Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Many Less Cars

I want there to be many less cars in my city, Boston. They stink. They pollute. They're big. They're unwieldy. They're unsafe. They're ugly. They make people fat. They make people angry. They are, an awful lot of the time, unnecessary.

And so I have devised a plan to eliminate large numbers of automobiles from the city. Eliminate half the parking.

We can all tut-tut at people who drive a mile down the road to the post office or around the corner to the coffee shop, but those places are set up to drive to. In fact, though Boston is absolutely choked with cars, we just spent $14 billion to make it easier and faster to get into the city by car. Last year, though 4% of the population commutes by bicycle, there were just two city blocks of bike lanes in the entire city limits.

It's just too easy to drive, so people drive. I would do the same thing, if I didn't already hate cars and driving, so I can't really blame them.

So, if we eliminated half the parking, I think we could significantly reduce the driving (and traffic), because we'd make it less convenient to drive and more convenient to ride or take the bus/train. This will seem Draconian to some, but to me, it seems completely Draconian to allow 40 feet of roadway (two parking lanes on either side, two traffic lanes in the middle) to bisect crowded urban areas. So take 10 of those feet and give them to cyclists and pedestrians. Widen the sidewalks. Lay bike paths.

This will serve to lessen pollution and noise. It will turn our city back into a walking place (it's got to be the geographically smallest "big city" in the country.) It will cause us to interact with each other more and thereby become nicer (I'm stretching now), and it will help us be less fat.

And it will help me not get hit and crushed, which is something I am actively afraid of, though I go right on cranking my way back and forth across the city as if I'm invincible.

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