A host of solutions needed for car-clogged streets
Re “Clogged streets, unhappy tourists” (Page A1, Oct. 19): Indeed, traffic in Boston has been noticeably worse, and from that we all suffer, not just tourists. The biggest problem, as noted in Beth Teitell’s article, is too many cars. This requires a menu of solutions: faster and more convenient public transit options, including giving priority to buses and trolleys over private cars; safer streets for walking and bicycling; congestion charges to drive into the city at peak hours, which could also fund public transit improvements; charging accordingly for on-street public and resident parking so that drivers can always easily find a space; creating more drop-off/pickup and delivery zones to reduce double parking; and increased traffic enforcement against double parking and “blocking the box,” or clogging intersections at traffic lights.
People hate sitting in traffic, but for many, that’s unfortunately still their most convenient option. It’s time we all worked together to change that.
Might want to take another look at that rush-hour data
In the article “Clogged streets, unhappy tourists,” a data firm’s analysis that “the typical driver in Boston and surrounding suburbs spent 58 hours in rush-hour traffic” in 2016 is hogwash, unless that “typical driver” drove into Boston once a month between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Fifty-eight hours is 1.1 hours per week. The typical commuter or driver going into Boston or contiguous suburbs spends that much time in stop-and-go traffic every day. It has reached the point that we resist going into Boston and make many fewer trips now than we did only five to 10 years ago. What used to take 40 minutes is now more than 75 minutes.
Maybe the Globe would be advised not to run similar negative articles about Boston until Amazon has made its decision for HQ2.
If we invest in transportation now, we win the long game
Here’s an idea: Let’s invest in transportation whether we land Amazon’s second headquarters or not (“Rosy transportation vision relies on long-stalled plans,” Page A1, Oct. 20).
With the volume of traffic forecast to increase by 37 percent by 2040, deteriorating roads and unreliable public transit are only going to place more pressure on our workforce and economy.
Investing in transportation now helps the companies and people already committed to the Commonwealth and lays the groundwork to land the game-changing companies of the future.
Somewhere, someone is building the Amazon, Google, or Apple of 2030. The work we do today in transportation — and housing, and education — will bring that company to Massachusetts tomorrow.
Our state has so many of the other factors businesses desire. With strategic investments in transportation, made sooner rather than later, we can lift up those already here, and put out the welcome mat for businesses of the future.
The writer is a member of the board of the Alliance for Business Leadership.
Climate concerns should inform policy on driverless cars
The City of Boston should be lauded for taking a leadership role in understanding autonomous vehicles and supporting testing initiatives (“Driverless cars: a boon?” Business, Oct. 18).
The report assumes that the majority of autonomous vehicles will run on electricity rather than fossil fuels. While this is an important goal, it is not certain that the electric vehicle market will trend in this direction unless guided by state and local policies.
At approximately 40 percent, transportation is the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the Commonwealth. Ensuring the integration of autonomous vehicles with electric vehicle technologies is an essential climate change solution.
The writer is a senior transportation planner and emerging technologies specialist with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.