Friday, March 28, 2008

Of *Course* We Want to Drive!

OK, let's start by angering you.

Now for my two cents. There is the fundamental presumption on the part of traffic engineers that single-occupant motor vehicles are the standard, the norm, and the priority for their design targets.

This has become a self-fulfilling vision. If we want to see this changed, we frankly need to make an overt attempt on public policy to discourage it. Things like the referenced article confirm me in the thinking that we need to get motorists to reconsider their reasons for driving.

Keep in mind when you read my suggestions that, by a "car", I refer to non-commercial non-special use vehicles. I particularly exclude service vehicles, emergency vehicles, and commercial vehicles (those with apportioned mileage and taxation rates). I intend reasonable exemptions for businesses, the handicapped, and other uses that are clearly in the interest of public policy...
  • Withhold all highway funding from jurisdictions that do not make safety a priority that supersedes convenience or efficiency.
  • If an urban road does not have one sidewalk and two bike lanes, remove motor vehicle lanes until it does, even if this means making it one way or single lane with vehicle turnouts.
  • If a traffic jurisdiction concludes that a road is unsafe for motorists to share with bicyclists and pedestrians, block the road to motorists (who are the ones who typically cause the injuries) instead of the legitimate road users.
  • If a traffic light does not properly sense bicycles, modify it so that it does not sense motor vehicles either. Set the timing so that a motorist will have time to leave his car, cross lanes of traffic, push the inconveniently placed button, cross lanes against traffic, and then reenter his car.
  • Set a nationwide speed limit of 35 mph for cars. Not only will this reduce fuel consumption and pollution, it will save lives. Note that trucks and service vehicles are exempt from this. If you want to get there faster, take a bus.
  • Stop handing out car titles with a security interest. If you want a car, you buy it.
  • Individuals that "deal" (defined in Oregon, for instance, as anyone who sells more than eight cars per year) will be required to perform 200 hours of community service per year. Motorists convicted of traffic offenses will be required to perform some amount of community service in increments of 8 hours. The idea here is to make people who sell or operate cars get the idea that they're doing something wrong.
  • If you commit a traffic crime (such as DUI or reckless driving), the car you are operating as well as any others with your name on the title will be seized and destroyed. I say "destroyed" as opposed to resold, because it is clearly public policy to reduce the number of cars on the road.
  • Traveling at a speed greater than 50 mph is a traffic crime, since you are providing material aid and support to the enemy on the War on Terror (see above).
Yes, I know, some of them are tongue-in-cheek. But...

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