Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Faces of Green Jobs: Wind Energy Provides Stable Middle Class Jobs in Am...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Memphis Area Transit Authority: Are they operating a public transit system or a fleet of rolling slave ships? You be the Judge.

Bus riders here in Memphis, TN, spend countless hours riding on, and waiting for, public transit busses.

Of course, it has been this way for decades.

One would think that any new changes coming along would actually improve citizen's lives.

But it has not.

For example, the recent opening of an impressive multi-million dollar public transit facility just minutes away from the Memphis International Airport hardly improves the lives of those citizens who need public transit services the most, as this facility is located far and away from the majority of them; nor does it encourage citizens, who have never used public transit before, to actually take one single ride on a public transit bus, not even on a dare, and especially since transfer points may leave them out in the middle of a run down part of town that has become a serious crime haven.  

Of course good citizens who get great jobs with far less stress in their lives protect their communities from crime.

We will never know if this is true here in Memphis because those who do all the planning seem to push the "have not's" further and further away instead of attempting to improve life for them.

It seems that most organizations find one way or another to use the poorer citizens to make money.

Poverty has truly become a big business here!

And those who do all the planning seem to plan it out this way.

In fact, I do not recall seeing any Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) officials, who do all this planning, being brave enough to actually ride on their own busses to get themselves to work; and, I have been riding on MATA for several years; so where are they?

So, let me share one of my experiences with you since they can't.

Then, you will come to understanding what the fight for improving mass transit is all about.

When Greyhound and Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) teamed up to build a new terminal at Brooks and Airways nearby the Memphis International Airport, I soon realized that this shack up was not going to work out that well; at least not for me, a carfree citizen.

The new terminal is far and away from where I live down town; and, taking a public transit bus to get to the new location it is not a timely trip, nor is it pleasurable.

Even a taxi cost more to get to this new terminal.

Moreover, MATA only runs two buses out to this new facility: 1) 2 Medical Center and 2) 4 Walker.

The number 2 is the only bus that runs out to the terminal during the day and then it stops around 5:00 P.M. in the evening. The number 4 Walker then starts running. Both buses run by the hour during their operation.

Within days of the terminal's grand opening, I decided to go visit this new facility personally and buy a ticket for the Christmas Holidays.

The round trip took me 5 hours and 15 minutes, and I made no other pit stops; I went straight there and back home.

While on this long ride, I reminisced about what it use to be like when the Greyhound was located Downtown on Union Ave.

When the Greyhound station was located on Union Ave, it had its problems for sure, but it never took me more than 20 minutes to walk over to it, nor more than 10 minutes to ride a bicycle.

And, if the weather was truly bad, there were always taxi services nearby and a few taxis were often lined up just outside of the station. The cost to get around that part of town was only a few dollars; and, if there were other passengers tagging along, we split that cost between us.

For a small group, it was much cheaper to ride in a taxi than it was to ride on a public transit bus; and, if we had luggage, the taxi was far more convenient.

Another good thing about the Union Ave. station is that outside of Greyhound's doors, one could take a quick left; and right there in front of their eyes was Main Street and the Main Street Trolly Line.

There were also plenty of restaurants and hotels, a grocery store, and a mall.

To illustrate, the Peabody Hotel built a full-scale movie theater; provided the best food court ever; and, it had top notch retail stores, all of which was located right behind the Greyhound station.

 The Peabody Mall was shut down.

Likewise, the Greyhound station on Union Ave was shut down.

People who used this station the most will miss the convenance of all those amenities in the down town area.

And so, our downtown economy is hurting because of this, especially since all the passengers who rode on the Greyhound and MATA, our main labor force, have been pushed out of the area like they were no better than slaves.

And to justify the lofty changes, the powers-that-be have touted that the old Greyhound station was an eyesore, and so were the people coming in and out of there.

Perhaps one might think that these passengers were more like homeless vagrants.

If that were true, then would it not make far more since for the powers-that-be to make various other services available like proper facilities for keeping up one's hygiene and a place to change into some fresh clothes.  

Otherwise, most anyone could look somewhat homeless if subjected to taking a long trip on a Greyhound or a MATA bus.

Moreover, people will have a tired look on their faces with blood shoot eyes; and, they may have a sluggish swagger as they walk down the street.  

