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Monday, June 18, 2007

L.A., Aspen, Vancouver, Palo Alto, Toronto…

posted by on June 18 at 11:34 AM

Toronto is considering a ban on filthy two-stroke engines, including gas-powered leafblowers.

Mayor “Green” Nickels?

RSS icon Comments

1

Yes, please.

The other day I was woken up around 7am on a Sunday because some guy was using a noisy leaf blower on... a puddle. A shallow puddle of water that would have evaporated later on in the day. The puddle didnít go anywhere. Oh yeah, plus he blew some dirt around from one part of a sidewalk onto another part of the street. It took him about 25 minutes to do this.

If leaf blowers were actually useful, it might be another thing, but Iíve yet to see a useful application of them. Just idiots blowing dirt around.

Posted by JC | June 18, 2007 11:43 AM
2

Does that mean they're gonna ban my moped?!? Over my dead battery!

Posted by Gurldoggie | June 18, 2007 11:43 AM
3

We should ban everything. Ban smoking, ban alcohol, ban drugs (of all types), ban oil, ban guns, ban diamonds, ban the Internet, ban horseless carriages, etc.

It will be nothing but smiles when this happens.

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 18, 2007 11:51 AM
4

It might be interesting to note that a lot of people in the Los Angeles area were trying to get leaf blowers banned for years, but nothing every came from their efforts until a lady in Beverly Hills took a case to court not using air pollution as her evidence, but rather noise pollution. She won the case and leaf blowers were banned in Beverly Hills. Most of Los Angeles County followed suit within the next couple of years.

Leaf blowers came into popularity because gardeners used to use pressurized water hoses to "chase" leaves around. Well, water became a guarded commodity after the 50s and 60s because of the increase in population and other factors (Los Angeles is technically a desert with average rainfall less than 10 inches a year).

It's a mixed blessing. Banning them is good for the air, good for the senses, but gardeners (who aren't the wealthiest people in the world) hate it because reduces the number of yards they can do in a day. The good news is: They've developed leaf blowers that are pollution-free and quiet - but they're expensive.

Posted by Bauhaus | June 18, 2007 12:01 PM
5

ADD JET SKIS & VIADUCTS TO THE LIST.

Posted by maxsolomon | June 18, 2007 12:05 PM
6

noooo, not lawnmowers - then everyone will convert their lawns to collections of rhododendra and ornamental kales, from which follows a proliferation of pocket dogs and general effeminization of the population

besides if you take away the lawnmower and leaf-blower you will deprive a large (in several senses) segment of our population of the only sort of exercise they get

so if you really want a city of pear shaped sissy pocket-dog owners living behind dooryards of frilly kale and rhododendra, then go head - but no one wants that, do they

Posted by kinaidos | June 18, 2007 12:06 PM
7

we're switching to a reel mower from our souped-up putting green dealey. nice & quiet & old skool.

Posted by maxsolomon | June 18, 2007 12:09 PM
8

A quick point to add to the discussion: A significant percentage of outboard boat motors are of the 2-stroke variety. Given that we're talking about a potential outright ban in Seattle, I'm assuming that boat owners would make up a decent voting block to oppose a measure such as this... When I looked at replacing the 2-stroke on my (relatively modest) 18' fishing boat, I was looking at a $7,000 bill (which is more than I paid for my share of the entire boat).

Posted by High-Rise | June 18, 2007 12:15 PM
9

I love filth, that's why I read the Stranger. My new band is called 'The 2 Strokes.'

Posted by ricardo | June 18, 2007 12:21 PM
10

Green is the color of a baccarat table.

Posted by DOUG. | June 18, 2007 12:21 PM
11

Kinaidos, we don't have any kale or pocket dogs, but otherwise meet your criteria of evil. Our yard is getting smaller all the time.

If you ban 2-strokes, people will switch to 4-strokes, which are immeasurably better for the air. Your adorable moped is probably polluting more than an entire fleet of brand-new giant SUVs. Gardeners will adjust. Everyone will adjust.

Give me a push broom and a rake, and I can shift twice as many leaves in half the time as the most industrious leaf-blower. That argument is just complete bollocks, I'm sorry. Leaf blowers are LUDICROUSLY INEFFECTIVE.

I'd like to see squadrons of homeless people given brooms and a wheelie bin and a reflective vest and a wage, and set out to keep our streets clean, myself. It's civilizing.

Posted by Fnarf | June 18, 2007 12:33 PM
12

Nickels doesn't care. No tax revenues in banning 2-stroke engines.

Posted by obdurate | June 18, 2007 12:34 PM
13

"They've developed leaf blowers that are pollution-free and quiet - but they're expensive."

I own a really cheap, incredibly efficient leaf-removal device - it's called a "rake". Works really well, it's quiet, even gives me a bit of excercise, and doesn't cause one bit of pollution.

I guess not many people have heard of these wonderous devices. Strange.

Posted by COMTE | June 18, 2007 12:42 PM
14

How's the Microwave Popcorn Licensing Ordinance coming along, anyhoo?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | June 18, 2007 12:43 PM
15

I want to point out that my moped burns 1 gallon of gas every 150-200 miles. In the last three months of decent weather (HA!) I've ridden it about 300 miles and filled its small tank exactly once, burning exactly 4 ounces of oil. You think an "entire fleet of SUV's" can compare to that kind of fuel efficiency? You gotta be joking.

