Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category

Happy New Year!

Some quotes to think about for the new year:

“The things you own end up owning you.” – Tyler Durden, character in the “Fight Club”

“Our national flower is the concrete cloverleaf.” – Lewis Mumford

“Restore human legs as a means of travel. Pedestrians rely on food for fuel and need no special parking facilities.” – Lewis Mumford

“Fitting a walk into a busy life can be challenging, so I suggest walking, rather driving to work or to run errands as often as you can – in other words, think of walking as alternative transportation.” – Andrew Weil

“My favorite form of transportation is walking. I live in a neighborhood where you can walk to restaurants, banks, and shops.” – Ed Begley, Jr.

“In Copenhagen, there’s a long-term commitment to creating a well-functioning pedestrian city where all forms of movement – pedestrian, bicycles, cars, public transportation – are accommodated with equal priority.” – Bjarke Ingels

“Transportation is the center of the world! It is the glue of our daily lives. When it goes well, we don’t see it. When it goes wrong, it negatively colors our day, makes us feel angry and impotent, curtails our possibilities.” – Robin Chase


Quote for the Day

“As the avenues and streets of a city are nothing less than its arteries and veins, we may well ask what doctor would venture to promise bodily health if he knew that the blood circulation was steadily growing more congested!”
― Hugh Ferriss, The Metropolis of Tomorrow

from Wikipedia:
“Hugh Ferriss (1889 – 1962) was an American delineator (one who creates drawings and sketches of buildings) and architect. According to Daniel Okrent, Ferriss never designed a single noteworthy building, but after his death a colleague said he ‘influenced my generation of architects’ more than any other man. Ferriss also influenced popular culture, for example Gotham City (the setting for Batman) and Kerry Conran’s Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.”

Quote of the Day

“You go into a community and they will vote 80 percent to 20 percent in favor of a tougher Clean Air Act, but if you ask them to devote 20 minutes a year to having their car emissions inspected, they will vote 80 to 20 against it. We are a long way in this country from taking individual responsibility for the environmental problem.”

– William D. Ruckelshaus, former EPA administrator, New York Times, November 30, 1988

I guess some things never change. Actually today you might not even get 80 percent to vote for a tougher Clean Air Act. But he’s right about individual responsibility.

What could you do? Leave your car at home – walk, bike or take the bus?


Quote of the Day

“Shah said 95 cents of every health dollar is spent on hospitals and other types of clinical care, while only 5 cents goes to prevention. He’d like to see a lot more spent on prevention. Building more hospitals and other medical facilities won’t improve a community’s health, he said. Instead, communities need more sidewalks and bike lanes to get people exercising, and supportive housing that will keep the homeless out of emergency rooms.”

– Dr. Nirav Shah, New York State’s health commissioner as reported in yesterday’s Syracuse Post-Standard.


Feeding the meters

A fascinating look at parking meters – where they came from – and why they are necessary – can be found in this article by Hunter Oatman-Stanford.

“A 2011 report called “Europe’s Parking U-Turn” by Michael Kodransky and Gabrielle Hermann states that ‘every car trip begins and ends in a parking space, so parking regulation is one of the best ways to regulate car use.'”

Here’s some history from the article that you might not be aware of:

“Segrave notes that by 1920, city traffic jams were commonplace due to bountiful free parking without legal restrictions to encourage turnover. Street parking spaces were typically occupied by commuting workers, leading to snail-paced traffic and frequent double-parking as daytime drivers fought for the few spaces vacated during business hours. In many urban centers, more street space was filled with parked cars than moving ones. Unfortunately, most city leaders didn’t turn to mass transit as a solution to increased congestion, and actually used gridlock on downtown streets, frequently due to street parking, as an excuse to tear up efficient commuter tracks and inner-city rail systems.”

“The most visible instance of such degradation was the General Motors streetcar scandal: Beginning in the late 1930s, several automobile-related businesses, including GM, Firestone, and Standard Oil, created front companies to purchase and dismantle rail-based transit systems, especially inner city tramways, and replace them with less efficient bus lines. In 1949, the companies would be convicted of a conspiracy to monopolize transportation, but the damage was already done.”

It’s important to look back to see exactly how we got here.


Need for solitude

In a chapter on solitude in Catherine Ryan Hyde’s book “The Long, Steep Path” there’s a paragraph that got me thinking.

“I had heard, or read, years ago, a theory on why so many people won’t carpool or use public transit. Because, for a great number of those people, their daily commute to work and back is the only time they’re alone. The only time they can listen to silence, or play their own music, or think thoughts that no one else interrupts.”

So I don’t think that still applies to public transit. People can zone out with their iPods or phones or lose themselves in a book and they don’t even have to worry about driving. Many people traveling on buses or trains don’t have much interaction with their fellow riders anyway. This has actually been part of the marketing effort to promote public transit.

But carpooling, that’s a different animal.

I can understand why people would like to have that time alone in their car to shake off the work day worries before transitioning to the homefront. I’ve been there. I commuted for 20 years from Cortland to Syracuse, a 40 minute drive each way. And yes, although I hated the commute for other reasons, I did appreciate the time to decompress before opening the door at home to husband, kids, and dog. I now have less than a 5 minute commute home and can definitely bring the stresses of the day right through the door.

For two of those twenty years though I carpooled with one other person. So I know what that’s like. And there are advantages and disadvantages. Until you become really comfortable with another person being in the car, it’s very difficult to not feel obligated to keep a conversation going the entire time.

For many people, driving alone may be the only time they have to enjoy their own music in peace, or listen to a book without interruption, or be alone with their thoughts.

So it’s important to recognize this when we try and promote ridesharing.

Your thoughts?



Don’t blame the weather

“What North American city has the most linear feet of successful retail-fronted sidewalks?
What developed country has the highest share of urban trips going to walking instead of driving?
How many months out of the year do sidewalk cafes stay open in Copenhagen?

The lesson we learn from these places is that walking down a narrow, shop-lined street in icy Boston or sweltering Savannah is a vastly superior experience to walking down an arterial between parking lots and car dealerships on San Diego’s best day. Get the design right and people will walk in almost any climate.”

– Jeff Speck in “Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time”