The reason why is because there is little or no leg room to stretch out and relax, and people have to put up with baby vomit, stinky diapers, or someone's body odor, who has been working hard in a sweat shop or on a migrant farm, and who has had no time to clean up like they would have liked too.

So, no one should expect for people who ride on the Greyhound or MATA bus to be wearing suits and ties and looking like Hollywood stars when they step off of these busses.

Let me just paint you the picture of what my first trip was like riding on a MATA bus to this new Greyhound / MATA terminal.

I went out my door at 2:05 P.M. and headed towards the new terminal.

I boarded the number 4 Walker at 2:20 P.M.

Once I arrived at the main street terminal downtown, I waited another 20 minutes to make the transfer onto MATA's 2 Medical Center.

The 2 Medical Center took me to the Greyhound / MATA terminal.

When I walked into the new terminal, I met up with a MATA clerk and we chatted a few minutes about bus schedules.

This person did have a big beautiful smile on her face and she was pleasant and professional.

Cannot say the same for Greyhounds ticket master.

Oh the frustration I felt for how long it took to get there and how long I had to be there before I could leave to go back home: it was about an hour wait.

Well, at least it was not freezing cold outside, burning hot, or raining, which would have made it a far worse trip than it was already.

Anyway, I bought a Greyhound bus ticket at 4:18 PM.

If there had been more people in that line, it would have taken far longer --- perhaps an hour or two.

The place was dead, hardly a soul anywhere around.

Only three people in the ticket line, and thank God for that!

So, I was able to board that next Medical Center 2 by 4:45 P.M..

The Medical Center 2 got me back downtown to the Main Street terminal around 5:20 PM.

And then, I waited 20 more minutes to transfer to the number 4 walker.

I got back home around 6:14 P.M.

I hope my next trip is far better than this one for sure.

I would like to say, again, that this is a far cry from that 20-minute walk that I used to take to the old Greyhound bus station on Union Ave.

Taking a TAXI to this new terminal would have cost $40 for a round trip.

That is why I will miss that old Union Ave. station and so will many other people.

Right now, the time schedules for MATA causes undue stress for all bus riders, who are waiting out in the elements with no proper facilities nearby.

They need proper bus shelters with ample coverage and with restrooms built in, or at least nearby so that they are not turned away from them ever again.

It should be against the law to turn citizens away from the restrooms.

No wonder some bus riders are urinating all over themselves, while passers-by think these bus riders are homeless victims hanging out at the bus stops.  

This disparity truly hurts 10,000 of our poorest citizens in Memphis, who have had no other choice but to endure the plight of our public transit system.

As a result of MATA's new scheduling times and rerouting plans and the relocation of the new terminal, the average public transit rider has little time left in their day to take care of their essential needs.

It's a travesty!

Citizens deserve better!

They go to work and back home; and this takes half a day.

They go to the grocery store and back home; and this takes half a day.

And now, they take a trip to the new Greyhound / MATA terminal and it takes half a day.

Each activity that one might want to do here in Memphis will take half a day on a MATA bus.

Bike riding and walking is the only other alternative for the majority of them; and this city is not designed well for that either.

Riding on a MATA bus for the purpose of pleasure is not what MATA wants citizens to do, not really.

Suppose a family of four were to take a trip across town to the Memphis City Zoo, it would take them  half of the day just to get there and back.

MATA all-day-passes will cost them about $14.00 if they live within the city limits; eating out for lunch will cost about $30 to $50 unless they pack a picnic basket from home; and zoo tickets will cost another $50.00.

Moreover, the design of MATA busses is demoralizing to say the least.

These busses will bounce you up and down on every road you travel on; and they will jar you back and fourth onto other passengers.

If those other passengers have been working their fingers to the bone and/or they have been standing out in the elements for hours on end waiting on the MATA bus, then your family is most likely gonna end up smelling like a burger joint or warehouse sweat.

By the time you arrive at your luxurious destination your family trip will have turned into the zoo animals watching you instead of you watching them.

Who's being treated worse than the animals?

!!! YOU ARE !!!

It is time to fight for a better public transit system.

MATA is not operating a transit system, but a fleet of rolling slave ships.

Hopefully, since the powers-that-be were so willing to spend all those millions on a new terminal, they will now fund better designed busses and proper facilities along their bus routes.

Perhaps the private sector will join in and provide showers and locker rooms for their employees who have to wait out the elements to get to work every day.

