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Year In Review

Eight New Year’s Resolutions For Transportation Decisionmakers

As we do every year, we're challenging the architects of our transportation system to do better.

12:00 AM EST on January 2, 2024

The book is closed on 2023, so its time for governments at all levels to make bold New Year’s resolutions that will make 2024 greener, safer, and all-around less car-dominated.

Last year, we asked Streetsblog readers about their personal advocacy goals for the year to come and got some great answers. This year, though, we’re challenging the architects of our transportation system to step up, too. Here are eight ideas for policymakers who still need a little inspiration.

1. Halt highway expansions

When the clock strikes midnight on 2024, America will have been officially documenting the phenomenon of “induced demand” for at least 62 years — and informally observing it for more than a century. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law doesn’t require states to stop mindlessly pouring asphalt in the fruitless hope of curing congestion, it does encourage them to stop ignoring the science when evaluating projects.

And America Walks Executive Director Mike McGinn thinks this should be the year they finally make progress:

2. Respond to crashes by stopping future ones

Instead of shrugging at car crashes as inevitable acts of God, policymakers could resolve to install quick-build infrastructure that prevents future drivers from making the same mistakes. Oakland-based advocacy trainer and Streetsblog contributor Carter Lavin is urging his mayor to carve out more space in the budget for k-rails (or, as the rest of the country calls them, jersey barriers.)

3. End parking mandates

Archaic laws that require developers to build loads of car storage have been falling like dominoes for years, but some municipalities are still stubbornly hanging on. Several Streetsblog readers want their policymakers to finally let them go — and experience all the amazing things that happen when we rededicate land and budgets to people:

4. Spread the gospel of congestion pricing

America’s on track to get its first congestion pricing program when New York City finally implements its long-awaited central business district toll. And some Streetsblog readers say that with any luck – and a lot of political will — it’s only the beginning:

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5. Take advantage of political change

In case you haven’t heard (who are we kidding, you heard), 2024 is an election year — and not just at the federal level. And some advocates are already calling on recently elected officials to hit the ground running on sustainable transportation priorities, like Philadelphia Mayor-Elect Cherelle Parker:

6. Build high speed rail already

Do we even need to explain this one?

7. Connect the bike network already

We definitely don’t need to explain this one.

8. Do something — anything — to reduce car dependency

If there’s one thing all these resolutions have in common, though, it’s that sustainable transportation advocates are ready for their decision makers to make concrete commitments to reckon with the devastating impacts of universal auto dependence, and to bring about the just transition to the transportation system we really need.

It won’t happen overnight; it won’t even happen in a single year. But if we resolve to do better today, maybe this time next year, we’ll really have something to celebrate.

Wishing you a safe and happy new year.

The post Eight New Year’s Resolutions For Transportation Decisionmakers appeared first on Streetsblog California.

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