Demonstrate public collective transportation in fun ways
My home town have had big traffic congestion problems. But they do not spend money to construct widening the roads/bridges with extra lanes. They do special events to show how different means of transportation is better, faster, more vibrant.
The city of Gävle, Sweden have got plenty of small and cheap events/methods that promote certain way of life, that will help their inhabitants make a bit smarter choices : on economy, health, ecology...
Bridge demo experiment
Photoshop exercise based upon a photo from Vladimir Melnikovs TRAFFIC-inspiration : http://www.openideo.com/profiles/1161735418/
One of these events is a yearly traffic week, or bicyclist week. (I guess it could be a part of a larger event that's sponsored by European Community, so it could exist in several cities around EU)
In the early mornings volunteers stand at bicycle lanes and play music, hand out free fruit, coffee, bread (promoting also the healthy life style). If you wear bike-helmet and
safety prism reflectors you get some additional gifts... (umbrella, rain coats, flashlights/torches/low energy light bulbs...)
And if you this week choose to ride with any city bus and show your car keys, you get to ride for free. (there are also discounts, frequent rider price reductions if you purchase bus pass for the next year or next months on these weeks)
There is also sometimes competitions, lotteries that have great prices : free bus passes for a month or a year.
(Many cities have got specially designed bikes to rent or borrow for free, with several pick-up-points in central locations, very good for if you rode the bus in the morning because of bad weather, but the weather is good in evening...)
One year the daily newspaper constructed the photo demonstration on one of the bridges over the river that cuts through the middle of the downtown. I hope that this image is clear to everyone what it means and how significant change it could make for a city in hundreds of ways of traffic congestion, exhaust emissions, commuter convenience, social vibrancy/inclusion, traffic safety, less dependency on oil/petrol fuel...
I hope that with rising fuel costs (and cmobined with rising fuel taxes and carbon emission taxes) it can be the cities bus companies that are fastest coming up with the better options, experiments on building buses that run on biofuels, electric hybrids, liquid hydrogen fuel and so on. U:S:A have claimed that they need to get rid of their dependency on foreign oil/fuel. But seems that they do not spend much money on investing in more buses, more bus routes, more
bike lanes (separated from the heavy traffic, so it improves safety and air quality)
Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and even Colombia, Venezuela have understood how important these cheap infrastructural projects are to promote everyday exercise for its inhabitans, and generally better health for all living in cities. (it also helps if cities have good combination of several ways of collective mass-transit public transports : trams, trains, subway-trains, tunnels for pedestrians under heavy trafficated roads, or walk-bridges over rivers...)
(Copenhagen have also just started to build designated "Bike-high-speed-high-ways" with a specially painted asphalt, for those that ride fast and longer distances, than the normal slow-pedallers)
And I think that any or all of these suggestions could be evolving, developing and retrofitted to any city. Make discussion sessions with cyclists in Detroit to find out where is best routes, and the most hazardous elements. And make sure to make all the frequent cyclists into official spokespersons, they are probably the best of spreading good will and the rumours about how fun and vibrant it is to ride bike for free to work. Could result in many sprouting small-businesses like bicycle-repair-shops, selling ad spaces on rental bikes... and many other entreprenurial enterprises related to changing paradigms and behaviour in the local traffic.
I appreciate that you read this, and I will appreciate your comments, feedback, small or large ideas, details and discussions, that can develop this inspiration further into many clever and environmentally friendly concepts.
(work-in-progress, written monday 21st of november)(bookmark and check for regular updates)