Moreover, there is the rising cost of bus fare on all MATA busses, which is now $3.50 for their all-day-pass; and traveling outside of Memphis to the suburbs costs a lot extra: .85 cents each way for zone 1; $1.25 each way for zone 2; $1.65 each way for zone 3.

Citizens who are living and traveling to and from the suburbs must also pay these high fair rates, which is probably why so many suburbanites find out quickly that they are better off financially just driving into town.

In suburbia there are no trains lines or park and ride systems in place.

As for those citizens living in dire poverty, the working poor, who make less than $5,000 a year, traveling out to the suburbs to work means paying over half of their salaries just to ride on MATA.   

The impoverished, have spent more time waiting for, and riding on, MATA busses, than they have spent with their families and friends.

Not to mention these busses are notorious for running late or not showing up at all, and the employers often use this to their advantage by firing the bus riders, writing them up, or docking their pay.

Which really explains why many employers are not on the bandwagon to improve public transit for their employees, or why they do not help pay for bus passes as part of a benefits package.

The powers-that-be work so smoothly together one can hardly tell which one of them are responsible enough to make a change for the better.    

As a result of all this, the most impoverish and hardest working group in Memphis has been reduced to becoming MATA slaves.

I have spent hours listening to fellow walkers, bike riders, and bus riders who have told me their stories during our passing conversations, but many of them have been scared to speak their minds.

Each one of them have been made to feel like they are on their own and alone.

It is time to start a Union that will free them once and for all.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Did Memphis Make the TOP TEN LIST for Being Car-Free Friendly?

Memphis, Tennessee, did not make the top ten list for being a car-free friendly city.

The key to having a more walk-able and bike-able city that is car-lite or car-free is to have a well organized mass transit system in place.

The City of Memphis, Shelby County, and the state of Tennessee has already had the funding in place to have planned for and implemented such a transit system long ago. 

Yet the powers-that-be have not leaned in the right direction.

And here are the results:
  • Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) is one of the slowest moving public transit systems in the United States of America, often causing passenger ride times and wait times to stretch out long past two hours each way, especially if one is making a transfer.
  • MATA is raising rates for passengers in December 4, 2011 to help pay for their new facility and to give administrative pay raises. 
  • MATA is cutting back on how many times they make stops across all outlying areas and where nearly all the jobs are located.
Yes, MATA's officials have figured out how to provide less service for its poorest passengers, while giving themselves a big fat administrative pay raise. 

It is no wonder that MATA and their cronies all have big smiles on their faces when they show up at community meetings to pat themselves on the back. 

Of course, this has been ongoing on for several decades; and now, this is yet another ploy to make sure that the "have not's" stay in their places: in run down inner-city urban communities, in low-wage temporary jobs that fire them at the drop of a hat for being late to work when the MATA bus is late, to remain under contentious ongoing stress due to various poverty disparities, and to remain broke and poor forever more.   

Yes, MATA's administration has built for themselves a lofty multi-million dollar complex from which to control their empire; and whereby, few, if any of them, will ever use the bus system themselves; and thus, the ongoing social injustice done towards the poor will still exist.

If that were not true, then simply put, MATA would have spent all of that money towards serving the masses of poor people by reducing passenger wait times at all bus stops to ten minutes or less; and, they would have reduced ride times to one hour or less no matter where passengers live within Shelby County or the City of Memphis.

Not to mention MATA would have provided adequate air controlled shelters and dedicated facilities like restrooms at key bus stops throughout the city; and, passengers would have gotten a GPS tracking system that told them where the bus is right now in relation to when it would arrive at any given bus stop.

To get a clear picture about how MATA can bring its transit system into alignment with those in other cities, click the following link:


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Walking and Biking: The infrastructure in Memphis hardly supports the lifestyle.

I believe that unless the powers that be in Memphis, Tennessee, decide to redesign our cities entire infrastructure to accommodate walkers and bike riders in a serious way, that our city will never be better off in the future. 

We could at least start off with a car-free day for the following street: Madison Avenue.

So many people have been debating over bike lanes for this street.

Of course, there will always be problems to resolve; and, they are brought up in nearly every argument against a car-free friendly city.

There has been ongoing problems with not having enough room to park vehicles within our city spaces, and there is also a problem with keeping property within those vehicles safe from would be criminals; or, what about the car-jacking at various corners that no one can hardly escape, as they pass through certain areas of town.  

