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Monthly Bulletin issue 46 - May 2003

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CAR BUSTERS BULLETIN >>>
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Edition no. 46 - May 2003 - English version
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Contents:

BOXERS AND BRIEFS
WORLD NEWS
- SEOUL TO RAZE ELEVATED HIGHWAY, REVITALISE CITY CENTRE
- NORWEGIAN WORKERS OFFERED CASH TO GET ON THEIR BIKES
- STRIP-SEARCHED BICYCLISTS RIDE OFF WITH $2.75 MILLION
- CRITICAL MASS IN SAO PAULO, BRAZIL
ANNOUNCEMENTS
- CAR-FREE ECOVILLAGES LISTSERVE LAUNCHED
- AUGUST ECOTOPIA GATHERING TO BE HELD IN UKRAINE
CAR BUSTERS ANNOUNCEMENTS
- WORLD CAR-FREE DAYS 2003 INPUT SOUGHT
- NEW NETWORK DISCUSSION LISTSERVE LAUNCHED
- CAR BUSTERS PONDERS SECOND NAME
- TOWARDS CAR-FREE CITIES IV IN BERLIN IN 2004?
DISCLAIMER


BOXERS & BRIEFS

- The way cities and suburbs are designed could be bad for your health, according to this April 23 article in The USA Today: . Titled "Walk Can't Walk," the article basically affirms what we argued in Car Busters magazine #16.

- On April 5, The New York Times ran an article titled "In Their Hummers, Right Beside Uncle Sam." The report documents post-war enthusiasm for the gas-guzzling, militaristic vehicle. For example: "When I turn on the TV, I see wall-to-wall Humvees, and I'm proud... I'm proud of my country, and I'm proud to be driving a product that is making a significant contribution." It reads like satire, but it's actually true! See .

- Meanwhile, the US environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council () recently released TV ads calling for SUVs (sport-utility vehicles, or 4x4s) with 40-mpg (5.9 litres/100 km) fuel economy "that will take America to work in the morning, without taking it to war in the afternoon." The problem is that Detroit apparently doesn't want to build those... At the recent New York International Auto Show, it was announced that sport-utility vehicles, pickups and minivans now make up 50% of US vehicle sales. The vehicles on sale in the US this year are the heaviest vehicles on record since World War II.

- And finally... "Bush Comes Clean: It Was About Oil": An editorial by Tedd Rall at .


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WORLD NEWS >>
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SEOUL TO RAZE ELEVATED HIGHWAY, REVITALISE CITY CENTRE
[from ITDP's Sustainable Transport E-Update, ]

Fulfilling a central campaign promise, Seoul Mayor Lee Mung-Bak is moving forward with the restoration of a downtown riverfront‚ tearing down an elevated highway and building a Bus Rapid Transit corridor. In office for only two months, Mayor Lee has wasted little time in announcing a new vision for Seoul and taking steps to see it to fruition.
The cornerstone of this dramatic new vision is the restoration of the Cheonggyecheon, an 84-metre-wide river running through central Seoul's Dongdaemun district. Once the center of a diverse urban landscape, the river was gradually polluted with a toxic mix of chemicals. Then, between 1958 and 1978, it was covered with concrete and the city built the Cheonggyechen elevated highway over it. The highway cuts through the centre of Seoul and has long diminished the quality of life for residents of South Korea's capital.
Mayor Lee will take down the six-lane highway, decontaminate the Cheonggyecheon and create a park and wide pedestrian corridor on the shores of the river in its place. The destruction of the Cheongguecheon highway is part of Mr. Lee's redevelopment strategy for the entire area north of the Han River, which he hopes will become Seoul's economic, cultural and environmental centre.
To replace the 120,000 cars that use the corridor daily, the city broke ground on its first formal Bus Rapid Transit line on March 13, which will serve the route. Mayor Lee is aiming to complete the 14.5 km corridor by June to coincide with the freeway's closing.
See the above web page for before/after photos and further details.


NORWEGIAN WORKERS OFFERED CASH TO GET ON THEIR BIKES
[from Reuters, May 6]

Norwegian workers are being offered cash incentives to get on their bikes as part of a government drive to encourage pedal power and cut car use. The scheme, which also aims to boost fitness, started on May 5 in parts of the country and will pay municipal employees about US$0.40 for every kilometre they cycle while on business.
"We want healthier employees and less sickness absence," Hans Ivar Soemme, leader of a "Healthy City" project at Sandnes municipality in southwest Norway, told Reuters. He said he did not know of any similar schemes elsewhere in the world.
Workers will get US$0.43 for each kilometre they ride up to a maximum journey of 5 kilometres. The ride to and from work will not count.
Meanwhile, an estimated 75,000 Norwegians rode their bikes to work on May 5 to mark the annual "Bicycle to Work" campaign, many stopping for a free breakfast organized along cycle paths. As part of a drive to make Norway's 4.5 million people healthier, the country will be the first in the world to outlaw smoking in bars and restaurants nationwide in 2004.


