Long-time Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhov left office several months ago, and his successor, Segrey Sobyanin, recently announced new plans to tame the city's traffic. But Smith says Sobyanin's plan includes measures that will no doubt increase traffic and reduce the number of people using transit. Adding swaths of parking on the outskirts of the city, expanding the surface area dedicated to roads, shutting down privately-run jitneys and eliminating trolleys in the city center are all part of the scheme.
While the some of the more outrageous ideas, like banning any new development within three miles of the city center, seem untenable, some of Sobyanin's strategies are already impacting the city, writes Smith:
"While we can at least hope that none of these 'reforms' will come to pass, Sobyanin has begun to take action on at least one element of his plan: killing street life. He's already shut down 15% of all street kiosks in the city, and plans to do away with the rest that remain in central Moscow."