We’ve paved our way to gridlock with our own poor policies
Beth Teitell’s lament about the variability of Boston roadway congestion (“Bumper-to-out-of-nowhere-bumper,” Page A1, May 21) suggests that the soul-crushing conditions on our streets and highways are a matter of chance.
In reality, it is a matter of choice. The public policies we have adopted, or failed to, make our transportation system what it is.
We have made driving relatively inexpensive compared with public transportation. We have refused even to test variable roadway pricing, which successfully reduces traffic wherever it has been tried. We have made glacial progress in adding transit capacity. We have failed to build enough housing near transit and business centers, which means more cars on the road.
These are policy choices that harm our quality of life, our environment, our health, our economy, and, as Teitell points out, our ability to plan our schedules. It’s time our Commonwealth made better policy choices.
The writer is the director of the advocacy coalition Transportation for Massachusetts.
Envisioning a carless utopia in center of Boston
It is time to acknowledge that, as a means of travel through Boston, cars are just about completely obsolete, and Uber and Lyft are only going to make a bad situation worse.
If, instead, most of Boston’s streets were reserved for public transit, pedestrians, and possibly bicycles, we all could travel around downtown a lot faster and more reliably than we do now. And I say this as a car owner.
We should make it easy and relatively inexpensive to park at the outskirts of the city and hop on a bus, subway, or train. By eliminating cars and streetside parking from downtown, we could make public transit not only faster but also more frequent. Public transit uses street real estate so efficiently that we could probably have street space for buses and free up acres for pedestrians, sidewalk cafes, and parks. Much of today’s traffic noise would be replaced by music, conversation, and the sounds of children playing.
We can tackle traffic congestion — we just don’t seem willing to
Beth Teitell’s article “Bumper-to-out-of-nowhere-bumper“ drives home once again that we have too many cars on the road. We all know what the problem is. It’s those other drivers.
If they would get out of their cars and take the T, the commuter rail, park and ride, carpool, or stay home, the problem would be solved. We all think public transportation and ride sharing is a great idea — for someone else.
Traffic congestion is not going to be eliminated unless we all embrace the problem. How to do that is well known; we just don’t want to take the necessary actions: Raise the gasoline tax, make all major arteries into Boston toll roads, charge for driving on Boston streets, build high-occupancy vehicle lanes that go somewhere, and designate a network of city streets as resident or bus only during rush hour (so that the buses can actually move).
If not, get used to the congestion and build a bigger “cushion” into your commute.
Philip Saunders Jr.