RE “CAN Boston be car-free?” (Op-ed, Oct. 1): Paul McMorrow’s assessment on the need to reduce parking and reliance on personal cars was spot on, and I have no doubt it is the future. Tom Keane’s argument in opposition, although misguided, is understandable. The belief that city dwellers need cars is a belief shared by many.
The auto and gas companies sold Americans a bill of goods when they pushed the superiority of cars and the demonization of the urban environment. This wrecked our cities, created suburban flight, and made us sicker, fatter, and isolated. We spend hours in cramped boxes to get to work or shopping in a city where these destinations are blocks away by foot. This is not to mention the massive destruction of the environment, wars caused over oil, and the paving of many natural habitats.
Cities that have the least amount of parking, such as San Francisco, New York, London, Paris, and Boston, just happen to be the most desirable. It is not a coincidence. Dense, flourishing, bustling walkable cities are what people naturally crave.
Cars have their place in urban transportation, but with the rise of Uber, Zipcar, taxi apps, better public transit, bike lanes, and transit-oriented development, more and excessive parking does not. We need to put our time, effort, and planning skills toward making Boston increasingly easier to navigate car-free, and that includes the need to stop building so much underground parking and start changing zoning requirements so as to prevent it.
The writer is the founder of Future Boston Alliance.