Guerrilla tactics for sustainable transport
1. Organise a Parking Meter Party
Pay for a bay. The going rate on the meter for as long as you want to party. Place a model car in the space – just to show that you are parked there. Bring some deckchairs and a table, a nicely chilled bottle of white wine, elegant wine flutes and some delicious snacks. Enjoy. But at the same time, spread the word. Have leaflets to give out to passers-by. You could even invite them to come and join your party. Maybe, they will be committed enough to the cause to take the adjacent parking bay. You can organise your party to promote sustainable transport solutions, or just to have a ball. Either way, you will be reducing the parking capacity of the street (temporarily) and having a lot of fun. Canada seems to be the world centre for promoting this sort of street event. You can get some tips on organising a Parking Meter Party from: www.streetsareforpeople.org/actions/carfree2006-tips.html
2. Print out some fake parking tickets
The Alliance Against Urban 4x4s seeks to educate people about the environmental and social damage caused by the increasing numbers of urban 4x4s that we have been seeing in cities as well as to promote more sustainable forms of transport. They are lobbying for increases in congestion charges and road taxes for 4x4s, and trying to get a ban on advertising 4x4s in mainstream media.
Their campaigning activities aim to be peaceful, creative, eye-catching and constructive. They want to engage drivers in the debate and not demonise those who drive oversize 4x4s. Everyone wants to have a safer, cleaner environment, so the hope is that urban 4x4 drivers will realise that their car is the villain (not them) and that this could lead them to making better transport choices in future.
A small number of 4x4 models have carbon emissions less damaging than most, and these could be chosen by people who genuinely need a 4x4. However, most 4x4s are large, highly polluting and dangerous to others on narrow streets. Apart from those need to drive off-road, tow heavy loads or engage in other activities for which 4x4s are specially designed, SUVs are a nuisance to others and bad for the environment.
One tactic used to campaign against SUVs in cities is to place a fake parking ticket on the windshield, which gives information on all the reasons for not driving this sort of vehicle. It might also cause the driver a few moments of worry until they realise what the parking ticket actually is. You can download fake parking tickets from the Alliance against Urban 4x4s website: www.stopurban4x4s.org.uk
In the USA, over 1 million fake tickets served on SUV drivers in 500 cities in 48 States:
3. Draw your own cycle lanes
Hywell Sedjwick-Jell writes… “Every time I see a cyclist struggling through the traffic, I feel a surge of rage growing from my stomach and spreading to my chest and then heading towards my cheeks. That’s when I start thinking about how I might be able to find a way to help, something that will also help me the next time I cycle down that road.”
It started in Latvia, where cyclists had the idea of drawing their own cycle lanes in the narrow congested streets of Riga. One evening in the UK, Hywel went out with chalk in his hands to do the same in a street he cycled down every day… Barker Drive in Camden Town, north London. “It didn’t have a bike lane. I was sick of holding my breath in fear every time I heard the rev of a car engine behind me. I wanted something that would separate me from the street and keep cars away. Maybe if I drew a cycle lane, people would start thinking that there really should be one and start asking for one. I know I certainly would.”
“Cycling is something that should be preserved as precious, and encouraged. When I’m cycling, I’m saving the city from pollution. I’m diminishing raffic. I’m not taking up places in the bus or on the subway; And I’m generally creating a nicer environment for everyone.”
“I usually go out on the streets to draw at about 1.00am. I prefer doing it when there aren’t too many people around. I’ve never checked whether what I’m doing is legal. Yes, I am drawing on public property, but the chalk dissolves when it rains.. I would like people, especially cyclists, to be aware that it is their right to demand bike paths. Maybe someone rushing to work one morning will notice my cycle lane and think “I could send a letter to the Council or to my MP.” [from The Guardian newspaper]