Why Car-Free Streets Will Soon Be the Norm

In cities like New York, Paris, Rotterdam, and soon San Francisco,car-free streets are emerging amid a growing movement.

Author Brooks Rainwater

When asked what they like most about a city they have visited, almost no one answers: “The cars whizzing by on the streets.” Cultural attractions, the people we meet, walking through the city and gazing at plazas, buildings, and places—these are the things that make a city unique.What if there was a way to get more of what we all like and less of the noise and congestion we don’t? Many cities are working towards that goal, by closing major streets to traffic and opening them up to people.

Cities have limited space, and how it is allocated is tremendously important for people. The denser a place, the dearer each square foot is. Yet all over the world, cities were retrofitted to accommodate cars, giving them an outsized portion of urban space and limiting the area in which people could walk, sit at cafes, or play games with friends.

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Why We Need to Dream Bigger Than Bike Lanes

Author Terenig Topjian

There’s a quote that’s stuck with me for some time from Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom: “You know why people don’t like liberals? Because they lose. If liberals are so f***ing smart, how come they lose so goddamn always?”

American urbanists and bike advocates are smart, or at least well informed. We know how important cycling is. We are educated about cycling cities in other parts of the world and how they are so much better for health, well-being, economics, traffic, pollution, climate, equity, personal freedom, and on and on.

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Driving is more expensive than you think


Kennedy School study puts annual Mass. costs at $64 billion, hopes figure will be used as a comparison in mass-transit spending decisions

If you think the cost of driving is borne only by individuals who own cars, you may want to think again.

And you might be surprised just how pricey it is.

A team of graduate students at the Harvard Kennedy School estimate that the annual price tag for maintaining Massachusetts’ car economy is roughly $64.1 billion, with more than half of that coming from public funds. While they didn’t perform an analysis for all the states, the group notes that the cost structure would be similar.

“This is a huge number,” said the paper’s lead author, Stevie Olson, M.P.P. ’20. “It’s unexpected because the majority of drivers, citizens, consumers experience roads for free. You just drive out your parking lot, your driveway, and you’re on the road. No one’s charging you, but there’s all of these costs that are both public costs, indirect externalities that are also costs, and then private costs that people are incurring.”

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As Market Street prepares to go car-free, what does this mean for you?

By Brock Keeling@BrockKeeling Updated Jan 27, 2020, 10:48am PST

On Wednesday, San Francisco’s main artery will close to private forms of vehicular traffic as part of Better Market Street, a people-centric street design project meant to get buses and streetcars moving at a brisker pace along the busy thoroughfare and guarantee a safer commute for all.

For people who walk on Market Street—an estimated 500,000 people every day—you won’t notice a huge difference right away, except the changes should make your journey much less stressful. For those who bike or scoot—about 650 people per hour during rush hour—you’ll have fewer cars to dodge, plus a safer bike lane coming soon. But what if you use Market to commute in a vehicle?Here’s everything you need to know.

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Ride transit to reduce your carbon footprint 

60% of greenhouse gas emissions come from vehicles on the road. Each day tens of thousands of North Bay commuters who ride public transit are reducing CO2 emissions and protecting our global climate.

SMART riders reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 33% compared to completing the same trip in a car.  To-date, SMART riders have prevented 8.1 million pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from being released into the environment—and they multiplied this reduction by connecting to and from the train station using low emission forms of transportation such as walking, biking and other public transit.

You can be a Green Commuter too! Ditch your car, if only for one day a week, and take public transit. It’s easy, economical and a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.