Greater City Providence

News & Notes

How to Create a Culture of Public Transit: The ‘Marci Option’ [The Atlantic]

Last week I went to an exurban office park in San Ramon, California where 33 percent of the park’s 30,000 workers leave their cars at home. Despite the fact that Bishop Ranch is 37 miles from San Francisco, a dozen miles from the nearest BART rail station, and home to Chevron’s corporate offices, its parking lots are surprisingly empty, and it has won many awards for transit. Marci McGuire, the program manager for the Ranch’s Transportation center, describes the attitude at the park as “a culture” where it’s cool to have a bus pass. “When you do it right, it’s like a cult,” she says.

Will London’s New Wayfinding System Get More People Walking? [This Big City]

The thinking behind the new system is to encourage more people to walk around London instead of driving or using already overcrowded public transport. By catching people at key decision points – such as tube stations – and providing them with the right information on walking times and local attractions, it is hoped that they will choose to walk.

What to Call the Gas Tax: Not Just Semantics [Governing]

I went to the grocery store today and bought an apple. While eating it, I complained that proceeds from the sales tax I paid were used for other things than agricultural support programs.

This made-up anecdote is similar to how highway advocates, who I’ll call “road firsters,” talk about the gas tax, which they erroneously label a “user fee.” Road firsters criticize the planned high-speed rail lines for needing subsidies while saying that the gas tax is actually a user fee, which means roads are self-sufficient. This is logically and factually wrong.

Free Parking or Free Markets [CATO Unbound]

Government regulation of the parking market is another great planning disaster. In this essay, I argue for a market-based solution to parking problems, drawing on the preface to the forthcoming paperback edition of my book The High Cost of Free Parking. I recommend in the book: (1) setting the right, demand-based price for curb parking, (2) returning the parking revenue to pay for local public services, and (3) removing minimum parking requirements.

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