July/August 1997, p.2

Auto-Free World

A scene from the Netherlands, where government support has made cycling safer and more popular than anywhere else in the world.Driving Daze
With gas prices dropping, Americans will take more road trips this summer than ever before. In 1996, two thirds of adults traveled more than 100 miles by car to reach their vacation destination. Yet, according to American Demographics, U.S. travelers aren't too happy about hitting the road. The top three things that bothered them in a recent survey were: traffic and other drivers (22%), driving (21%) and time spent in the car (18%)

Next Stop...Detroit
General Motors is doing the unthinkable. The giant U.S. automaker has started up a bus service to transport employees from the far away suburbs to the new downtown headquarters. Moving people en masse should save the company about $200 in parking fees for each employee who rides the bus (gasp!) rather than drive his or her car to work.
- Walt Street Journal

Gas No Mow
One hour of lawn mowing produces as much hydrocarbons as a car does after being driven 11 1/2 hours. The 90 million gas- powered garden tools in the U.S. spew out nearly 7 million tons of pollutants into the air each year. How to cut grass cleanly? Check out the Dynamow, a $200 reel mower that attaches to the back of a bicycle. The human-pedaled machine will mow a lawn almost twice as fast as a power mower, no sweat.
-Garden Design

Per Favore, No Park Here
Romans are saying Basta! to the swarms of cars parked in the tiny ancient streets of their Trastevere neighborhood. "The people who live here want a certain amount of discipline because cars are destroying the whole area," said one resident of thirty years. "You can't breathe anymore. Mothers with young children have no place to play anymore. Cars have taken over the area. It is complete anarchy." Thanks to Francesco Rutelli, elected four years ago as the Green Party candidate, some streets are now blocked off by giant potted plants and paid-parking areas have been limited to areas painted blue. Though non-residents are roaring mad that they can't park wherever they want, and will have to pay $1.20 an hour in the blue zones, neighbors love the "Blue Trastevere" plan.
-The New York Times

More Roads Mean More Traffic, Duh
A new study published in Transportation Research gives statistical weight to the idea that more roads lead to more cars. The authors found that 60 to 90% of all trips on expanded urban highways would not have occurred had the roads not been widened. -Surface Transportation Policy Project

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Changing Gears
The former head of Chrysler is no longer interested in gas-guzzling cars. Lee lacoc- ca, with his new company Global Motors, now has visions of electric bikes and trikes populating the globe. "Why not electric pedicabs," he said, noting that 60% of car trips in the U.S. are less than six miles. "And in China, where bikes are king, they may not follow the U.S. model of putting a gas station on every corner. They might go right to electric."
- USA Today

It's Not My Problem
With hopes of "making Britain a better place to live," deputy prime minister John Prescott has public transportation high on his list of priorities. "We want to improve public transport and make it more attractive so that people will use their cars less. We have fewer cars here that most other countries but we use them more and that is a poor reflection on the public transport system." Though he drives a Jaguar and has been convicted for speeding, Prescott sees the problem as due to everyone else's car. We are reaching in our cities a situation where it is impossible to accommodate them," he said. But there's always room for one more Jag.
-The Manchester Guardian

Wise Words
"We will win the fight," says Mayor Charlotte Ammundsen on her plan for a car-free Copenhagen, home to more than 300 km of bike lanes and 2000 "city bikes" for free urban transport.
-Guardian Weekly

"Cycling has reached an interesting and crucial stage. It is now recognized for its potential to solve real problems. Yet, it is in danger of becoming a mere accessory of our busy, car-dependent, car-dominated culture - a recreation tool, a symbol of leisure. People have simply forgotten how useful the bicycle is." -Phil Liggett, president of the Britain's Cycle Touring Campaign.
-London Cyclist

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