Op-Ed: 'Public Mood' Has Turned Against Cars in Cities

A survey of recent planning decisions demonstrates that cities are no longer necessarily looking to more and bigger highways to solve their traffic problems.

1 minute read

May 4, 2018, 2:00 PM PDT

By Katharine Jose


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Mr Doomits / Shutterstock

An op-ed in The New York Times by Justin Gillis and Hal Harvey posits that two recent events in transportation planning demonstrated that "[b]oth the public and a few of our bolder political leaders are waking up to the reality that we simply cannot keep jamming more cars into our cities."

The first event cited is the L.A. region's decision not to expand the 710 freeway, and the second is a German court’s decision that diesel cars could be banned in city centers, should a city wish to ban them. The article also mentions congestion pricing in London (and discussions of it elsewhere), license-plate lotteries in China, and two highway expansion projects in the United States that did not decrease traffic — as they never do.

"We are revealing no big secrets here," they write, "Urban planners have known all these things for decades."

“But the planners had little clout as their bosses — city and state politicians — cowered before the demands of drivers. What we might be seeing, at last, is a shift in the public mood, a rising awareness that simply building more lanes is not the answer.”


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