Eric Holthaus, writing for The Correspondent:
Cars are expensive, deadly, and take up a huge amount of space. By some estimates, roads and parking lots take up more than half of urban areas. Just think of what we could do with all that space if we got back to basics and loudly repeated this basic truth: streets should be for moving people, not cars.
Since the global coronavirus lockdown began, car use has plummeted worldwide. In the car-centric United States, usage has plunged by more than 70%, back to levels last seen in the 1990s. People are beginning to see what their streets look like, car-free. [emphasis added]
In Britain and Berlin, many car lanes have been repurposed to widen bike lanes during the pandemic, to give cyclists some distance, and to keep them from switching back to cars. Germany has seen a boom in cycling and bike-buying. And New York has turned curbside parking spots into ad-hoc outdoor dining areas to keep restaurants open.
Even before the pandemic, cities like Paris and Barcelona have been prioritizing people over cars, pedestrianizing roads, and more.
Could this be the tipping point where cars are finally forced out of our cities? Where we start to reclaim that wasted 50% of space that would be better used for parks, housing, or just plain old places to walk and hang out?
Cars have been a blight for decades, but now the general public is realizing that they’re far from essential in cities, and that the space they use is far too valuable to be wasted on ubiquitous parking, and unrestricted access.