DO we have a mind-boggling capacity to put up with extreme congestion and ‘epic commutes? Christopher Hume writing for Toronto’s Star says,
“Whatever the appeal of the car may be, mobility has little to do with it…that’s why efforts to control car use are doomed to failure as long as they’re based on attempts to replace it with alternate forms of transportation, especially public transit…there’s nothing rational about why people in the hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, hop into their vehicles every morning and evening for the daily commute.”
1. London, Stockholm and Singapore introduced large ‘congestion fees’ for drivers choosing to take their cars downtown.
The decline in traffic was not huge – 22 to 23 per cent – and although locals hated the prospect at first, over time they have learned to love the results.
2. In Denmark car buyers pays a 180 per cent vehicle registration tax as well as a 25 per cent value-added tax – a lot of people ride bikes!
3. The Danes, the Swedes and the Dutch all have an elaborate ‘bike infrastructure’. Cyclists have their own lanes, parking spots and traffic signals AND they are respected by drivers.
The mix of measures will have to include
Chris says even the greenest Canadian political leaders have been unwilling to make tough decisions.
“They prefer to act as societal enablers; we vote for them and in return they give us permission to carry on as usual…At the same time, however, there has been a move to increase urban densities and limit sprawl.”
Apparently Toronto is approving residential tower developments with fewer parking spots than legally required or none at all, meaning people rely on public transit, a bike or their feet to get around.
Inner city dwellers here in Oz tend to do the same thing, don’t they? There may be a car – used infrequently – but life without the beast is certainly possible. New city buildings are installing showers, lockers and bike parking for the growing numbers riding in at least some days of the week. Interest in the PWF electric bike articles and increasing their power has been high. Maybe our pollies would win a few votes if they DID step in with some tough decisions.
You DO have to wonder why the decision to up electric bike wattage is taking so-o-o-o long??