Getting There

Parking’s Violation

One major reason Americans drive as much as they do is that they often do not pay for parking. Since parking is never free to provide, this distortion of usual market principles creates a powerful incentive to drive, even for short trips. Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute calculates that for every dollar a motorist spends on his or her car, somebody spends 50 cents in parking costs. That’s a problem because those costs are usually hidden—and because that “somebody” paying may not be the motorist. Read More
driver validating their parking ticket

No Need For Speed

The city of Sacramento is trying to make streets safer for our children. The city has reduced speed limits to 15 mph around 115 schools and put up 400 new school zone speed-limit signs. It’s needed. The city’s press release says, “According to the Office of Traffic Safety’s collision rankings, Sacramento in 2016 had the highest rate of speed-related traffic fatalities of any city in the state. Sacramento also was the worst city in California for collisions in which a pedestrian under the age of 15 was killed or severely injured.” Read More
Two children walking in crosswalk

Sidewalk Turf Wars

There has always been competition for public rights of way, whether among horses, carriages, streetcars, people on foot, bicyclists, motorcycles or vehicles. Now the competition has heated up for the sidewalk portion of that right of way. Sidewalks are a scarce and valuable public resource, a safe haven in the urban jungle. Yet the list of people and things vying for sidewalk space is long: pedestrians (including those with disabilities and wheelchairs), vendors, bicyclists, bike racks, skateboarders, strollers, homeless people, dogs (and their waste), parked cars, trash bins, utility and light poles, bollards, street and business signs, news racks, bus shelters, tree wells, construction scaffolding, etc. Read More
rental bike on sidewalk

Big Apple Bite

New York is unlike any other city in the United States. New Yorkers get around differently, with the country’s highest level of public transit use. More than half the households don’t own a car. In Manhattan, the non-ownership rate is 75 percent. A recent trip to the Big Apple exposed me to an eclectic variety of ways to get around: walking, subways, buses, bike share, commuter rail, private auto and ferries. My wife and I passed through the nation’s two busiest rail stations, Grand Central and Penn Station. We saw the stunning Oculus, the World Trade Center terminal station for rail lines serving New Jersey. Read More

Shut Up and Drive

April was Distracted Driving Month. Missed it? Maybe you were on your cellphone. Distracted driving was in the news locally in April. Nicholas Worrell, a guru at the National Transportation Safety Board, spoke at a Sacramento State University kickoff event. He urged California to ban hands-free cellphone use while driving. No state has passed such legislation, but California could lead the way as it has on many other issues. NTSB first recommended prohibiting hands-free cellphone conversations by drivers in 2011. Read More

Time to Unplug I-5

People crave to be where water caresses land. But in our putative River City, it’s hard to enjoy, or even glimpse, the Sacramento River. We can’t satisfy the human urge to cozy up to the river because it’s cut off by Interstate 5. The massive freeway makes it difficult to economically capitalize on our proximity to Sacramento’s namesake river and the city’s birthplace. The City Council has embarked on an ambitious $47 million plan to revitalize the waterfront in Old Sacramento. The hope is that tourist-oriented shops could be transformed by the addition of a grassy park, concert venue, second-story wine bar or other amenities, enticing residents to come, linger, spend money and enjoy the riverfront. Read More
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