Challenging the Primacy of the Automobile

If perhaps you hadn’t noticed, Boston has been slowly moving toward dropping the automobile as the end-all and be-all of urban transportation. Three news stories this week alone help, em, drive that home.

First, T ridership is at an all-time high. According to a report in the Boston Globe, 1.35 million people ride the T on an average weekday. MBTA officials attribute this to a combination of an improving economy (more people have jobs they need to get to) and high gas prices (which means people don’t want to drive to those jobs).

Second, U.S. Senators opposed a measure for the third time in less than two months to route spending on “transportation enhancement” projects away from bike and walking paths. Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown joined 66 of their colleagues against the legislation. Of the 26 bike- and walking-related enhancement projects in the state, three are within Boston’s city limits, including the South Bay Harbor Trail ($480,000), sidewalk and lighting along Route 99 ($625,500), and the Dorchester Ave. Streetscape ($3.4 million).

Third, along Dorchester Ave. those improvements are starting to appear. Just today, is reporting new bike lanes heading north from Glover’s Corner.

Add that to the Hubway’s runaway success, and the mounting evidence is there: Cars may soon lose top dog status on the Hub’s streets.