Posted by Gurldoggie | June 18, 2007 12:47 PM
16

Gurldoggie,
You've ruined our first album concept! @9
The title is pretty firm - "Mo'pedder Blues" - a nihilistic groovewax spinner fo sho!

Posted by ricardo | June 18, 2007 12:55 PM
17

Boat guy: you should have chucked that 2-stroke years ago. I mean, would you rather pour gasoline into Lake Washington/Puget Sound than spring for a clean-burning 4-stroke? If you are using it for fishing, then maybe taking care of the fish is a good idea, eh?

Posted by roag | June 18, 2007 1:04 PM
18

@15 - I could be wrong here, but I don't think it's just about the quantity of fuel burned, it's about the emissions created. 2-stroke engines create many, many times more harmful emissions than a car engine.

If anyone here works at the UW, the Pres's most recent video blog thing is about the UW's commitment to the environment. I highly recommend joining in on the comments thread over there and encouraging smart, easy green fixes such as getting rid of gas-powered leaf blowers: http://depts.washington.edu/presblog/wordpress/?p=49

Posted by Levislade | June 18, 2007 1:19 PM
19

Ban them now.

Posted by whatever | June 18, 2007 1:22 PM
20

I think we need to hold hearings on this issue, have a few votes on it, and in a few decades when we run out of oil, the problem will have solved itself.

That's the Seattle Way.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 18, 2007 1:46 PM
21

@13

Comte, may I assume that you don't rake several yards a day in the hot Los Angeles sun?

Posted by Bauhaus | June 18, 2007 1:49 PM
22

wait... what? scooters are worse than cars??? what?!?!

Posted by infrequent | June 18, 2007 2:01 PM
23

According to this site: http://www.sdearthtimes.com/et0897/et0897s2.html

"The EPA estimates that one hour of operation by a 70-horsepower two-stroke motor emits the same amount of hydrocarbon pollution as driving 5,000 miles in a modern automobile."

Posted by Ebenezer | June 18, 2007 2:12 PM
24

everything i've read has indicated that the 2-stroke scooters are overall still better than modern cars, just not as good as 4-stroke. i'd hate to have bad info though...

i've found much details how boat engine and leaf blowers are problematic... but how about scooters?

Posted by infrequent | June 18, 2007 2:36 PM
25

Re 17: My point was only that there may be a previously unmentioned constituency that could resist a proposed ban. Also, I was trying to provide some perspective into people's behaviors by using myself as an example: I would love to ditch the 2-stroke, but I don't have $7,000 to spend on an upgrade... I suspect that others are in the same boat.

Posted by High-Rise | June 18, 2007 3:08 PM
26

Modern scooters are four-stroke, by the way-- and much, much cleaner and more efficient than cars.

Posted by ECB | June 18, 2007 3:46 PM
27

okay, i did a little research. one might think -- as i did -- that a scooter would be better for the environment than a modern car.

it turns out most 2-stroke scooters do not undergo strict emissions testing. there is debate on how bad they actually are. since they consume less fuel, are lighter, and less harmful to produce and maintain than cars, they make up for some of the emissions shortcommings. there is also debate on whether the emissions tests provide a complete picture of the actual waste.

some 2-strokes, however, has electric oil injection, or were designed to pass CA emissions. my aero125, for instance, has a separate oil tank, and passed CA emssion standards. this means this scooter, and many others, is probably more environmentally friendly than modern cars and SUVs.

Posted by infrequent | June 18, 2007 3:51 PM
28

I'll admit that my made-in-India moped is a 2-stroke that definitely burns oil and emits the carbon into the air. But I also want some credit for burning way less of anything than any car does. Plus I look WAY cuter in my jean jacket and retro helmet than you do sitting behind the wheel of your Subaru wagon.

Posted by Gurldoggie | June 18, 2007 3:55 PM
29

@21,

Have you ever noticed that people operating leaf blowers are wearing boots, ear protection, mouth and nose protection, heavy clothes? That's to protect them from the harmful effects of operating the fucking things. Every time I've been in close proximity to a leaf blower, it was emitting a significant amount of heat. Considering those conditions, I would much rather rake leaves than operate a leaf blower under the hot L.A. sun.

@6,

besides if you take away the lawnmower and leaf-blower you will deprive a large (in several senses) segment of our population of the only sort of exercise they get

Using a rake and manual mower burns a lot more calories than a gas-powered leaf blower or lawn mower. Not only should we ban leaf blowers for the sake of noise and environmental pollution, we should do it for the sake of public health.

Posted by keshmeshi | June 18, 2007 4:04 PM
30

@28 - I'll give you the cuter thing.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 18, 2007 4:34 PM
31

A man with a rake can also move a much larger quantity of leaves much more effectively and completely, and faster, than a guy with a leaf blower, so your hypothetical Los Angeleno can stay out in that hot sun for less time. The rake also makes actual disposal or composting possible, unlike the blower, which just moves the leaves into the neighbor's yard.

Posted by Fnarf | June 18, 2007 5:35 PM
32

This is all about the mexicans isn't it Erica?

Posted by Camus | June 18, 2007 10:21 PM

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