A modest proposal for easing traffic congestion in downtown urban areas

14 Dec

Although I believe that my thoughts on traffic congestion in the downtown areas of major urban centres are modest, I fear the ideas will produce howls of outrage from drivers. I am a licensed driver, and appreciate the pleasures of driving my car when I journey long distances. However, for inner-city trips, I have adjusted to travelling on public transportation or simply walking. The era of driving automobiles within crowded cities is drawing to a close.  The problem will be particularly acute for those who must drive from distant suburban locations (a necessity for many) to their places of employment within the city.

I foresee the day when it will be against the law for drivers to intrude into the space employed by streetcars or buses. No barriers need be constructed, it will simply be a fact of life that all streetcars and busses must have their own right-of-way, unobstructed by automobiles. This means that there will be only one lane in either direction for cars. This necessitates that all parking be banned on avenues with public transportation.  This will horrify merchants who have businesses on these streets. However, with the ever-increasing construction of high rise condos, population densities will increase greatly within the central areas of cities, thus creating an increased need for public transportation. The loss of business from drivers will be replaced by increased sales from pedestrians.

At some point in the future, I believe that on inner city streets, private automobiles will be banned. The only vehicles allowed will be public transportation, taxis, and emergency vehicles. Cars will  continue to be driven only in the suburbs or in areas with low population densities. This will entail a major change in our lifestyles and the transition will not be easy. As the demographics of the suburbs change, they too will become areas with no private vehicles on streets with public transportation.

Judging by the distain expressed toward road tolls, I fear that the change in thinking toward private automobiles will be accompanied by enormous upheaval. Heaven help the politicians that will have to implement the changes.

Doug Taylor

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Posted by on December 14, 2011 in Toronto


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