Sunday, July 06 2008 @ 08:37 AM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
City officials say that the moves are part of a policy of putting the needs of its residents and businesses before those of suburban commuters and that they are trying to create a walkable, bikeable, transit-oriented metropolis.
Like New York, London, Stockholm and Portland, Ore., District officials said, the city is reclaiming its streets for the people who live there. With billions of dollars invested in the Metro system, there are plenty of ways for commuters to get into the city without bringing exhaust-spewing vehicles with them, officials said.
The city's population practically doubles on workdays because of the influx of federal and other workers. And about 15 million visitors a year come to the city, almost 75 percent by auto, according to AAA.
"This is not about being anti-car, but increasing vehicles into the District is not a sustainable strategy for the city," said Emeka C. Moneme, director of the District Department of Transportation. "We want to encourage transit use, biking and walking."
Improving pedestrian safety is a priority for the city. The District has higher pedestrian death rates than New York, Boston, Seattle, Chicago and Los Angeles, with 2.7 deaths per 100,000 people, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Pedestrian injuries rose from 586 in 2000 to 725 in 2006. District officials said the city's broad avenues create wide expanses of asphalt that make it difficult or intimidating for pedestrians to cross.
[Note: Baltimore pedestrian death rate is 2.5 and 856 injuries in 2006]