How about letting local neighborhoods charge tolls on outside drivers for the use of their immediate streets?
It is now technologically fully feasible with EZ passes or other devices. This idea occurred to me as I was thinking about a recent controversy in Montgomery County, Maryland over neighborhood speed bumps (or “speed humps” as they are sometimes called).
Speed bumps in Montgomery County, like much of the rest of the country, have proliferated — now totaling 1,200, amounting to one bump per 2.2 miles of road. While many neighborhoods like them, they infuriate others. They also pose problems for fire and other emergency vehicles. In 1998, responding to rising complaints, Montgomery County initiated a new policy to make it more difficult to use speed bumps. Since then, 388 out of 653 proposed speed bumps have been approved.
In this case, a request for bumps was made by the Springfield Civic Association and involves a section of Cromwell Drive in Bethesda that has become popular with harried commuters. A vote of the 38 households directly involved would be required, and approval would require an affirmative 80 percent supermajority.
Other neighbors who live close by — but not directly on Cromwell Drive — are protesting. They find speed bumps annoying and time consuming. Under Montgomery County policy, such adjoining neighbors can have a say only if they are “landlocked,” having no other way to reach their homes other than using Cromwell Drive. Technically, 50 percent of landlocked neighbors must also approve but Montgomery County in practice almost always ignores this requirement. Continue reading