Suburban sprawl can be blamed for most of today’s problems. “Since World War II, per capita ownership of automobiles in the Unites States has more than doubled…Increases in automobile ownership have gone hand in hand with the process of suburbanization, each reinforcing the other” (Levy 259).
But there has been many forces that have tried to drive the automobile off the maps.
Of course taking the car out of the picture completely is no where near possible in today’s society, but with the correct transportation planning for New Jersey I feel the number of cars on the road can be slimmed. Although New Jersey is mostly filled with highways, there are many opportunities for transportation planners to try and limit the amount of cars on the road – like sharing the street.
There are many cities in New Jersey like Jersey City and Hoboken that have incorporated other modes of transportation into the design of their town. Jersey City for example has incorporated the PATH and the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail into the town design in order to get the car off the road and allow for a more direct mode of transportation throughout the area. The city has also implemented bike lanes to promote biking, the ferry to allow access to “to NYC, or just want to take in the sights of the harbor,” and buses (www.cityofjerseycity.com).
Hoboken too, has many other modes of transportation other than just the automobile. Hoboken is “one of the most walkable cities in America! [They have] made it so easy to live car-free and still have access to a car when [a resident] needs one. Hoboken encourages all residents to consider living car-free by providing Corner Cars…and discounts to residents for longer term car rentals, and of course Hoboken is incredibly easy to get around without a car since we have an excellent community shuttle system called “The Hop”, as well as bicycle lanes and parking all around the city” (hobokennj.gov).
If two cities in New Jersey have accomplished such a task, why can’t others feed off this? This doesn’t have to be a large-scale transportation planning process that requires a long four step process mentioned in John Levy’s Contemporary Urban Planning. If each town took the initiative to implement local transportation specifically for their own city, it would result in taking the automobile off the road for small trips to the drug store, coffee shop, dry cleaners, etc. Hopefully with Question Two from the election resulting in the vote YES, it will allow for more money, time, and care to go into Transportation Planning and New Jersey’s terrible roads and bridges.
With this idea, to implement small scale transportation within individual towns, it will not result in taking the automobile completely off the streets, but it will lessen the amount of cars on the road. Hopefully this can lead to greater outcomes, but before we go big we must start small.
Levy, John M. Contemporary Urban Planning. 10th ed. New York: Routledge, 2013. Print.