Large cities around the world such as Paris, Copenhagen, and Oslo, are rethinking transport around people, bicycles, and micro-mobility. They are reducing cars and street parking, unlocking the huge potential of the reclaimed space. Fewer cars means fewer traffic deaths and pollution. The message is catching on here with Open Streets and plans from groups like CityRise. It is especially relevant during the pandemic, given the need for restaurants, gyms, even schools, to have outside space while the virus restricts indoor activities.
To realize a more livable NYC and country, we must end the subsidies that prioritize driving. We need to spend less on highways. We need to lower urban speed limits. We need to recognize that curbside parking costs money, should be priced accordingly, and in many cases repurposed for people. We need to make space for delivery trucks so they aren’t double-parked and blocking traffic.
Do safer streets mean a war on cars? No. Cars will continue to be an efficient means of transport for many trips, and may be the only viable option for people with disabilities, or stuck in transportation deserts. While trying to fix the transportation desert part, and removing preferences like free (ie subsidized) curbside parking, we need to allow cars to find their appropriate place in our future mobility landscape.