Thursday, March 10, 2011

Not Getting the Message

Our governments are not getting the message.  With our future being depleted of its sources of readily available oil, governments should not be in any case building new roads.  Funding for any new roads should be eliminated from the budget, leaving only road projects that involve critical maintenance or projects that have already started and it would be detrimental to traffic to leave it in its present state.  The automobile is not going to play as big a role in the future as everyone seems to think.  I quite often hear the rebuttal that "cars are not going away,"  and those people are quite right cars will not completely be eliminated.  Cars serve an important niche for remote and long distance commutes, but that is it.  The majority of commutes are under 20 minutes, and can be easily be replaced through walking/cycling/transit.

The days of driving a Ford F150 or any automobile to pick up your groceries, are coming to an end.  It is time that the government starts preparing for this imminent future now.  We need to start putting in place the infrastructure that is needed allow a sustainable commuting culture.   

Put a halt to road expansions now, so that we have the money to spend on smart city designs.  Create bus only lanes at major choke points right of way, choke points occur anywhere that geographical constraints restrict the movement of people such as bridges over our rivers, or shear hill sides.  These locations will see the largest congestion, so when you provide transit with a clear way through these choke points you dramatically make transit more appealing.  The next priority is to create bus only lanes along major and minor roadways.  It is time to stop making transit a money losing business, start giving transit the priority all the time and it will make money.  Add more buses to routes to increase frequency, and create new routes to service those areas without effective transit.  Extend transit service hours to into evening to provide transit for the 5-6 hours night time void.  Create separated bike lanes as well, countries like Germany show that it is possible to create a city so that to cycle the entire width of a city under an hour. 

This is the time when our government needs to act and create the option to ditch your car.  We will have to make these changes regardless, and if we start now we will avoid the large capital crunch that is unavoidable when the oil finally dries up.

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