whole families into poverty — and currently two thousand Poles (mainly fathers of the families) are in prison for riding a bicycle whilst under the influence of alcohol. In spite of this, Poland’s Constitutional Court has upheld a ruling that drunken cyclists should be tried as criminals, treated like drunken motorists and face prison if caught.
The average sentence for riding a bike after booze is 11.5 months imprisonment.
There was a proposal that intoxicated cyclists should be treated like drunken pedestrians, who face a fine rather than jail, as both use their own muscles to achieve motion. The Constitutional Court (lead by the chairwoman, a typical car-bound person), ruled that cyclists use public roads and are considerably more dangerous because of the speeds they can travel.
Drunken pedestrians use the public roads too and I would be careful not to exaggerate the speed of a drunken cyclist. Taking into account that the energy (hence the possible damage) equals mass time velocity [M x V], the mass of the cyclist plus bike rarely exceeds 100 kilograms while the speed decreases with the level of alcohol in blood.
The whole affair unveils the attitude of Polish authorities to the cycling in general. Both the cyclist, as the motorist in Poland could have 0,2 promille of alcohol in blood. In Germany the cyclist could have 1,6 promille of alcohol (and the car driver — 0,5 promille).
In Poland in road accidents with alcohol in background, ca. 86% of them caused drunken car drivers and only in 14% of them have been involved drunken cyclists. In majority of the accidents with drunken drivers casualties or heavy injuries occurred. In accidents with the drunken cyclists the number of injuries and casualties was much more lower, and the victims have been often the cyclists alone.
In Polish prisons ca. 1931 people have been jailed after being caught in flagrante delicto for cycling after boozing (more wait in the custody). Cost of keeping all these sinful cyclists in prisons equals about EUR 10 to 12 million per year. For that much money Poland could build about 250 kilometers of cycle paths along the most busy national roads.
– As to the photo we have been unable to ascertain if the cyclist pictured is drunk. Or for that matter Polish. Our investigations continue (See Comments below for results). The editor.