Louisville roads may soon see more tiny cars zipping around town. Governor Beshear has signed an executive order allowing use of low-speed electric vehicles on roads. Spurred in part by rising gas costs the move toward more varied and environmentally sustainable transportation options is a good one. Kentucky residents, and the South in general, already spend more of their personal incomes on gas than the rest on the country.
Each Commonwealth resident spends on average $211 on gas a month at current prices (that’s almost eight percent of monthly income!). That makes us 9th worst in the nation (meanwhile, Kentucky ranks 38th in efforts to change our dependence on oil). Imagine having a little more cash to spend on the local economy. Dine out more each month or enjoy a ballgame at Slugger Field.
While these new, slower vehicles may not find their way onto the Interstate system (the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet must draft rules concerning their use), they will go a long way toward making city streets more hospitable. Slower speeds raise pedestrian and bicycle safety and fewer fumes help us all breathe easier.
The City of Shelbyville has taken this concept to a more extreme level. The City Council has taken up the idea of allowing electric golf carts to use city streets. Modeled after a plan in place in Phoenix, AZ, Shelbyville hopes to alleviate fuel costs for common errands and boost downtown business at the same time. How do you see the role of city streets in the future changing? As the city grows, becomes more urban and less auto-centric, how will speed and auto size affect the public landscape? Sound off in the comments.