I posted those last couple of items and both readers and friends chimed in with their theories of how impractical and unacceptable it would be in America. Like we are somehow a different breed of animal than Europeans. Granted, our cities have sprawled and we have less density, but that shouldn't keep us from adapting the principles. Like Gronningen, most cities have dense areas which could be segregated into auto free zones. Parking provided at a perimeter location allowing for free movement of pedestrian, wheelchair and bike traffic within specific quadrants is possible. You don't need to quarantine a whole city, just make it more convenient to use bikes. We can't forget that back in the sixties, non other than William F. Buckley,
THE icon of American conservatism,during his mayoral candidacy, proposed to ban private autos from Manhattan. It was a great idea; limit commercial vehicles to specific routes and lanes and leave the streets free for bikes and pedestrians. Our girl Dorothy forgets details like that. While we gulped up the gasoline and bought cars for their sex appeal, Europeans put the plan in place. Now they have things like The Hovenring.
No, it's not concept art. It exists.
In the meantime we are arguing the social acceptability of sharrows on a public road. We are vastly behind. I've been told that somewhere between 50-75% of our driving occurs between 5-10 miles of our homes. I know from personal experience, having lived in 7 cities, that cars are an horrible inconvenience within that radius. Bikes are more efficient and fun. Think how diverse our economy may have become in the past 50 years if we had eliminated that waste. Not only oil and autos, but diabetes and obesity have become major industries in the meantime. Hell, if it wasn't for that we could afford artisan breads and bottled unicorn farts (sorry, I just saw an episode of Portlandia, it just slipped out).
The other HUGE objection is weather. Guess what, ours is no different than the rest of the world. Check out Copenhagen Chic. Follow the adventures of these girls in Copenhagen. I know it sounds crazy, but people ride their bikes without heart rate monitors, power meters or spandex. You really don't have to hit your target heart rate every time you look at your bike. It can just be practical fun!