This I believe:
- Burning fossil fuels is killing the planet.
- Hours-long commutes make people crazy.
- There's an acute shortage of housing.
- Drivers are killing tens of thousands of people per year.
To fix these problems we must cut down on driving in general,
and especially of gasoline-powered cars.
We must provide good alternatives to driving, so people
voluntarily give it up.
We must build lots more housing, in places where people don't
need to drive.
And we must make streets safer for non-drivers.
Here are some specific policies to accomplish these goals:
- Raise the gas tax a lot, phased in over 5 years.
- Peg it to the CPI, so we don't fall behind again.
- Better yet, switch to a plain old sales tax on gasoline. 15% would be good - that's how much the federal gas tax was, the last time it was raised. 30% would be better.
- Borrow against the expected revenue.
- Start now to build subways, light rail, BRT, Green Lanes.
- On Spare The Air Days, tolls double and transit is free.
- Burning wood and wood products is prohibited in cities all the time, not just on Spare the Air Days.
- Congestion pricing.
- Upzone near present and future transit, and finance development there.
- Use Value Capture to get back some of the increased property value, and use that to finance even more transit and development.
- Use counter-cyclicial timing to stretch funding - do municipal development during down-turns when construction is cheaper, pause and let commercial developers do it themselves during boom times.
- Change parking minimums to tradable parking maximums.
- No density limits.
- Legalize ADUs.
- Convert on-street parking into a mix of white loading zones, blue handicapped spaces, bike corrals, parklets.
- Any remaining on-street parking should cost $10/day.
- Daylight every intersection, for better visibility of cross traffic.
- Develop parking lots into mid-rise housing with ground-floor garages and retail.
- Streets in parks should either be blocked for cut-through use or closed to cars altogether.
- Streets along the edge of parks and waterfronts should have two-way cycletracks, since the lack of cross-streets and driveways makes this easier.
- De-criminalize traffic violations. Take enforcement away from the police and put it in a non-militarized traffic department.
- Automate traffic enforcement. Non-automated enforcement is inherently racist, and dangerous to PoC. Plus, it trains drivers that it's ok to push past the boundaries of what's legal. That has to stop.
- If your state doesn't allow automated traffic enforcement (e.g. California), install the hardware anyway. It's great against other driver crimes such as hit&run.
- Require speed limiters on all new cars.
- Require sobriety testers in all new cars. They only interlock with the ignition for DUI offenders, but they are available for everyone.
- Get rid of the light truck exception for fuel economy standards.
- Prohibit single-occupant cars in cities.
- Prohibit private vehicles taller than five feet in cities.
- Reserve one lane of all bridges and tunnels for buses.
- Car computers should save photos from exterior and interior cameras when airbags deploy. The airbag module itself should include a camera, to establish who was driving.
- Re-brand Bike Lanes as Green Lanes - an expansion of the concept to explicitly allow all small non-combustion vehicles.
- Green Lanes should always be painted green their full length. Soft-hit posts and concrete separators are good too.
- Green Lanes should have a maximum width of seven feet, to discourage drivers from using them.
- Re-brand Bike Boulevards as Green Streets. Add physical traffic calming measures, not just signs and paint. Bulb-outs, speed humps, refuges, and permeable barriers at most intersections forcing cars to turn. No stop signs, but every cross street must have either stop signs or traffic lights.
- Speed limit in Green Lanes and Green Streets is 15MPH.
- Crash-Sourced Infrastructure Escalation: When a soft-hit post gets destroyed by a driver, replace it with a heftier K-71 post. When a K-71 gets flattened, replace it with a steel bollard. When a steel bollard gets knocked down, replace it with a concrete K-rail.
- Immediate tow for blocking green and bus lanes.
- Clarify law about whether bicycles are allowed to use bus lanes. In California they are, probably, according to CVC 21655.1, but let's make sure.
- I can't believe I have to say this, but: no parking at bus stops! [glares at San Francisco]
- All current and future small electric-powered personal vehicles - e-bikes, scooters, hoverboards, mono-wheels, etc. - are lumped together as "micro-mobility" and the law treats them all the same.
- All micro-mobility devices are always allowed anywhere bikes are.
- Micro-mobility power assist must stop at 20MPH.
- Municipal micro-mobility share. Basic functionality heavily subsidized or free.
- Or just give everyone their own e-bike! It would pay for itself many times over by lowering the government's cost for supporting cars.
- An on-street micro-mobility corral on every block, made from two or three converted parking spaces.
- Every large parking lot, for instance supermarkets, should also have a micro-mobility corral.
- Standardized signage announcing / pointing to micro-mobility corrals. They can be hard to find in big parking garages.
- Build secure municipal micro-mobility garages every few blocks, with free charge points.
- Federal legislation standardizing charge connectors for all micro-mobility devices. E-cars too, while we're at it.
- Stringing e-car charging cables across sidewalks is bad. Instead, let's normalize cutting a 0.5" x 1" channel in the sidewalk for the cable to fit into.
- If companies want to compete with the subsidized/free municipal micro-mobility share, they are welcome to try. Maybe they can come up with an added value version. Cushier seats?
- Bike trailer share! Standardized hitches, use with any bike, shared or not.
- Chicanes are not a good traffic calming measure. They make people zig-zag. When drivers zig-zag they cut the corner and encroach on the bike lane. When cyclists zig-zag they get rear-ended by surprised drivers. No chicanes.
- Sharrows are bad. They are confusing for drivers and do nothing for cyclists. Stop installing them.
- "Super Sharrows" - full-length green stripes in the middle of a motorist lane - are an abomination, since they train motorists that it's ok to drive on full-green. Remove them!
- Ban right-on-red. It saves some time and fuel but it's just too dangrerous.
- Ban slip lanes. Again, too dangerous.
- Leading Pedestrian Interval at all traffic signals.
- LPI always includes cyclists, no special signage needed.
- Stop inventing new traffic signals. HAWKs, RRFBs, IRWLs. Drivers don't know what they mean and ignore them. Just use regular old traffic lights.
- Partial Idaho Stop - cyclists may slow & go at stop signs, but still must stop & wait at red lights. Also known as the Delaware Yield.
- Bikes and bike gear 100% tax deductible.
- $300/year grant spendable on bike stuff.
- Amend CA PC § 466, the "burglary tools" law, and similar laws elsewhere, so it explicitly applies to bike theft tools such as angle grinders.
- Anywhere drivers pay a toll, cyclists get $1 back.
- Employers providing benefits to drivers - including a parking space - must provide the same $ amount to cyclists and transit users.
- Employers get a tax credit for each non-driving worker.
- Fund an R&D foundation for improving remote work technology and encouraging adoption.
- Transit mentors - a workplace program to pair up transit newbies with more experienced users who have similar commutes.
- Urban transit should basically always be flat rate. Distance-based fares are inequitable and inefficient.
- Also, stop eating so much beef! Cattle are much worse than other meat animals.
Most of these ideas are not new, I've just collected them and written
A few are my own additions.
All of them are doable right now.
Together they represent my platform for improving cities,
making urban life more pleasant, and fighting climate change.
Furthermore, there are plenty more ideas like these.
Simple, concrete, feasible.
Once you get in the habit you will come up with lots of your own.
We don't have a lack of goals or ideas.
We know what needs to be done, and we know how to do it.
What we lack is the political will to say: Yes.
Yes in my back yard.
Yes in my city.
Yes in my state.
Yes to saving lives on our streets.
Yes to homes for everyone.
Yes to saving the planet!