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Friday, April 15, 2005

Car-free cities

Man, cars are soooo 20th century! This site shows us how it's done around the world. I can only hope more U.S. metropolitan areas consider car-free layouts. Imagine less pollution, less congestion, less dependence on foreign oil... the benefits are astounding.

PS- Shortly after this post went up, the hate comments started, which is disappointing but not surprising, I guess. Just to clarify for some of you, car-free cities DO exist and are great fun to explore. However, every day I rack up the miles in LA because of a sprawling urban grid and mediocre public transit system. It bums me out, and I welcome the day we can all rely less on cars and do a little more walking under cleaner skies. Call me a hippie if you want, I kinda like it. :)

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» Car Free Cities from Lawrence "The Dreamer" Chen's Blog
Hey, I'm all for car free cities....I'd sure like to find one now.... Considering I've been living car-free since November 1997.....but then again that's when I almost died in one. Meanwhile, I've some how managed to live here in central Ohio, wh... [Read More]

» Carfree Cities from Technolovie
Sarah talks about Carfree Cities. Maybe an utopia, but an interesting read. ... [Read More]

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Don't know how many of my long time readers remembers a conversation/post i had on ozymandias that was a converstation i had with one of my friends about alternative transportations and how cars are the bane of the earth. Well [Read More]

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The Laporte Report The Revenge of the Screen Savers Podcast [MP3 / 15,258,057 MB] A very promising first broadcast for the team of Laporte, Norton, Heron and Rose. If you not downloaded the podcast, consider doing so and give it... [Read More]



Seen this already on digg. Any fresh news?


She gets most of her blog postings from digg. Same with AOTS/TSS's Feed. But its ok, I still love her. I do it too.


Well, good luck trying to get people away from their super sized SUV/Monster truck/whatever-crap-they-call-them to grocery stores. People wouldn't even consider driving something more fuel efficient, let alone ditching the car altogether.


You need to pull your head out your hippy @ss! Cars are sooo 20th century... OK! I tell you what, give your wonderful car away to charity and start walking everywhere, or ride your bkide everywhere then say this.

What a hippocrit! I mean you and Kevin have wonderful new cars that gobble up arab juice and you have the nerve to complain about other people.

Practice what you preach lady! You are a total joke Sarah!!!

sarah responds- why do you think i'm complaining about other people? read my post again and you'll see that i'm not. oh, and my car's over 10 years old, does that still count as new?


Yes, then we can all sit around and hug trees. ;-)
Women can stop shaving their legs and men can squat to take a piss. Oh, what about airlines. Lets bring the economy to a grinding hault by reserving flight for only the elite and super wealthly. As for me, I will continue to use my SUV, jet skis, motorcycles, lawn mowers. I also support the total destruction of earth by pouring used motor oil on the ground, pesticides on my lawn and burning tires. Have fun everybody. I really enjoy these comments sections. Its fun to piss people off and watch them get all upset over words. You know the old saying, "stick n stones". Well I gotta go kick my dog, smoke some weed and push old ladies down the staircase.
Talk to you turkeys later. ;-)


So I wanted to get my grandmothers opinion on this. (grandma is 98) but communicating with her is a lot like talking with Terri Shiavo. Nothing but grunts and drool. I would imagine she would have said something to the fact "stop talking nonesense" and "how would i get to the dr's office 90 kilometers away"?


WOW! A life without cars, is NOT a life for me! :-P


How would I cruise for chiks? I dont think riding my old ten speed would work.

The Monkeyking

If I didn't need my car to get around LA I'd ditch it in a minute.
I'm originally from NYC and never needed a car till I moved. Car-free is the best!

Joey B.

Sarah you drive everywhere in L.A. I live in Chicago and don't drive hardly at all. I agree that there should be more public transportation here in the states but a car free city. Give me a break (litterly). Good thing you are going to the Village this weekend, not too many cars but there are a ton of liberal whack jobs that you can preach to. Maybe a smaller dependance on cars in the city would be more appropriate than a car free city! But then again I am sure that you would want to tax me to death so I couldn't afford to buy a car much less anything else like an "L" fare. Move to Denmark (180% tax on cars) in Copenhagen. Or to Canada so you can take part in killing 300,000 innocent baby seals.

