I thought it'd be helpful to explain what motivates my work in A/B Street. These are just my personal values; I don't intend to make a careful argument about these here. In no particular order:
Transparency and reproducibility: if city government uses data, modeling, or simulation to inform a decision affecting the general public, then anybody ought to be able to repeat that analysis.
- This means code and data should be open.
- Businesses like Sidewalk Lab's Replica and Remix still need to generate income, but it's unclear why governments use taxes to pay for something only they see.
- Decision making should be documented clearly. Why were the 35th Ave bike lanes scrapped? Was the amount of on-street parking on nearby residential roads factored in? Was there analysis of how trip time is impacted by parking in the neighborhood and walking a few blocks to a business on the arterial?
- I'm personally inspired by approaches like vTaiwan and PDIS
Accessibility leads to participation: There's overhead to taking small ideas to advocacy groups or inconveniently timed public meetings. If the planning process is easier to interact with, more people will participate.
- Seattle's Your Voice, Your Choice program is maybe an example of this
Short-term changes: ST3 is exciting, but 2040 isn't close. There are much cheaper changes that can be implemented sooner.
- Most of the edits in A/B Street are inspired by tactical urbanism; they could be prototyped with signs and paint.
The US is too dependent on cars: This has an unacceptable impact on the environment. Even ignoring that, many cities are out of room to build more roads. We can't keep scaling population like this.
Autonomous vehicles will NOT save the day: They can squeeze more throughput out of existing infrastructure, but only up to a point. They might encourage people to move and tolerate longer commutes. Mass transit and dense land-use patterns handle population growth better.
Compromise and trade-offs: I see lots of rhetoric calling for extreme, sudden change. I don't want to ban all cars from downtown Seattle, because that's not realistic. I want to focus on immediate steps forward. I want to come up with estimates about impacting drivers by a median 3 minutes in order to save a bus route 1 minute, and to shift public discourse towards that.