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Thread: Walking or Biking Instead

  1. #1
         
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    Walking or Biking Instead

    I read an article in The Austin American-Statesman (originally in NYT or Wash. Post??) recently about combating obesity. I've never been to Europe, but the article described a situation in England that I think sounds like it would be worth a try.

    Apparently London charges vehicles to drive in the inner-city. The reasons they publicly announce in doing this are to decrease traffic, make it more ped. friendly and increase revenue. The REAL reason they've done this, according to the article is to "encourage" people to get off their asses and walk or bike (pardon) for health...

    I'm wondering if this strategy has been implemented anywhere else specifically in the US and has it worked to decrease obesity? Would the local lazies just avoid the area altogether- or would the public transport systems make up for the lack of private vehivles?

    Comments? Witness accounts?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    The last time I was in London, the traffic in the financial district was attrocious. While I'm sure the health benefits may have been touted (both in terms of exercise and reduced emissions)in order to get the plan approved, I'm sure the driving force was reducing congestion.

    Could it work here? Perhaps. But only in the worst of the worst situations. It would never work in Milwaukee - absent of construction related congestion, we hardly even have a defineable rush hour.

  3. #3
         
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    "worst of the worst" being places like New York and Chicago I suppose?

    What is the population of Milwaukee?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    The only traffic experience I have first hand that I would call worst of the worst would be Boston.

    Milwaukee metro is about a million plus or minus.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    If implemented here I think you just have more and more cases of the local fire department having to remove people from their houses (because they are too fat to get out). If ever, a reason to be a couch potatoe, not being allowed to drive is a great one for couch potatoes to use.

  6. #6

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    My guess is that an impact fee to get into the CBD of a major American city would never work in most cases. For such a policy to work, I'd think a metro area would have to have a really dominant downtown and little similar activity elsewhere. Most US cities are too "polycentric" for such a policy. It might work in New York and maybe Chicago, but there are too many jobs and destinations outside the CBD in most other cities for it to be feasible.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian bocian's avatar
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    I think it has worked well in London - although the "scooter" people have raised hell downtown, and I hear parking is hell right on the fringes of the toll zone.
    I think it might work well in Manhattan, for one, but don't you have to pay toll charges to drive into Manhattan on any of its bridges already?
    In Boston it might work well - downtown is compact and well-defined by either neighborhood buffers or the highways and Charles River..

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