Not Concerned Concervative

Hmmm no cars eh?... well I will continue to use my car where ever I go. Burning Gas all the way... the earth is not going to be destroyed by driving cars... there is more methane in a single cow pie than 10 automobles... So hurry and hug a tree while you still can... its gunna burn someday read Revelation


wow. you folk get aweful upset about what might happen. it's a good concept. and it might or might not be the best thing for us. but we won't know unless we try. people complained about everything when it was being integrated (planes, trains, automobiles) but it turned out to be good. let's see where this takes us and not try to stop innovation just because we fear change.

enjoy! + cd - Hi s.

Works for me. I hate maintaining vehicles; it's too expensive. :)

Michael E

works for me

I already walk or bike everywhere


a timely post



Forget Car-less. I'm waiting for my flying car!


*grabs strawberry twizzlers* *gets comfy for the fireworks* ;)

Meh .. might be kinda cool in a way. But what if Kevin was late to that big dinner date because he had to walk halfway across town to pick ya up? I spose he could leave an hour early for the walk over tho. ;) And how am I gonna bang chix if I can't use the back of my van? :P

Ryan Alcott

Hippie! ;) hehe


Why is everyone so obsessed with their cars? I would love to have the opportunity to live in a car-free environment. I am definitely not a hippie, but I can see the major benefits of not enduring the gridlock of our "modern" transportation system. And to my fellow citizen of Chicago, at least Denmark and Canada have proper health care. If caring about the citizens of this country and the world makes me a hippie, well... I guess I am then.


I'm sorry for you Sarah. Give an opinion and get your head chewed off. I would get the same thing if I said way not find an alternative to fuel. I would love to see, or at least, live in a city the might be car-free or even car-reduced but I don't see it happening because people don't want it to, especially here in America. And I know what people are going to say "if you don't like it then leave", well I love this country and defend it every day of my life and have done so for 7 years now. So think about that one.


Actually men do sqaut to go to the bathroom, in China.


There are no car cities Mackinaw Island in Michigan is a big vacation spot, no cars allowed, only walking and horse travel, it's a very real possibility and would help the enviorment, diseases, and quailty of life.


Massive Change



I think this is a good Idear! knowing that there is less polution in the air. I like to walk now! because gas prices have jumped nearly 2.72 where i live. Very awsome idea... nice post Ms. Lane......

Joey B.

Geoffrey we do have free health care in this country, have you seen all of the bums down at Northwestern getting free health care everyday, yeah I pay for those people to go in there. My taxes and my ungodly high health care costs go to that. Canada you say? Ha go over there and take a look because you will be waiting in a long line for mediocre healthcare. Why do you think health professionals are moving to the US in droves from Canada, cause they don't get paid anything there. Oh you say drug prices are high here? Ofcourse they are, we pay for the entire world to have cheap drugs like Canada. If we don't pay then the drug companies don't do research to find new drugs and cures. So you hippies take your @sses across the border and see how you like it, you will soon be crawling back home wondering why your promise land was not all it was cracked up to be. And Sarah don't worry I would like to be able to only have taxis in the city, that way I could get home a little faster each week but it ain't gonna happen. For all of you people who are concerned about not polluting with cars why arn't you buying hybrids and Honda plugins in droves. Sales are faultering and companies are losing money so someone around here is a hippocrit.


It's too bad that LA will always depend on cars. It's the way the city is built. It would be great to have less parking lots and structures so they could be used for something more efficient. I would also ditch my car if I didn't need it. PLus I hate driving; too many jerks on the road.

D Style

But isn't there something seductive about cruising around with six liters under the hood, getting 12 mpg at a cost of $2.50 per gallon? The only thing left is to bring back the non-biodegradeable styrofoam containers from McDonalds so I can chuck one of those out of the window as I'm driving to club a baby seal.


