Preparing your next Car Free Day: Check out the fundamentals.

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The First Car Free Days Challenge: Toledo Spain, October 1994

Whereas Car Free Days have been organized in cities around the world all over the year for the last two  decades, there is inevitably a spate of high activity in the month of September, much of it the result of the European Commission’s continuing commitment to both the concept of Car Free Days and their own European Mobility Week. And each year we here at World Streets dig into our archives and dust off one or two of the classics as a timely reminder of the fact that the Car Free Day concept has been around and doing its bit since the first international announcement and challenge was made in Toledo Spain on 19 October 1994.

velib-guyWhy do we bother to do this year after year? After all, there is copious documentation and background available at a click, as a quick tour of Google of those three little words yields somewhat more than 55,000 entries, including a fair if distinctly uneven introduction in the Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car-Free_Days. The problem is that most of this material seriously misses the point, and as a result often handicaps cities and groups wishing to organize a Day (a week or month close) to underestimate potential of this approach. The trick is that all of this is quite a simple as it may at first glance appear.

To this end, here we are once again minding the store with the original 1994 article announcing the concept, along with several others from our archives which would appear here in the coming days. A general reference which the reader may find of use is the general introduction which appears here – https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/car-free-days/. You will find at the end of this reposting, three separate annexes which provide supplemental background on (Annex A) New Mobility – 1988-1994 Program Summary; (B) Other Tools to Get the Job Done; and (C) a listing of more recent references.

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Gender Mainstreaming: A Reminder

Gender Mainstreaming is a globally accepted strategy for promoting gender equality. Mainstreaming is not an end in itself but a strategy, an approach, a means to achieve the goal of gender equality. Mainstreaming involves ensuring that gender perspectives and attention to the goal of gender equality are central to all activities – policy development, research, advocacy/ dialogue, legislation, resource allocation, and planning, implementation and monitoring of programmes and projects.

women-on-bus

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Preparing your next Car Free Day: Check out the fundamentals.

World CFD website top banner

The First Car Free Days Challenge: Toledo Spain, October 1994

Short History: Whereas Car Free Days have been organized in cities around the world all over the year for the last two  decades, there is inevitably a spate of high activity in the month of September, much of it the result of the European Commission’s continuing commitment to both the concept of Car Free Days and their own European Mobility Week. And each year we here at World Streets dig into our archives and dust off one or two of the classics as a timely reminder of the fact that the Car Free Day concept has been around and doing its bit since the first international announcement and challenge was made in Toledo Spain on 19 October 1994.

velib-guyWhy do we bother to do this year after year? After all, there is copious documentation and background available at a click, as a quick tour of Google of those three little words yields somewhat more than 55,000 entries, including a fair if distinctly uneven introduction in the Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car-Free_Days. The problem is that most of this material seriously misses the point, and as a result often handicaps cities and groups wishing to organize a Day (a week or month close) to underestimate potential of this approach. The trick is that all of this is quite a simple as it may at first glance appear.

To this end, here we are once again minding the store with the original 1994 article announcing the concept, along with several others from our archives which would appear here in the coming days. A general reference which the reader may find of use is the general introduction which appears here – https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/car-free-days/. You will find at the end of this reposting, three separate annexes which provide supplemental background on (Annex A) New Mobility – 1988-1994 Program Summary; (B) Other Tools to Get the Job Done; and (C) a listing of more recent references.

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Our mobile conscience 

Dealing with good and evil (in traffic)

drawing head held anxietyIn 2010 a 38-year-old motorist filled with remorse entered a police station in the Netherlands to give himself up. Twenty years earlier he had run over a child and was ridden with guilt. The man explained that he slept badly since the accident, suffered from nightmares and could not find a decent permanent job. The approximately five-year-old child unexpectedly crossed the road and he could not brake in time. While another motorist took care of the victim, he drove away and since then he lived contrary to his conscience. Until it was too much for him that morning and he decided to surrender himself.

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CONGESTION AS POLICY. (You have seen worse.)

