Saturday, March 14, 2015

Bike Lanes, with bonus article on "The Psychology of NO"

The Complete Business Case for Converting Street Parking Into Bike Lanes

San Francisco is moving forward with a plan to add protected bike lanes on Polk Street, one of the busiest
cycling corridors in the city, but the decision didn't come easy. The San Francisco Examiner reports
that the plan endured about 2.5 years of debate. At the center of the dispute was an objection to the loss
of on-street parking spaces by local merchants.




 The psychology of 'no:' Vancouver residents poised to make a decision that will corrode their happiness

Residents of Metro Vancouver are about to participate en masse in a fascinating behavioral experiment. If you care about
 happiness in cities, you should pay attention to the results, because this kind of experiment is being repeated in cities
across the continent. 

In the 2013 election campaign, B.C. Premier Christie Clark pledged Metro Vancouver would not be taxed in new ways
for transportation without getting a chance to vote on it. The region's mayors were given a few months to whip up a
transportation plan and put it to voters. Now it's decision time. This week, residents will begin voting in a plebiscite
on whether to add half a cent to the provincial sales tax to help fund massive transit and road improvements.

To some, this seems to be great news: citizens asked to participate in a decision that will have a huge effect on their
future well-being. The bad news is, according to recent insights in psychology, most people will likely get this decision
dead wrong. The sad truth is, we can be absolutely awful at making decisions that affect our long-term happiness.

Recent work by psychologists has charted a set of predictable cognitive errors that lead us to mistakes like eating too
much junk food, or saving too little for retirement. These quirks lead us to make similarly predictable errors when deciding
where to live, how to live, how to move, and even how to build our cities. By most measures, a "No" result in the plebiscite
will make the average person poorer, sicker, less free, more frustrated and, yes, less happy.

The Vancouver transit vote is likely to prove psychologists correct again. By most measures, a "No" result in the plebiscite
will make the average person poorer, sicker, less free, more frustrated and, yes, less happy in the long run. Yet this is exactly
where the polls show the city is headed.

Read the entire article by Charles Montgomery

Charles Montgomery's website              Princeton U's Daniel Kahneman is cited in the article. His website is here.

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