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Get rid of solo motorists, writes the author.

Get rid of solo motorists, writes the author.

Veronica Wong
MetroTrainBikeCarLetter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: Get Cars Out of the District

I guess I’ve had the privilege of traveling globally and have seen the best and worst of transportation woes in big cities. Here in DC, we constantly focus on crowded roads, tolls, underused Metro, bikes, scooters, accidents, and the list never ends. But there truly is one commonality between all the issues and problems they each create.

Get the cars out of the city AND get the one-driver cars off the roads.

I think traffic problems will vanish, bike accidents would decrease, and the volume of vehicles would be dramatically reduced (>50%) as people are 1) forced to use public transportation, 2) forced to have multiple people in every car, and 3) pay a significant fee for ANY car for any reason that is brought inside the Beltway. And amazingly, no studies are needed and no meetings required to implement this measure within 30 days.

Then, let’s see how the tone of your news site would change to pleasant things that we all can enjoy as we walk, bike, and Metro around our fine city.

As DC resident for years and someone who lives on Capitol Hill, I am a huge believer in getting out of the car. For 10 years, I came in by Metro from Shady Grove. It worked wonderfully and I remain a huge fan of public transportation.

What I wrote about earlier is quite simple: get out of your car! And since folks will not voluntarily do it, let’s help them make the decision that is good for all of us. You simply will be penalized for bringing your car into DC and you will pay for that privilege. Under no circumstances will anyone, at any time, be allowed to ride alone in their car in DC during peak hours. If you insist, you pay dearly. This helps every resident and worker in the city, as well as bikers and walkers and Metro and bus riders. And it is not unfair or painful; just different.

We talk about solutions and pay fortunes to avoid making what other cities have found to be a simple solution. If you bring a vehicle into the city, you pay for that privilege. We have a multi-million dollar subway and bus system; something other cities just dream of having. Let’s use it - it is not an option. This is a pain-free decision and costs literally nothing to make and implement. People can complain all they want, but it is not unfair, biased, discriminatory, or harmful to anyone in any manner. The goal is to make this city walking and commuter friendly and most of all, safe. I simply suggest taking a big step forward and let’s get it done.

Don Whittaker is a Capitol Hill resident who has lived in DC for 6 years after having commuted from Rockville for nearly 10 years. Not once in those 10 years did he bring his car into DC for work. He continues to enjoy even more transit options living inside DC than before as he works full time in the hospitality industry.

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