Those who can avoid these sections of our city do so with in-depth pleasure.  

Those who cannot avoid it, actually run stop signs and red lights to avoid the people who hang out at these corners, making these intersections far more dangerous for everyone.  

In fact, our jail cells, here, are full of this group of people; yet our court systems are firmly fixed for making some serious money off this scenario; so they may not ever resolve this root problem.

On the other hand, if I am not mistaken, there are several new bridges and bypasses being planned, so that no one ever has to visit this city again; not even by accident.

Even if, or when, we redesign this cities infrastructure, there will also be bicycle parking problems eventually; and not to mention, there are few or no safe places to protect all the extra baggage that both walkers and bicycle riders bring along with them as they travel.

The market, nor the laws of our land, hardly caters to walk-bike citizens anyway - hint, hint, hint!

This is because most communities are simply not well designed to accommodate walkers or bike riders; and, until this actually happens, people will have to bike and walk much further away than ten minutes from their homes and businesses to meet most of their essential needs.

To offset these longer trips, walkers and bikers are forced to supplement their walk-bike needs by taking public transportation, which is at least 40 years behind the times in comparison to transit systems in other cities within the same region. 

Nonetheless, few public transportation systems in America accommodate large groups of people who have a lot of extra baggage, like grocery getting push carts, bikes, bike bags, groceries, and huge backpacks. 

As a car-free citizen for ten years in Memphis, Tennessee, I have tried every means of combined transportation methods to get around in this town comfortably.

Few of these methods work very well due to the fact that this city is designed to fill up spaces with personal vehicles whereby several bikes could be parked in these same spaces instead.     

I will share only one method I have used to get around this crazy town and allow you to imagine the other methods while you squirm in your seat.      

To illustrate, I have owned and operated a fold-up bicycle for several years. 

This bike worked very well for me, but only when I took some of my shortest trips, which did not  require me to use mass transit or carry along a lot of extra bulky and/or heavy baggage. 

I found out the hard way that these small bikes are not made for people like me who are over 6 ft. tall and who weighs in at around 180 lbs. --- OK, sometimes I weigh far more --- HAAAA ! 

My fold-up bike weighed about 30 lbs.

A couple bags of groceries weighed between 30 lbs. to 50 lbs.

My backpack often weighed around 10 lbs. to 20 lbs.

Between me and all my baggage, it sometimes averaged around 230 lbs. 

Moreover, one needs to be in fairly good physical condition to maneuver and balance a load like that for long periods without plenty of rest for recovery, good food, and water.

Putting on more weight nearly caused my fold up bike to shake uncontrollably, especially when I was going over ten miles per hour or applying the breaks down big hills.

Traveling any faster, and I swear, this bike would have collapsed right beneath me.

On another note, when the bus was over crowded, my fold-up bike and all my baggage was far to cumbersome to put onto my lap for long periods.

When the bus was over crowded, getting on and off the bus was difficult, as I was often blocked by those stinky ass butt to butt crowds who hardly moved to let anyone pass by them.

Ok --- my own ass might have been stinky too, but I will not admit it!

Anyway, most mass transit systems are simply not designed for moving people's extra baggage, and I did not mean my big butt.

Even still, if all these same people were to put bikes on the front of a bus, or inside of the bus, then there would not be near enough space to accommodate this large number of people or their baggage.

Seems that space is at a high premium no matter if we choose to drive, bike, use mass transit, or walk.

I have studied the car-free phenomena at the grass roots level for several years by participating in the process. 

And, I must say to you that being car-free in Memphis, TN, is not easy when mass transit does little or nothing to enhance this process, nor does this cities design. 

However, redesigning our communities for a car-free lifestyle is absolutely doable, whereby personal vehicles and mass transit are a mere afterthought to most anyone's walk-bike transportation choices.

As for other bicycle parking ideas, click the link below:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How to Lock a Bicycle and Get a Stolen Bike Back, by Jim Langley

Bike-theft --- it has never happened to me, but I know it can.

The only thing not mentioned in this article here is that you can take your seat off and take it inside of the store with you.

You can paint your bike a bright weird color and make one bike handle bright green and the other one bright purple. You can take one wheel inside with you too. People who steal want a whole bike, not part of one.

They want a bike that blends in with the crowd, not a bike that stands out in the crowd.

Here is another plus: more expensive bikes are special in that the parts must be ordered from the same place the bike was first bought or directly from the brand manufacturer.

