From the Economist magazine, August 3/19: This curiously named 'Charlemagne' column datelined Europe that plugs the rise of the electric scooter fad as perhaps less folly than welcome phenomenon. The anonymous writer reflects on how the trend might herald the eventual demise of the car in urban milieus - hence, an end to traffic jams, pollution, all manner of inconveniences now menacing those of us who relish inner city living.
Well, nice if you can get it as the saying goes. Obviously, many cities have risen to the challenge by construction of bike lanes, increased parking and operating charges, encouragement of commuter routes and services. The writer sees a 'gradual retreat of the car from the European city,' indeed, across the entire continent. How far such moves extend on the American continent has yet to be tested, because local governments are what determine the urban profile and so consistency is rare.
New York is doing an exceptional job up against formidable challenges. A full page in the Friday Aug. 9 New York Times print edition is headlined "Cars No Longer Welcome on Busiest Stretch of Manhattan's 14th Street." The inspiration apparently came from our northern neighbor Canada's Toronto, which tackled its busiest thoroughfare with restrictions - i.e. blocking cars on a 1.6 mile street. Streetcars could then speed up and do the job they were intended for. The average speed of buses on New York's 14th Street has been 4.5 mph, 'among the slowest of any American city,' according to The Times.
There is only so much one can do to choose Metro service in the greater Washington, D.C. area when the three area jurisdictions in charge seem always to be feuding over who owes how much and why to make the system operate. Let your representative - whoever answers to the name - know how you feel about such matters. Put feeling into your message.