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Widening Congested Highways: Bigger Isn’t Better

Solving the ongoing traffic nightmare that has frustrated Southern California commuters for decades is a problem that fascinates drivers across the country.But Recent New York Times Survey A study looking at congestion found that widening highways may not be the answer to improving traffic flow.

The story focuses on the notoriously congested Los Angeles highway (Interstate 710 between downtown LA and Long Beach), but also traffic problems in New Jersey and Houston.

The bottom line is that while adding lanes will initially reduce congestion, so-called improvements “will also encourage people to drive. research showtransportation — and greenhouse gases emissions With that, we will be back often.

Houston’s Katy Freeway is a world-famous example of this. Within five years after traffic was expanded to a maximum of 26 lanes, congestion was worse than before.

Huge amounts of federal funding will be allocated over the next few years to expand the highways that President Biden will back, infrastructure packageThe Times found that some opponents thought the money would be better spent elsewhere. report Last year, the Department of Transportation said it would seek to prioritize funding for the safety of pedestrians, motorcyclists and others outside vehicles over paying for road widening. Latest NHTSA data showing rising pedestrian and motorcycle fatalitiesthat sounds like a good plan.

After more than 20 years and $60 million in design and planning, the Route 710 expansion was canceled last May. “We don’t see expansion as a strategy for Los Angeles,” the paper quoted James de la Rosa, chief planning officer for the Los Angeles County Department of Transportation.

A Times article titled “Wide highways don’t change traffic” also addresses emissions issues, air quality issues, and alternatives to public transport.Part of Times article evaluates $10.7 billion project planned to expand part new jersey turnpike, Diane Gutierrez Scacetti, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, said she supports the plan.

“Traffic jams are not safe,” says Gutierrez Scacetti. “I’m not advocating widening roads just for the sake of widening.”

But historically, commuters change their existing routes when they notice better traffic conditions elsewhere. Then the backup shifts as the flow increases.

Certainly, there are always other options for those who work remotely or have access to public transportation. refrain from driving.

As Jersey City Mayor Stephen Flopp points out at the end of his Times article, Jersey City has some of the worst air quality in the country. Widening Congested Highways: Bigger Isn’t Better

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