In the afternoons, when Reasons to be Cheerful’s editors head home for the evening — by subway, by bike or on foot, like most New Yorkers — here’s what we often see: a stagnant river of gridlocked cars stretching down every avenue and street, their drivers trying in vain to get out of the city and leaning on their horns in the meantime.

This is the transportation crisis that New York’s congestion pricing plan was designed to confront. Its primary mechanism — a $15 charge for driving into Manhattan below 60th Street — would have reduced traffic by an estimated 17 percent while funneling $1 billion in annual revenues to the city’s transit system, which is desperate for cash for maintenance and upgrades.

When New York’s governor suddenly shelved the plan this week, the state lost a generational chance to finally implement meaningful fixes to both its subways and its streets.

And we at Reasons to be Cheerful nearly lost something, too: A special series we’d been working on about smart ways cities are solving the problems caused by cars. The plan was to publish the series in a few weeks, when New York’s congestion pricing went into effect. Alas, that moment is now “indefinitely” (many fear permanently) postponed.

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But we didn’t want the death of one great idea to cause the demise of another. So we’re running our series anyway, repurposed to show New Yorkers the good ideas that could have been. Today, we’re publishing a story by Eric Krebs on how congestion pricing, and the benefits it has spawned, has won the hearts of the cities that have embraced it, from Stockholm to Singapore. On Monday, we’ll publish a piece by Peter Yeung about how London has used some simple techniques to create “low-traffic” neighborhoods, where cars are discouraged and walking and cycling rates have since surged. And on Tuesday, we’ll publish a story by Kaja Seruga about how some European cities are slowing down drivers, making their streets safer and their neighborhoods more livable.

These stories are a reminder that, while New York’s transportation woes may be one step further from being solved, workable, evidence-based solutions are out there. To set them in motion, all a city needs is the willingness to give them a try — and then, to give them a chance to work before pulling the plug.