Extreme heat waves. Heat Islands. Environmental Justice. Nothing is accomplished quickly in getting climate policy passed, so we have to shift into direct action and nail low hanging fruit wherever it exists if we’re going to put a dent in carbon emissions quickly and efficiently. A recent example is the14th Street car ban in NYC. Not only does it cut carbon, it subsequently improves the overall downtown “experience,” making street and sidewalks safer and more enjoyable for pedestrians, cutting air pollution, as well as dramatically reducing the amount of time it takes to get from point A to B. According to Curbed, the travel time for buses to cross lower Manhattan on 14th, has now been cut in half.
Mashable has confirmed that following the immediate success of the 14th Street car ban, other US cities took notice:
- San Francisco banned cars on jammed Market Street
- Seattle closed congested 3rd Street back in 2018
- Ultimately, however, the US is way behind our foreign partners, just as we are on most climate action initiatives. Wikipedia has a staggering list of cities across the globe who’ve implemented the ingenious car ban to cut carbon and air pollution, improve commuting time, and enhance quality of life downtown.
How about other bustling East Coast cities though? Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC and Atlanta immediately spring to mind. All have major public transportation systems that can easily accommodate the transition. Additionally, these cities are major tourist destinations that would benefit from having significantly fewer cars on the street. Even small cities like Chapel Hill, North Carolina with it’s major artery, Franklin Street, would be significantly advantaged.
Passing state and federal carbon taxes and regulations takes an extremely long time, which is slowing much needed progress. So, while we’re busy persisting… and being patient, the short term solution with an amazing longterm positive impact is to quickly ban cars from major thoroughfares in our many cities as soon as possible. With so much data available to municipalities, it’s seemingly unconscionable not to act quickly.~
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