The Republic Bike is one good example of the type of bike I am discussing here.

Of course, the thief will also need the owners manual with a special serial number, which they will not have or know because they are not the original owner.

It is good to have a great relationship with a professional bike shop and to buy your bikes from them.

Cheaper brands break down to easily and the parts are always hard to find if at all. And, this alone is why they usually end up in the trash heap.

Some people never learn, they buy several cheap made bikes when they could have had one good bike from a professional shop that would last for many years --- provided it is not stolen.

So take my tips into consideration and also read Jim Langely's article for even more fascinating ideas.  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Carfree Citizens: Hard Pressed To Find Restrooms

If you are car-free citizen in Memphis, Tennessee, there is one thing that most of you have found out the hard way.

And here it is: public restrooms are to few and far between, and finding a private restroom is not getting any easier these days.

What you might find instead are signs hanging over a restroom entrance that say, "Customers Only, Employees Only, Out of Order, or Closed For Cleaning".

In some government buildings, one might find some security officers who will escort you out of the door if you attempt to search for a restroom on your own and without asking them at the check point first; and even then, there is no guarantee you will get to relieve yourself in a timely fashion.

These check point lines might be longer than you expected and even after you go through them and run-walk to the restroom, you might find one of those signs that say the rest room is out of order or it is being cleaned by a member of the opposite sex who is not about to leave until their job is done.

This sends a clear message not to go to such places just to relive yourself.

Make sure you have official business inside of government buildings and that you show up early.

The main excuse for all these signs, however, is the plight of homelessness and the up-serge of would-be criminals from which one or both groups together take over restroom faculties and attract more of the same type of people.

Nonetheless, public restroom designs are on the market that can reduce or eliminate the bad behaviors of vagrants, retailers, and government officials alike.

 To illustrate, new restroom designs are planned for  New York, New York that allow police offers to see through the restroom walls.

Silhouettes show up clearly enough that undesirable behaviors will not go unnoticed.

Here is an example, of clear glass walls, but the bathroom stalls are enclosed and the doors are solid wood.

Here is an example, of a smart glass system that can be set to various levels so that security officers can view only the silhouette movements clearly.

Sample of restroom doors with smart glass.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Memphis Wins Two Bike Friendly Awards: Is The Local School System Part of The Solution?

I spotted a story in the Memphis Flyer that says Memphis Wins Two Bike-Friendly Awards.

I say it’s about time that the Memphis City Government finally received an award for all its’ positive efforts to make a dream come true!

Moreover, as a substitute teacher, I would like to ride my own to bike to work!  

The Question: Is the local school system a part of the solution?

Some school administrators do not fully understand the long-term needs of carfree citizens and they do not provide the necessary long-term accommodations for bike riders, walkers, or bus riders. Meanwhile, some school administrators improvise the best way they can.

To illustrate, I will only discuss two of my own experiences and please do realize that not all of my experiences have been negative because some schools and even some retail shops are on the bandwagon and they are truly ready to make all of the right moves to accommodate all of us.     

I have substituted at Hamilton High School on a few occasions; I rode on a public transit bus. Then one day, I decided to ride the bike instead. The school administrator allowed me to park my bike inside of the schools huge janitorial closet. It was perfectly safe --- out of sight and out of mind. I deeply appreciated the cooperation from Hamilton.

But, then later, I thought, if someone hides their bike, then no one else will know about it, and they will not try to ride their own bike to school.

According to the National Safe Routes To School, there are several alternatives for getting students to school safely and several thousand schools across the country already participate in this program.

So is there a happy medium between hiding a bike and showing it? I will answer this question later on as I  conclude.   

When I substituted at The Downtown Elementary School, which was only five minutes away from my home, the security guard allowed me to park inside the building underneath this open-air staircase. My bike was perfectly safe and out of the way and in the open, which serves as a prime example of what we should all be doing.   

On the outside of the Downtown School, there is not one place to park a bike long-term --- not one bike rack or light pole is nearby to chain a bike to and especially not nearby the front door where it belongs.

Of course, the day went very well for both the students, and me, as I actually taught the children about conservation and how oil and coal pollutes our air. This lesson was a natural part of their social studies lesson.

Then later, during our lunch break, the students saw my bike parked inside of their school underneath the open-air staircase and located in plan sight as one walks through the front door.