I sooooo agree with Sarah Lane in this post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


people sure are passionate when it comes to their posessions! anyway, i'm 29 and live on long island and have never had a car. i live 3 blocks away from my current job, so i walk, and in the past i have taken the bus to work and to college. its been inconvenient at times but between buses and trains i can manage. if we had decent public transportation it would be a breeze!

a car-free city may not be coming any time soon but if you look at the long term (which the bush administration doesn't care to do...) it seems rather obvious. how can we have population go up and up and more and more cars on the roads? well maybe hover cars will solve the traffic problems :) but somethings got to give!

Mike Burns

Violette you and all your hippie hugging friends suck! How dare you make an assumption about our president and what does it have to do with the post. It is you idiot liberals that give your party such a bad name. No wonder you lost both elections and to a mediocre republican candidate. Way out of touch with reality. I think your bra less tiddies whacked you in the head one too many times.


oh yeah... you're right. what was i thinking?


wow what an argument....not. If you want to put up a real argument don't include things like idiot and titties and stuff. If you want to get your point across WITHOUT sounding like a complete moron then sound intelligent Mike, not like a 12 year old (no offense 12 year olds). And instead of just saying everything just back it up eith actual real things.

have a nice day



"How dare you make an assumption about our president and what does it have to do with the post."

it has much more to do with the post than my "bra less tiddies" ! ha ha!


I agree with you Sarah. I'm hoping they ban passenger cars from Manhattan island in the near future. Its awful in such a small space.

White Elk

@ Negative Naysayers

What a foul reaction for such a humble idea.

Of course American cities can not just suddenly go carless. They're not set up for it for it. So thinking of the infrastructure realities of current day LA; and then making a judgement about a carless city, is simply ignorant. Your judgement is based on a fantasy scenario ~ ie: A current day city like Los Angeles, that is designed and built for a society that is dependant on personal motor vehicals.

A carless city would have to be (re)-designed from the inside out. Slowly and over time. It IS possible to have a carless city; but I doubt that it will ever happen in America. I think the peeps will always want their personal people movers. At some point we will be forced to abandon transport by combustion; but in one form or another people will still use personal transportation (space permiting).

Personally, I long for the day that I can drive my hydro powered Luv Bus onto a solar powered Mag-Lev Train; then kick back and enjoy the scenery as we speed off to Rio @ 300+ mph. But first I'd ride the rails across the Bering Strait Bridge, and then straight to the Swiss Alps to hike up a mountain and get away from all the pollution puking, personal people pushers.


Well, considering your president has owned and has ties into OIL COMPANIES.. there is no reason for him to tell people to stop using his products.

And at least a large portion of the states has decently warm weather most of the time, so there is no excuse about bad weather to not go for a nice walk. Here in Northwestern Ontario it's just getting warm here. Oh and warm is 10 degrees Celcius (50 F) after a winter with -35 C (-31 F) temperatures. At least till summer kicks in. Enjoy your warm weather and get some fresh air :)

The Canadian Government has created the One Tonne Challenge. (yes metric tonnes) Use less energy, conserve water and resources.
Here's the link:

Oh and Sarah where was Kev on Friday's ep? and you guys have a week off or something?


Wow, you americans couldnt be more right winged if you tried. Dickheads...

Evil Bastard


Dig the idea of a car free society. If public transportation was more readily available, and the cities designed around it, it would be great. Unfortunately I live in a town that is full of urban sprawl, and no reliable buses, or trains. Besides the layout of the city doesn't allow for easy navigation.

BTW my buggy is 14 years old and I love it :)


Yo Sarah i agree cause A: Utah where i live is the worst when it comes to enviromental frendliness Check out cache valley utah and also that escalante starecase thing! B: i Don't have a Drivers licesnce so no car C: I think hybrid cars are cool even though the guy i voted for (Bush) is all hydredgen this hydregen that! Any ways i agree! where i live (So. Utah) there crazy about riding bikes!!!!
And don't let anyone tell you your wrong! I mean im a Mormon that Watches R rated movies And play's video games!!!! Im Cool with your oppinion's as long as your not a vegatarien!!!! Just kidding!!!!!


"From now on we will travel in TUBES!"

From Jack Black in a Tenacious D song.