Whether or not congestion is “good” is one thing.  But what is for sure is that one way or another congestion is policy, or at the very least a policy option. And in some cases quite possibly a wise one.

Now this has been said many  times  by many people in many places, yet despite its incontrovertible wisdom the message continues to get lost on policy makers.  So in cases like this, we have to take a page out of the book of good people who sell us iPhones and cars, and keep repeating our message.

Today let’s hand over the podium to Kent Strumpell  from Los Angeles and see what he had to say on our subject in LA Streetsblog back in early 2008. To this reader it has lost none of relevance over almost a decade.  Read on. Continue reading

Jane Jacobs and a bunch of mothers

jane jacobs robert moses

Battle Royal: Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses

It was late Spring 1958 (as I best recall) in New York City when a young Eric Britton, just out of the US Army and about to dig into the Graduate Faculties of Columbia, was – as young men will do — checking out the action in Washington Square Park in the Village on a warm spring day. When he ran into two little kids wearing a sandwich sign saying something like “Save the Square!”. The kids handed me a pamphlet and explained that they were there to help their mother, who was just over there (they pointed).

And that was how I first met Mrs. Jane Jacobs, hard at work on an at-first very lonely effort to save this precious bit of NYC public space from the depredations of Robert Moses plan —  Moses was a high profile public official known as the “master builder” of mid-20th century New York City. His plan was to run an urban highway extension of Fifth Avenue over the concrete remains of what would once have been a beautiful and much used public park. It was clearly going to be a losing cause, but the lady over there decided to stick it out. And as she did others, unknowns and celebrities, gradually started to get behind her cause.

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Why Alternatives Analysis is critical to Penang’s transportation future

Alternatives assessment or alternatives analysis is a problem-solving approach used in environmental design, technology, and policy. It aims to minimize environmental harm by comparing multiple potential solutions in the context of a specific problem, design goal, or policy objective. It is intended to inform decision-making in situations with many possible courses of action, a wide range of variables to consider, and significant degrees of uncertainty.

Since the early 1970’s transportation planners apply a multi-modal and/or comprehensive approach to analyzing a wide range of alternatives and impacts on the transportation system to influence beneficial outcomes

Penang’s SRS ca. RM 50 bn “Transport Master Plan” does not make scientific use of an essential transport planning and decision tool, namely Alternatives Analysis to test and compare alternative solutions to identified mobility solutions (see below). This is a grave deficiency which discredits the entire body of proposals,, methodology and recommendations currently being actively pushed by the state government and their under-qualified  consulting partners whose expertise lies in other sectors than strategic transport planning and policy..

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A Mayor’s-Eye View of Sustainable Transportation: Politics as the art of the possible

no excuses sir 2The letter that follows is, as you will quickly surmise, not an actual communication from one elected official in one case, but rather a composite, a distillation of experience that I have had over these last years of trying to push the sustainable transportation agenda in many parts of the world, almost always in conjunction and in dialogue with mayors and other city leaders.

As you will see, it is not that they are uniformly adverse to or not interested in the concepts behind sustainable transportation and sustainable cities. It is just that they have a great many other things on their mind, including staying on top day after day of the considerable challenges of managing their city — and, in not very long, running once again for reelection. This is the political reality of which those of us who would be agents of change must be aware, that politics is the art of the possible. Now let’s turn the stage over to our mayor: Continue reading

Archives: Bremen Declaration on Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning in Europe

An excellent summary reminder of what a sustainable transport master plan is all about. Sadly in the real world of politics and lobbies, we will hear and read many of these words, lightly said, but the real challenges behind each of these short points are all too rarely understood and respected.  It is the job of those of us who understand the importance of these points to stubbornly bring them up again and again as the decision process moves on.  Eternal vigilance and active civil society.

Mayors, political representatives and transport experts of numerous municipalities and regions in Europe and beyond, are assembled in Bremen on April 12-13th, 2016 for the 3rd European Conference on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans.