The students were so excited about this and they wanted to learn so much more about bikes and conservation the next day; and, they paid closer attention the rest of the day concerning all other subjects that I was teaching them.  

Unfortunately, on the second day at the Down Town School, a head administrator came to me and said, that I had to park my bike outside and lock it onto a route iron fence. 

This day ended before it started. How sad.

I knew right then that the administrator was unaware of the implications of this action, so I did not argue the point.

Instead, I decided to go back home for the day and loose pay rather than risk loosing my bike, which is now my only transportation to get to work and shop nearby my home.

Let me explain this further: I can always go back to that school on another day; perhaps by then, this administrator will have gained much needed knowledge like the students and me have about the needs of carfree citizens and protecting our planet from pollution.

You see, that route iron fence at this school is well over 200 feet away from the back doors of this school and the back gate is wide open for anyone to pass by and take my bike. Now who might be of help long-term if or when they see someone stealing my bike from that far away? 

Answer --- no one with feet on the ground is close enough!

In fact, I have resolved the issue from my own end by adding a 10-pound monster chain and ten-pound u-lock as part of my armor, but this extra weight often slows me down, especially if I also have extra packages on the bike, like a backpack full of essential needs goods --- rain jackets, reflective vest, and a tire pump just to name a few things. In fact, a backpack is like a car truck for the carfree citizen; and generally, it weights 10 to 20 pounds, as least.

Few people can cut into a lock and chain like the one I have with ease. But, almost anyone can cut through this route iron fence with a pocket-sized hacksaw within a few seconds. They can then take the bike and work on the chain and u-lock somewhere else in hiding.

I did try to explain this situation to the administrator, but they were firm about what they wanted.  

Then, they told me that they also had security cameras, but I already know that cameras without having feet on the ground is not going to keep my bike from being stolen, especially if no one is close enough to nab the offender while they are in the act.

The administrator may not realize that my bike is as important to me as their vehicle is to them. Perhaps the administrator has other advantages, such as a secure parking gauge, car alarms, and security officers that drive around the parking lot all day long.

I was not asked to park where the cars do, as a benefit to me. Yet, I was the only bike rider on or near the premises, which is as far as I could tell anyway; and, I was asked to park my bike in an unsafe environment long-term and so far away from the school doors.

Just because I am the only bike rider there, does not mean that measures should not be in place to accommodate a few bike riders, walkers, or bus riders. For example, bike parking inside of a janitorial closet with some lockers, especially for staff and the occasional guest like myself would be nice.

It would be far safer for all those involved and it will not take up much space.     

Now, our city has taken great measures’ to protect our tourist guest as much as possible. They have installed a state of the art camera system all over the place, especially on Main Street and Beale Street, but without feet on the ground, including bicycle offers, no crime is truly deterred. So, in addition to a walk-bike police force, they generally have squad cars and vans nearby too. Within seconds, officers can be anywhere in the vicinity to pounce on a criminal.

This school does not seem to take all these security measures for bike riders, nor do they have anyone in place to pounce fast enough if a bike is being stolen from the premises. Their only goal is to protect their vehicles.

Of course, I have run into this same thing almost every place I ride my bike, as there are few or no designated bike parking spaces with secure bike racks within a few feet of most doors.  

Instead, there are some poles out front that are often so big that no one can hardly get a U-Lock and a chain around them. I wonder if they do this on purpose. It seems as if we should not even bother to ride a bike to shop at their stores, especially not for utilitarian purposes. 

Memphis is a far cry from being a carfree friendly city. This is a sad situation.

Even still, there is no reason whatsoever as to why all schools and retail shops within Memphis and Shelby County cannot provide indoor bicycle parking along with various other related faculties.

I hope our carfree experiences continue to improve. The best way to do that is to live the life by taking to the roads and sidewalks to prove our point.

As for answering the question from earlier in this post: Is there a happy medium between hiding bikes and showing them --- the answer is clearly a YES!

In fact, there is adequate information about bicycle parking racks, which can be installed and maintained easily both inside and outside of any building --- Bicycle Parking

Monday, August 22, 2011

Women's Independence

Friday, August 19, 2011

Car free inner city of 's-Hertogenbosch (Netherlands)

Madison Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee, could look like the Car free inner city of 's-Hertogenbosch (Netherlands).  Take a look at this video of a before and after scenario.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Living Large Driving Less - July/August 2011 - Sierra Magazine - Sierra Club

Living Large Driving Less - July/August 2011 - Sierra Magazine - Sierra Club

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Eco-Friendly Bus Shelters | Keetsa Mattress Store - Keetsa! Blog - Eco-Friendly and Green News

These Bus Shelters can be set up in one day and they are solar powered.