Man, some of you people are just some mean ole sucky bastards.

Sean Galbraith

Hi Sarah,

I'm a professional urban planner so I'll throw in my 2c. The biggest North American major cities were first designed to be car free... because there WERE no cars at their birth. The problem is that they weren't "horse-free".. polution was much worse (albeit different). Unfortunately, the automobile's popularity (heavily influenced by the collusion between the oil, car and tire industries) post-world war 1 (and especially WW2) pretty much destroyed most American urban centers and suburban areas. In about 10 years, "suburb"'s meaning went from a more rural setting to the unsustainable monstrosity that it currently is.

And no one should be under any false impressions that "suburbia" is at all sustainable. It costs far more to upkeep and maintain a suburban area than it can ever generate in terms of revenue for its governing body. Suburbs exist solely because they can leech off a proper urban center nearby or the state. It is basic economics. The other thing that makes it possible is a cheap foreign source of oil (and until you hit about $10 a gallon, oil will be ridiculously cheap).

Recently there has been a new "planning movement" of "New Urbanism" that seeks to return livable densities and distances to communities. Unfortunately, there are few building and zoning bylaws that are setup to accomodate the requirements of these systems. Where they have been implemented (Oregon, Florida, a few other places) they've been amazingly successful and property values are incredible. People want this housing style and its benefits, but it is taking some time for it to be adopted.. we'll get there.

While I don't think that "car free" will be possible in North America until long after "peak oil" has been confirmed and gas prices hit at least $10/gallon.. that day IS coming. I predict within by the end of the century (especially with China/India continually expanding and acquiring more of the limited extraction capacity.). Hydrogen technology, while good, isn't enough. Hybrids are definitely not enough. There is a really interesting company in the US that is developing "garbage to oil" technology, which if mass feasible would revolutionize the world (garbage becomes an amazing resource!). But until that day, enjoy your car while you have it (I know I do).

And before I get labled a crackpot or a hippie or something, I'll pre-empt it by saying I'm an economic conservative and free-market enthusiast.

Sean Galbraith

Joey B: Your ignorance of the Canadian health care system is staggering. I have direct personal experience with both (having lived in the US and Canada extensively) and I'd take the Canadian system over the American one anyday. Don't believe everything you read.


I totally agree with you Sarah. We all use cars but if a city plan was properly laid out life would be so much better. Cleaner air, save money, and a healthier society. And I also wouldn't run into a rock on the corner of a friends drive-way and scrap the crap out of the front of my car. P.S.: I agree with this even though my dad actually assembles trucks for Ford.


I'm with you Sarah. I'm in a small college town and we're relatively car-less, even the people who make up the actual populous of the city that aren't college kids don't use their cars as much. Plus the other benefit of having fewer cars: less drunk driving accidents.


Sean I don't believe that you live in Canada. If you did you would not be saying the things you are saying. I do live in Canada in Windsor and the healthcare system here is horrible. I could be dieing and end up waiting 8 hours to get anything done. Not to mention the care I do get is horrible compared to what is available in the US when you pay. Sorry to disappoint my American friends but Canada is definantly not the solution. I do like the carless cities idea though :)


We have to slow our use of oil or the world will no longer continue as we know it. http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/_/id/7203633?&has-player=true&version=

Look at that, it's long but worth the read.


So. Her car is 10 years old? Did you know that older cars burn more gas.


I live on Mackinac Island in Michigan, we all travel by horse and buggy, the only vehicles here are the ambulance and fire trucks.


Yea, lets bash her for being one to hope for a cleaner planet for our children. That is SOO unhonorable, right guys? Yea, screw our planet. We dont need it anyways, huh? Whatever we could do to become dependant on other countries for oil, would be great. That would mean no more raising of gas prices if we were to show them that they dont have as much power as they think that they do. OHH, just terrible, I dont know if I could handle being able to afford gas.

Bill Kirkpatrick

If you hippies would let us drill for oil in Alaska then we would not have to depend on foreign oil. You can't have it both ways you hippocrits.


your all jerks, honestly car free citys exist and they work great. If you have anything intelligent to say, then say it, if not stop crying.

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