STRIP-SEARCHED BICYCLISTS RIDE OFF WITH $2.75 MILLION
[from the Washington Post, March 30]

In the summer of 2000, during the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, the police were out in force, making parts of downtown seem like a city preparing for a siege. Some people applauded the no-
nonsense tactics for preserving law and order. But critics charged
that the cops went way overboard. In one of the most controversial incidents, Los Angeles police arrested 71 cyclists who were staging a rolling rally to call attention to alternative modes of transportation and the creation of a more bike-friendly nation.
Police said the cyclists were busted because they pedaled the wrong way down one-way streets, whizzing through traffic lights and frightening pedestrians. (But the cyclists say they were riding as mellow as could be, along with a police escort.)
But then things got weird. While in jail, Los Angeles County
Sheriff's deputies ordered 23 of the female cyclists to strip and subjected them to visual body cavity searches. In California, it is a no-no to strip-search people charged with simple misdemeanors. So last week, the L.A. Board of Supervisors agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by the cyclists for $2.75 million - that's $70,000 each for the 23 women and $5,000 each for the 48 men.


CRITICAL MASS IN SAO PAULO, BRAZIL
[submitted by Joao Campos, ]

With seven million vehicles, daily trafic jams of 100 km and average drive speed of 25 kmh, moving around in São Paulo increasingly requires the use of bikes.
Here a monthly event named Bicicletada, (www.bicicletada.org), a brazilian version of Critical Mass, has been held since June 2002. The cyclists of São Paulo take to the streets every last Saturday of the month to vindicate the right to use the streets and the obeying of traffic laws that guarantee safety and respect to the cyclist.
Due to the negligence of the public powers when dealing with the use of bikes, the cyclists of São Paulo chose a direct action close to drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.
During the protests the manifestants use anti-pollution masks and give
away leaflets that explain the benefits of using the bike and orient the
drivers to share the streets with bikers.


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ANNOUNCEMENTS >>
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CAR-FREE ECOVILLAGES LISTSERVE LAUNCHED
[submitted by Francois Schneider ]

Hello dear friends:
Following the Towards Car-Free Cities III conference in Prague we are starting a new discussion listserve on the idea of car-free ecovillages. We wish to explore visions of ecovillages car-free and free of car dependency and share experiences and solutions. The list would also serve as support for the practical set-up of one or more ecovillages in Europe or elsewhere. Would you be interested to explore this idea? Please pass on the message people potentially interested. Subscribe by sending an e-mail to .


AUGUST ECOTOPIA GATHERING TO BE HELD IN UKRAINE

Ecotopia is the biggest international environmental gathering in Europe. It has been held for over 13 years, each year in a different country and hosted by a local grassroots environmental organisation within the EYFA (European Youth for Action) network.
This year it will be held from Aug. 20-Sept. 3 in Sheshory, Ukraine, hosted by Green Dossier. For those that have the time, a bike tour to Ecotopia across Poland and Western Ukraine is organised for a few weeks preceding the gathering. See for more information.


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CAR BUSTERS ANNOUNCEMENTS >>
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WORLD CAR-FREE DAYS 2003 INPUT SOUGHT

We are currently seeking comment - through listserve, bulletin, and e-mail discussions - on the shape of the World Car-Free Days 2003 programme. We will be able to provide dates and other details on our website by Monday, May 19. The question is whether to have a September 13-26 two-week programme, or to focus on a September 22 World Car-Free Day. In particular we are seeking response from the European Union, United Nations and others on a proposal drafted at the Towards Car-Free Cities III conference (). Comments?: info@carbusters.org or on the following listserve:


NEW NETWORK DISCUSSION LISTSERVE LAUNCHED

Replacing the Towards Car-Free Cities III listserve is carfree_network@lists.riseup.net - a list dedicated to discussing/organising current and future projects of the Car Busters network and the global car-free movement. The list, launched April 27, is open to anyone working for alternatives to the automobile and car culture. Those interested in getting more involved in the Car Busters network are especially encouraged to join. To subscribe, just send an e-mail to carfree_network-subscribe@lists.riseup.net.


CAR BUSTERS PONDERS SECOND NAME

We at Car Busters Central have realised that some occasions call for a name that sounds more serious, respectable and official than Car Busters. It was decided at the Towards Car-Free Cities III conference that we would therefore adopt a second name (in addition to, not replacing, Car Busters). Suggested titles so far include Carfree Futures Network, The Carfree Network, Carfree International and Alliance for Carfree Environments (ACE). We would like to solicit your name suggestions as well. We'll even offer a prize (as well as fame and glory) to the person who submits the winning name. Please send them on in by June 1.


TOWARDS CAR-FREE CITIES IV IN BERLIN IN 2004?

At the very successful and productive Towards Car-Free Cities III conference in Prague (March 17-22), it was decided that, in order to develop and maintain the Car Busters network, it is necessary to have an annual meeting. The next conference, Towards Car-Free Cities IV, will be held in July 2004. So far the only proposal to host it comes from Berlin, where two people are already researching funding sources and facilities. Serious proposals for holding the conference elsewhere than Berlin are accepted up until June 1 on the carfree_network@lists.riseup.net listserve (see above). Guidelines, so that you can make a proper pitch, will be e-mailed to those who express interest in hosting the event. As for Towards Car-Free Cities V in 2005, there is already a proposal from the good people of Budapest.


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DISCLAIMER >>
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And while you're out SUV-proofing your car-free ecovillage or chipping away at a Korean elevated motorway, don't forget to heed the wise words of International Hummer Owners Group (I.H.O.G.) founder Rick Schmidt: "Those who deface a Hummer in words or deed deface the American flag and what it stands for."


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