Posts categorised ‘Transport’

Missed yesterday, but here’s my entry for day 6 of the Micro.blog photo challenge 😅 This infamous engineering project, Skyrail, runs close to my parents’ house. It enabled the removal of the level crossing that held up car traffic. Still waiting for the promised improvements to train service.

photo taken from street level, showing two large viaducts passing over a suburban shopping strip, casting a big shadow on the ground. the photo is taken facing in the same direction as the viaducts, so you can see the land underneath the viaducts has some benches and recently-planted trees

Link: “Jessica Hart’s 5-year-old was killed by a car while riding her bike in DC. Now Hart is fighting for safer streets.

Original post found at: https://www.vox.com/23462548/allison-hart-pedestrian-deaths-suvs-deadliest-roads

I fuckin’ hate these huge SUVs and I get genuinely angry when I see them on our streets. The people who drive these cars kill people at much higher rates than drivers of normal sedan-type cars. When a driver in a sedan rams their car into a pedestrian, usually the car hits the pedestrian’s legs, and the pedestrian goes up and over the car’s bonnet. When the driver of an SUV rams into a pedestrian, the pedestrian is hit in the chest and much more likely dragged under the car, killing them. On top of this, visibility out of SUVs is terrible, especially down low enough to see children. People who wantonly choose to buy and drive such disgusting killing machines should have that taken as an aggravating factor in any case against them where they’ve killed somebody. But of course, that would require society to take it seriously when people kill other people using cars in the first place: As the truism goes, “If you want to murder someone and get away with it, just hit them with a car.”

I have to temper my rage here with the knowledge that the prison-industrial complex doesn’t help anybody. Revenge doesn’t bring victims of vehicular violence, like this woman’s 5-year-old daughter, back to life. Really, people should be prevented from being able to kill people with their cars in the first place. It should not be possible for ordinary consumers to buy these kinds of murder machines. Street design must force motorists to drive at low speeds, very carefully, through any environment where people walk (like residential or commercial streets). For the US specifically, “right turn on red” is a gross insult to public safety that should be immediately abolished. Public transport and cycling and walking infrastructure must be good enough that a normal, rational person would find it a better option than driving. Perhaps that would be enough to stop motorists killing children 🤷🏻‍♀️

Link: “Electric vehicle shift alone will not solve urban transport woes, says Portuguese minister

Original post found at: https://www.euractiv.com/section/electric-cars/news/shift-to-electric-vehicles-will-not-solve-urban-transport-woes-says-portuguese-minister/

Minister Pedro Nuno Santos dismissed the argument that the rapid uptake of electric vehicles is a panacea for urban transport, asserting that EVs will not solve the fundamental problems of cars.

“If we simply replace all combustion cars with electric cars, we will end up with the same kind of congestion, the same huge amount of lost time in traffic, the same unsustainable levels of road accidents, and the same struggle for public space,” he said.

The PTV app really makes it inordinately difficult to just go, “Hey. This stop where I’m standing right now? When is the next tram from here?” Do the devs of this app ever use public transport 🤔

Link: “Norway Wants People to Park Their EVs and Ride the Bus

Original post found at: https://www.thedrive.com/news/norway-wants-people-to-park-their-evs-and-ride-the-bus

In efficiency terms, for C02 and emissions in general, it is always going to be better to use mass transit than individual cars, no matter how green they are. Norway’s problem is that it gave such great incentives to buy EVs, going way back, that now people are choosing to drive their cars, powered from the cheap electricity off Norway’s clean grid, rather than get on a bus or train.

Link: “Rewilding Cities” by Clive Thompson

Original post found at: https://clivethompson.medium.com/rewilding-cities-b654e8abf7fb

Talks about the need to reverse car-centric planning, starting with the example of Utrecht (which buried at least one canal under a motorway, then later changed it back into an attractive canal around which people can socialise). It adds:

In the same way that monocropping corn creates weaker, less resilient land, monocropping our streets with cars creates cities that aren’t as vibrant as they ought to be. We often don’t notice it, because we’ve trained ourselves to think of streets as “almost exclusively for cars”. But if you think of all the things you could do with streets, you realize how weird it is that we have, for decades now, used them mostly only for vehicles.

I totally agree! Cars should not be able to drive easily or efficiently through residential areas, or commercial areas, or pretty much any area where people are. They should have to go slow, to play second fiddle to pedestrian and cycle traffic, to duck and weave around pop-up parks and outdoor dining and extensive traffic calming. And most of all, there should be high-quality public transport options, so people go, “Ugh, who the hell would want to drive there? I’m going some other way.” In that way we can actually make cities, towns and suburbs desirable places to be.

Wiki: Suburban Rail Loop

The Suburban Rail Loop is a public transport project in Melbourne to build a new railway line running through the middle suburbs. Construction began in June 2022, with the first section scheduled to open in 2035. With the government claiming its ultimate price tag will be $50 billion, the line is planned to be built in three stages:

  1. SRL East: from Southland to Box Hill, via Clayton, Monash …

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Car-Centric Ableism

I originally posted a version of this post as a comment on Mastodon(external link) but I thought I might as well syndicate it back here. The context was a poll about whether or not the slogan “ban cars” is ableist.

The thing that gets me about the “non-car-centric societies are ableist” line is that there are way more disabled people who can’t or …

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Link: “What would a flying-free world look like?

Original post found at: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20220519-what-if-we-all-stopped-flying

This was an interesting article. As it itself acknowledges, we probably wouldn’t totally get rid of planes or flying. But for climate reasons, we should definitely look to replace as many flights as we can with train journeys (high-speed and/or overnight sleeper trains), teleconferencing, electric bus coach journeys, etc.

As an Australian, it definitely seems clear to me that there will always be airports and flights here. To reach any other land from here will require flying (or, as the article suggests, a return of passenger ships – but the time-consuming nature of that means it’s not very likely to become popular again). Far-flung cities like Perth, Darwin or Cairns will also probably need scheduled passenger flights. But that said, currently a huge chunk of Australia’s aviation emissions are short-distance flights between cities in Australia’s southeast (Melbourne-Sydney, Sydney-Brisbane, etc. – and Sydney-Canberra is absolutely not a route that should ever have existed, the cities are like three hours apart by car!) and this is where high-speed rail would absolutely be a boon. Among infrastructure wonks here it’s kind of a meme, everyone loves the idea of high-speed rail, politicians love promising “feasibility studies” for a temporary boost in the polls, but it’s just not economic. Well, maybe if we actually factored in the externalities of all these fucking short-distance flights, suddenly it would be economic 🤷🏻‍♀️

a cartoony avatar of Jessica Smith is a socialist and a feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.