In Italy, they call it a Zone of Traffic Limitation (ZTL).
Cities like Florence decide to limit cars in certain areas that are historic or highly congested. They then set up zones where you can’t drive unless you have certain license plate. Driving access is preserved for residents, freight trucks delivering goods and taxi services. But surveillance cameras keep an eye out for other violators, who face stiff fines.
What you get is an area with far less traffic that’s far more enjoyable to be in.
A few weeks ago, Danny Westneat at the Seattle Times posed the interesting question – could it work here?
Imagine with me, if you will, strolling down streets that are nearly devoid of cars in the traffic-clogged Dunwoody-Perimeter Mall or Midtown Atlanta area. Office workers could walk to lunch without inhaling copious exhaust or fear of getting mowed over by an errant SUV.
Some people (Ok, probably most people. Ok, probably even me.) would fume over having to park a longer distance from work or use public transportation.
It’s an interesting idea, though. One that might be tailored to work in a narrow set of circumstances – say on a single street, only during certain hours of the day, or on certain days of the week.
After all, we look to the Italians for food, wine and style. Why not transportation policy?