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Congestion Pricing: An Expat View

Writing from London in an Op-Ed for Seattle’s Crosscut, Chuck Wolfe argues for a contextual approach to a much-touted search for transportation equity.
June 23, 2019, 1pm PDT | Charles R. Wolfe | @crwolfelaw
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Car-Centric Planning
Chuck WOlfe

In cities like Seattle, advocates of congestion pricing—tolling those who drive into a designated downtown city zone—often point to London and Stockholm, two cities with robust transportation infrastructure, where the concept was initially unpopular, but now is an accepted fact of life.

In the face of Seattle’s ongoing consideration of congestion pricing tools, Wolfe wonders how this reasoning applies to Seattle and the Puget Sound region in 2019. He suggests greater similarity between Seattle and other cities where congestion pricing is currently on hold.

Now living and working in London and Stockholm, Wolfe counsels against summary comparisons. He contends that implementation of congestion pricing needs to make sense for Seattle, its particular geography, demography, transit service and public access issues, as well as work equitably for city and regional residents: "In Seattle, the deeper issue is how to align policy with local realities, without prematurely borrowing practices from elsewhere along the way."

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Published on Friday, June 21, 2019 in Crosscut
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