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E-M:/ Some alternatives to sidewalk scooters

Enviro-Mich message from Lowell Prag <lprag@mail.msen.com>

On Sun, 28 Apr 2002, Lou Novak wrote:

> If we're ever going to find alternatives to automobiles, we have to try out
> alternatives.
> Just as runners don't sprint down crowded sidewalks, segway riders will go
> with the flow.
> Allowing segways riders to use the sidewalks responsibly should be encouraged.

This discussion is a bit lame.

Sidewalks are for pedestrians.

The development of the following would be more logical:

1) Mass transit: that is difficult due to the American Cowboy mentality 
of a car for every rider which has now evolved into a Roman Gladiator
mentality with the advent of the monster trucks.

I believe it was GM who trashed the Detroit street car system years ago
and we have never developed an alternative in spite of all the talk. 

Also, given the problem of urban sprawl and the fact that the present
Detroit bus system is a very bad joke, the problem of people without 
cars getting to jobs in the suburbs, is yet to be solved.

2) Bicycles: if you visit places like Amsterdam, there is a separate
lane in the street (NOT the sidewalk) reserved exclusively for bicycle
riders and it is prohibited for cars to use that lane.  

In addition, the government provides thousands of free bicycles which are 
painted a certain color and are for anyones use. You simply get on one, go 
where you want, leave it, and someone else repeats the cycle, so to speak.

In short, there are literally thousands of people in Amsterdam riding
bicycles every day and I bet that in addition to their obesity level being 
a lot lower than Detroit, their per capita use of fossil fuels is a lot

3) Stopping urban sprawl: in addition to the eco system damage, it is a
tremendous waste of resources building infrastructures which extend far
out from the central cities when there is still plenty of room within and
very near the central cities. 

The only person in Michigan who has really addressed that problem in 
the way that some states have, is the mayor of Grand Rapids and he 
should run for governor. 

Channel 56 public broadcasting had an excellent program on solving the 
problem of urban sprawl in which he appeared. I wish there was someway 
every Michigan resident could be mailed a cd of that broadcast because 
once you stop urban sprawl, things like supplying mass transit, bicycle
lanes in the streets, and other alternatives become a lot easier.

4) Stanley Ovshinsky: he is the one that founded Energy Conversion Devices
in Troy, MI and for all of you too lazy to ride a bicycle, he has invented
a new type of battery for battery powered bicycles which he has licensed
in China for the mass production of the bicycles. His battery is non-cadmium 
and is actually superior in its ability to hold a charge, in addition to
being non-toxic when recycled.

Too bad that the demand was not here to build his battery powered bicycle 
factory in Detroit. Then again, GM would have probably found a way to also
trash it.

Lowell Prag

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