While recognising that European guidance documents exist on sustainable urban mobility planning, Bremen and other European cities demonstrate that it is possible to breathe life into a planning document by grounding the plan in the experience and context of a city with all of its large and small challenges. The purpose of this document is to place the EU’s sustainable urban mobility planning guidelines firmly in the context of the reality of European cities.

The third annual SUMP conference focusses on an efficient and people-focussed city as a core objective of Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning. Following on the conference themes, this declaration emphasises some cornerstones of content and process:

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Soft techniques in martial arts (and good governance)

woman soft martial artsAn important element of our Better Choices sustainability  strategy is to achieve our carefully-considered objectives for the city, often very demanding, without avoidable social conflicts and divisions into opposing camps.  For that we need to be attentive to soft policy techniques.

Softness is often confused with weakness. But not in the martial arts. The goal of the soft technique is deflecting the attacker’s force to his or her disadvantage, with the defender exerting minimal force. With a soft technique, the defender uses the attacker’s aggressivity, force and momentum against him or her, by leading the attack(er) in a direction to where the defender will be advantageously positioned (tai sabaki) and leaving the attacker off balance; a seamless and to many invisible movement then effects the appropriate soft technique.

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World Transport Policy & Practice. Vol. 22 No.4. Feb. 2017

22/4 Summary

In this issue, we return to some key themes in sustainable transport. The article by Wendy Sarkissian and Lori Mooren reflects on the death in a road crash of Wendy’s husband and puts this dreadful experience in a wider context of how we should deal with eliminating death and injury on the roads and how we should improve our ability to react to tragedies of this kind. At a time when 3 cyclists this year (January and February 2017) have been killed in London (see reference list) we are even more acutely aware than ever that these horrific tragedies are not interrogated systematically and thoroughly and not translated into immediate action to get the chances of death and serious injury as near to zero as we can.

This is the point of Vision Zero, the Swedish road safety policy that says “a mistake in the road traffic environment must not attract the death penalty”.

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How one lion-hearted Amsterdam inventor gave bike-sharing to the world

luud-white-bike-reproduction-in-museumIn the 1960s, a Dutchman named Luud Schimmelpennink created a ‘”white bike” plan to fight against harmful pollution and cars. His invention has changed public transportation around the world. So why did his bicycle-loving home city never embrace it?

 

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Grassroots 2017 campaign: Thanks Luud for all you have done, taught and inspired us.

luud-schimmelpennink-on-bike-at-80

I propose we keep this simple and collaborative.  Starting as we did yesterday with a simple announcement suggesting that perhaps this could be an idea well worth pursuing, together. And then as a next step  in this process opening up several coordinated channels for your thoughts, comments and perhaps additional articles and references on Luud’s work and contributions that may, small step by small step, start to give us a firmer foundation to pursue this idea.

So at this point I believe that my best contribution will not be to add additional essays with my own thoughts and reasons on this, but rather to open up the field for sharing your thoughts.

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Sustainable Penang Civil Society Honor Roll

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Dear Friends of a Sustainable Penang,

I am hard at work on a challenging book under the title BETTER CHOICES: Bringing Sustainable Mobility to Smaller Asian Cities, which is not about Penang, the focus being much broader. However, at one point in the book I intend to comment on some of the most interesting things I have observed that are being done in Penang via the internet and civil society in order to broaden the debate and inform both concerned citizens, government, the business community, policy makers and the public more generally. We call this The Third Force.

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Sustainable Transport Planners Bookshelf (intro)

better-choices-logo

virtual library hand book penangIn support of the Better Choices process we are working hard to develop an open on-line library resource with select references on sources intended to be useful to planners, local government, decision makers, operators, the media, students, and concerned elements of civil society. These documents and references are being selected with the counsel of leading international authorities in our field.

For latest information on the Better Choices: Bringing Sustainable Transport to Smaller Asian Cities project, of which the Bookshelf is one part, click to https://goo.gl/qN85st

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