At the risk of making this blog too Seattle-centric, I thought I’d point out this nifty article in today’s Post-Intelligencer about the city’s efforts to promote alternatives to the car—everything from walking to biking to transit to ride sharing to van pools. And there’s ample reason to be concerned about rising car traffic, particularly downtown—not just on environmental grounds, but on financial ones. Cars, you see, take up lots of space in a crowded city; and storing them all is expensive, and takes up real estate that could be put to far better uses. From the article:
In the next 19 years, the city expects 22,000 new housing units and 50,000 new jobs.
Assuming the same percentage of people continued driving alone to work, the city estimates it would have to build 20 city blocks of 10-story parking garages downtown.
That’s a lot of parking.
Also note the upside-down state of transportation finances. Funding for the bus system is nowhere near where it needs to be to accomodate all the new riders the city is hoping for. And meanwhile, city officials still seem hell-bent on spending billions for roads, some of which will just make downtown’s car problems worse. Obviously, the city deserves a lot of credit for its low-cost efforts to promote alternatives to the car; but in the bigger picture, you have to wonder if they’ve got their priorities straight.