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Monday, June 24, 2024

The Dream of a Automotive-Free Metropolis Lives On

In the afternoons, when Causes to be Cheerful’s editors head residence for the night — by subway, by bike or on foot, like most New Yorkers — right here’s what we regularly see: a stagnant river of gridlocked automobiles stretching down each avenue and avenue, their drivers making an attempt in useless to get out of the town and leaning on their horns within the meantime.

That is the transportation disaster that New York’s congestion pricing plan was designed to confront. Its main mechanism — a $15 cost for driving into Manhattan beneath sixtieth Avenue — would have lowered site visitors by an estimated 17 p.c whereas funneling $1 billion in annual revenues to the town’s transit system, which is determined for money for upkeep and upgrades.

When New York’s governor all of the sudden shelved the plan this week, the state misplaced a generational probability to lastly implement significant fixes to each its subways and its streets.

And we at Causes to be Cheerful almost misplaced one thing, too: A particular collection we’d been engaged on about good methods cities are fixing the issues attributable to automobiles. The plan was to publish the collection in a number of weeks, when New York’s congestion pricing went into impact. Alas, that second is now “indefinitely” (many worry completely) postponed.

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However we didn’t need the loss of life of 1 nice thought to trigger the demise of one other. So we’re working our collection anyway, repurposed to point out New Yorkers the great concepts that would have been. At this time, we’re publishing a narrative by Eric Krebs on how congestion pricing, and the advantages it has spawned, has received the hearts of the cities which have embraced it, from Stockholm to Singapore. On Monday, we’ll publish a bit by Peter Yeung about how London has used some easy methods to create “low-traffic” neighborhoods, the place automobiles are discouraged and strolling and biking charges have since surged. And on Tuesday, we’ll publish a narrative by Kaja Seruga about how some European cities are slowing down drivers, making their streets safer and their neighborhoods extra livable.

These tales are a reminder that, whereas New York’s transportation woes could also be one step farther from being solved, workable, evidence-based options are on the market. To set them in movement, all a metropolis wants is the willingness to present them a attempt — after which, to present them an opportunity to work earlier than pulling the plug.

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