The other day the Washington Post ran a preposterous article deeming a few commonsense measures taken by the Fenty administration to serve the interests of people live, work, and pay taxes in the District of Columbia a "war against workers who drive into the city." Yesterday, Megan McArdle signed on as a war supporter.
Today, I think I'd like to offer some suggestions in case the Fenty administration decides to prosecute the war more vigorously. For one thing, all the reversible-lane (lanes that run inbound during the morning rush hour and outbound during the afternoon rush hour) streets should be made into regular streets. The SE Freeway should be turned into a boulevard, as should the part of 295 that runs east from the Air Force and Naval bases (this will allow the eventual construction of a nice Anacostia riverfront). The stretch of New York Avenue running east from North Capitol Street to the border should be made into a more normal city street rather than a quasi-highway as should the stretch of North Capitol Street running north from Michigan Avenue.
Major thoroughfares like Connecticut Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, Rhode Island Avenue, H Street, 16th Street should have either parking or traffic lanes removed to make way for dedicated bus lanes that may lay the groundwork for eventual light rail. Everyplace throughout the central city that's currently painted for diagonal or perpendicular parking should be put to parallel parking with the space freed up dedicated to sidewalk, green space, bike lanes, something. Developers and landowners should be freed from any regulatory mandate to build parking lots or garages (one assumes most will still want to provide some parking that may or may not be free).
With less space dedicated to moving and parking private cars there will, of course, be a scarcity problem which should be ameliorated by congestion pricing and performance parking. Revenue thereby generated can go to enhance Metro and Metrobus service.
Photo by Flickr user Alex Massie used under a Creative Commons license
Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.