June 28, 2011
It's fairly well established that building and building road and highway infrastructure induces demand and makes life marginally worse for many motorists. But it's counter-intuitive to think that all this spending is bad for the people it purports to benefit, so it's an easy political sell.
A similar point could be made about parking fees and tolls. These are always spun as being anti-motorist, even if they improve efficiency for the people who use them. Nobody wants to pay for something that they could get for free - I get that. Sometimes, though, you just can't get something for nothing.
Ultimately, this comes back to the belief that people subscribe to a single transportation ideology and rarely or never deviates from it. If a local government closes a street and makes it exclusively for pedestrians, that's bad for drivers and great for walkers. But what makes someone a driver or a walker? Does a person who drives most places never walk? Does a person who walks most places never drive?
I often see and hear comments like, "I would walk/bike more if it were safer or easier or more convenient." So it's reasonable to believe there's at least some interest in these things, even among people who literally drive everywhere.