THE THIRD rail for the next mayor of Boston is traffic. Almost none of the 12 candidates has touched on solutions that other, more daring cities successfully implemented years ago.
At a mayoral forum on climate change this summer, I asked the candidates what they would do to ease congestion other than lobby for more public transit. I threw in the fact that Stockholm and London slashed or stabilized traffic with congestion fees at the perimeter of their city cores. I asked how they would work to bring such solutions to Boston. Four spoke: Charlotte Golar Richie, Bill Walczak, Felix Arroyo, and John Connolly.
None touched congestion fees. They all changed the topic to biking.
Biking is important but not sufficient. In a recent questionnaire for boston.comment, colleague Joanna Weiss and I asked the candidates what would be the first thing they would do to curb congestion beyond the T. Again, they retreated to bikes, more buses, coordinating traffic lights, and concepts like “complete streets,” which put pedestrians and cyclists on equal footing with vehicles.
Only Walczak added, “We should examine ways other cities have dealt with congestion and determine if these ideas [have merit] for Boston, including . . . London’s congestion zone charges.”
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