Who Will Rule the Streets?
In 21st century Washington, transit users, walkers and bikers will have the right of way in transportation planning. A tilt away from drivers that began with the highway battles of the 1960s and 70s in the District will become more pronounced.
It has to. Even if we turn out to be in the midst of a temporary spike in oil prices, the longterm trend is upward. (See Annys Shin story: "Some Unload Vehicles for Less Than They Owe.") The fate of the gas guzzler is sealed. More people will do what's in their financial interest and turn to buses and trains, and sidewalks. Many will decide to live closer to where they work and the real estate market will try to accommodate them.
Almost any step the District takes, such as the decision last fall to eliminate the one-way zone on Constitution Avenue NE, will be viewed by many drivers as an anti-suburban move. But suburban trends in the same direction will become more obvious over the next few years.
See Amy Gardner's story about plans to redevelop Tysons: "Urban Planners Take Aim at Free Parking."
The same forces are at work everywhere. Here's the catch: If planners are going to push people toward trains and buses, they ought to make sure the trains and buses are there.
[Join me at 1 p.m. for an online discussion of all our local transportation issues. We can talk about everything from the holiday weekend traffic to dealing with the 21st century's transportation needs. If you'd like to submit a question or comment in advance, use this link.]
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