jueves, 30 de septiembre de 2010

What a Congestion Charge Could Do for Cycling

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And end in sight for Bogotá's traffic jams?
Luis Willumsen
The other day, Luis Willumsen, a transit consultant from London proposed a radical cure for Bogotá's transit mess. While his proposal makes no mention of bicycles, it would likely do wonders for cycling in the city: that Bogotá create a London-style congestion fee for motorized vehicles entering the city center.

Such a fee would do wonders for traffic and social equity, and it'd inevitably give a big boost to cycling, for several reasons. This is true in part because part of the income from such a fee would likely go to pro-cycling projects such as bicycle lanes. More importantly, less congestion would do wonders for the quality of cycling in this city, where riders now have to fight their way through ranks of stalled cars and buses, whose frustrated drivers lean on their horns and block cyclists' paths just out of general jerkiness. A congestion fee would ease up traffic and tension and reduce both the number of vehicles and pollution. Finally, by raising the cost of driving, it would push some commuters off of four wheels and onto two.

It's important to note that a congestion charge only monetizes - and probably reduces - costs which motorists are paying already, in time lost waiting in traffic jams and in fuel burnt during hours of idling - not to mention the medical costs of all of that stress. 

Worried Samuel better do something.
Imposing a congestion fee is tough politically - but several factors make it more realistic in Bogotá's case: Here, only a minority of residents own private cars, and they're not supporters of Mayor Samuel Moreno anyway; the city, and Moreno in particular, have shown a willingness to take measures motorists dislike, particularly the city's ineffective and perhaps even counterproductive 'Pico y Placa' law. Finally, Moreno is so unpopular that he's got nothing to lose by trying an unpopular but potentially revolutionary transit policy.



This blog by Mike Ceaser of Bogota Bike Tours

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