Open Letter to a Car-Addicted City
If you design a city for cars, it fails for everyone, including drivers. If you design a multi-modal city that prioritizes walking, biking and public transport, it works for everyone, including drivers. In other words, there’s no “war on cars” here. That’s a lazy political and media narrative. There’s an old saying about what’s called “The Law of Congestion” – building more road lanes to solve congestion is like loosening your belt to solve obesity. The whole idea of justifying more roads is often a self-fulfilling prophecy. You justify the road project based on the projected number of cars and the cars come because of the road project you’ve built. New lanes always fill up, because more sprawl is built and people drive more. If you hadn’t built the new road, the cars wouldn’t have come. You’re never going to build your way out of the congestion problem – at least not with roads. They’re incredibly expensive, and they generally don’t work at “solving” congestion.
In Vancouver, we’ve been prioritizing walking, biking and public transport in our city-making for years. We rejected the freeways decades ago – we’re the only major North American city that doesn’t have any, and our city works better because of that. In fact, we haven’t added any new road capacity for cars since the 1990’s, and don’t intend to in the future.
If you design a multi-modal city that prioritizes walking, biking and public transport, it works for everyone, including drivers.
Source: ‘Open Letter to a Car-Addicted City’ Planetizen, 10 November 2014