Thursday, March 31, 2016

Opportunity Knocks: Will Washington DC grasp the chance to solve its problems?

The US is country obsessed with the cult of the car.  It is not "car culture", it is a car cult.  But now, thanks to the US's national unwillingness to pay for its failing infrastructure, there is an opportunity to break through the "brake lights matter" mentality of Americans. 

Washington D.C.'s metro transit system is in such dire need of repair that entire rail lines may need to be closed for six months to enact repairs.  Doomsayers with tunnel vision are calling this a "disaster", calling it "gridlock".  Instead, this is a chance for Washington to lead the way and become the first US city to promote and protect cycling as mass transit.  It is now the beginning of April, with six months of sunny weather ahead. 

If the city blocks off the rightmost lane on every major road with jersey barriers, cyclists could travel safely and quickly though the city in large numbers.  The number of motorized vehicles that could travel would be reduced, which would reduce air pollution and increase the safety of pedestrians and cyclists alike.  Drives could be encouraged to start car pooling.  It would solve every traffic problem all at once with minimal cost.

Metro’s top officials warned Wednesday that the transit system is in such need of repair that they might shut down entire rail lines for as long as six months for maintenance, potentially snarling thousands of daily commutes and worsening congestion in the already traffic-clogged region.

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