Reducing Motor Vehicle Use

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Why a post on reducing motor vehicle use? I believe it is of interest to cyclists as most of us would prefer to ride streets that have less rather than more traffic. We would also prefer more cyclists on the road as it make us all more visible to drivers and will result in a more bike friendly City.

I propose to start with this post and follow it up over the next couple of weeks with some ideas that may work. I would ask that you consider contributing ideas in this regard.

Kelowna is no different from most other North American cities in that the general approach to traffic congestion is to build more roads. This attitude is not unique and I mean no criticism of the City and it’s employees when I mention it.

I feel that the general approach to reducing traffic should begin with the “carrot and the stick”. In my opinion, one or the other will not work, they have to be done together.

As an example, let’s look at reducing traffic in the downtown core. If we cut parking spaces and make the remaining parking spots more expensive (the stick) the problem is unlikely to be solved and a lot of people will be very unhappy. Heads will roll at City Hall and nothing productive will have happened.

However if we reduce parking spots and charge more for them, and at the same time improve transit and offer financial incentives to people working downtown to take transit, carpool, walk or ride a bike we may very well get the reduced traffic that we desire.

Other “carrots” that could be offered in the above example are:

– an enforceable bylaw requiring lockers and showers for cycling and walking employees.

– an enforceable bylaw requiring secure, covered parking for employees bicycles.

– recognition to employees, businesses and employers who walk, cycle and use transit. This could include financial compensation by the City to the business with the highest employee participation.

Another “stick” that has been used in London (UK) is a congestion charge for anyone using a vehicle in the core area. The reports I have read indicate that it has worked – I don’t know if they made transit improvements or other changes along with it.

John.

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