Eco-Friendly Bus Shelters | Keetsa Mattress Store - Keetsa! Blog - Eco-Friendly and Green News

Can a simple bicycle carry groceries, children, furniture, and more?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Carfree Family

No reason at all to not be car-free. Read up on what Paul Cooley has to say about his own asthmatic condition. Despite this, he joins us with his car-free family.
Carfree Family

Five Easy Ways to Get Clean Energy - Coming Clean

I like this blog from Executive Director, Michael Brune of the Sierra Club, America's largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization. 

Together we are changing how people perceive clean alternative energy sources like solar and wind power. 

And equally important is how human energy is put to good use like walking and biking wherever and whenever it is possible to meet all of our essential needs.  

Five Easy Ways to Get Clean Energy - Coming Clean

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

2011 Trek Transport Cargo Bike

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Streetfilms-Ciclovia (Bogotá, Colombia)

Going Car-Free in Memphis Tennessee? Don't Dare Do It Until You Have Explored Every Web Link Provided In This Blog

This cartoon is courtesy of

Are you planning on going car-free in Memphis, Tennessee? 

Then, don't dare do it until you have explored every web link provided in this blog. 

This blog could save you from making some serious mistakes.

As a result, you will enhance your car-free lifestyle with the appropriate clothing, grocery getter carts, bicycles, and bike panniers, among other related things. 

Public Transit

Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) offers an array of fares. 

They have a one-day bus pass for $3.50, seven-day fast pass for $15, and a 31-day fast pass for $50 dollars. 

With these passes, one can ride all day long in any direction and get on and off the bus anytime they please. 

The Grocery Cart

I bought a jumbo grocery cart for just $49.00 dollars at Stewart Brothers Hardware Store, located just off of MATA's Trolley Line @ Madison and N. Cleveland St. 

The wheels fall to pieces no matter what; otherwise the carts are tough and reliable.   

The same store will help out with upgrading the wheels with a set of heavy-duty lawnmower wheels for about $50 dollars per cart.   

Then the only other part to replace is the wheel springs. Replace these springs with some hollow sleeves. The sleeve sizes vary due to various cart sizes, so remember to ask the store clerk for assistance with the whole process.   

The sleeves should fit over the axles and keep the lawnmower wheels from sliding from side to side and from wiggling around. 

In fact, the lawnmower wheels add extra strength to the axle, which prevents bowing or bending when extra weight is put into the cart.  

To prevent squeaking, use waterproof bike chain grease. 

The Bicycle

I bought one of my bikes from Midtown Bike, located off the MATA Trolly Line on N. Main St in the arts district. 

These hybrid bikes sport shocks on both the front wheel and the seat post for reducing fatigue on the hands, arms, and body. 

These bikes have heavy-duty rims to support far more weight than normal and have thick bike tires with deep tread. 

I also use puncture resistant tire tubes from SLIME

For those one-sack grocery days, I have secured an old milk crate to the bike rack with a few zip ties; however, products from Basil are superior. 

I have a wide variety bike bags and panniers from the Peddler Bike Shop, among various other things. This bike shop is located next to Newby's on N. Highland and Southern Ave. 

Moreover, I hope to buy a bike trailer from Tony's Trailers. This guy designs some of the most practical bike trailers that I have ever seen.  

Original cart wheels --- the rubber rolled off the rim and the rim crumbled to pieces, or did the rim crumble causing the rubber to roll off the rim? 

Does it matter if someone ends up dragging this cart across town with a full load of groceries?     

Grocery Getter Cart
with steel lawnmower wheels;
two black grocery panniers clamped on the back;
 a big red dry sack;
and a tan backpack.   
The springs that came from the carts original manufacture.

Two different sized sleeves that come from the hardware store --- they were a perfect fit for this Jumbo Cart. Ask for assistance and put the lawnmower wheels on the cart while your there in the store. And then, attempt to sell those other wheels back to the store for a profit to see if you get a laugh. 

Large 10X1.75-F / Small solid 6 inch wheel