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Old 01-16-2013, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Cincinnati
4,007 posts, read 4,847,552 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hensleya1 View Post
Of course, urban boosters hate development and progress and making money, if it's outside the core city.
Since I have been accused of being an "urban booster" before, please allow me to respond for those of who are pro-urban.

--- We don't hate development and progress and making money, if it's outside the core city. We hate development that is at the expense of the core city. History is replete with examples that have decimated American cities.

Personally, I am tired of people being divisive when discussing various topics and seeking to divide people into categories, and encampments. Nothing but arguments follow. Not sure why you can't discuss a topic without being divisive, but I am at least calling it out on the point of the foul.
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:31 PM
 
Location: Mexico City, formerly Columbus, Ohio
12,800 posts, read 12,841,756 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hensleya1 View Post
Hi kjbrill--

Disagree. So long as the highway maintains a sufficient number of thru lanes, there shouldn't be any problem with more exits and interchanges. It's proven that development - at the very least a couple gas stations or chain restaurants - will spring up near highway exits, providing much needed tax dollars and progress and money not only to the local burbs, but also the workers who end up there.

Of course, urban boosters hate development and progress and making money, if it's outside the core city.

If it were up to me, I-71 would be upgraded to three lanes in each direction clear up to Columbus, I-70 west of Springfield would be fast-tracked to be upgraded to three lanes in each direction (currently slated to be done in the late 2030's), and a minimum of four thru lanes inside of I-275 on both 71 and 75 in Cincinnati.

This would do wonders to alleviate traffic congestion, but the urban boosters here might have a coronary at the thought of free and uncongested movement between the city and the suburbs.
You realize of course that all that "development" is highly subsidized and is extremely costly to infrastructure budgets, right? Why do you think ODOT never has enough money to finish needed projects? There are far too many roads to nowhere that cater to that single gas station and McDonald's. The paltry amount of taxes collected from these businesses almost always pales in comparison to the cost just to build and maintain the roads to them. All this does is promote useles, costly sprawl and it ends up costing everyone more in the long run. It's not about hating development outside of the city, but not all development is actually positive. People have the right to live 50 miles from a city center, but I'm not sure why you deserve a superhighway to your doorstep. Suburbanites and rural dwellers shouldn't expect the same level of convenience that exists closer to cities, yet policy and expectations are exactly that, and they're destroying all hope of financial responsibility and security.

BTW, when highways, or really any roads at all, are widened to alleviate traffic, it is almost always a very temporary fix because more people end up driving on these roads, eliminating the traffic relieving measure in a fairly short time. So essentially, millions (or billions) of dollars are spent to end up with the exact same problem you started with. You don't fix auto traffic by building more roads, you provide alternatives to driving and actually removing cars from the road. This is the only real way to reduce congestion, a fact that many people seem to not have learned yet despite 60 years of doing the same thing, including every last person running ODOT.
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Beavercreek, OH
2,194 posts, read 3,031,438 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohiogirl81 View Post
There really aren't a lot of backups on I-71 between south of Columbus and Kings Island . The annoying backups were on I-71 between Columbus and Cleveland, but that stretch became three lanes a few years ago.
Hi Ohiogirl81--

IIRC there's already a stretch near mile marker 65 where 71 meets with 35 where it's three lanes in both directions for seemingly no reason, because it quickly drops back to two lanes in each direction after you pass the exit?

I'm just thinking 30-50 years in the future when acquiring the right of way to build the road may be far more expensive than it is currently due to continuing growth of the suburbs.



Which does bring me somewhat back to my earlier post - a lot of the urban boosters will have coronaries at what I would envision in "my world" of transportation. I'm not only looking at the traffic demands of today. I'd like to have a system built that will handle growing loads of traffic for decades to come (although you could fairly make a case that even four thru lanes on I-75 through Cincinnati would be insufficient before long).

Given that we already have a large capital stock - that is, stock of roads already built, I would have no issue with raising gasoline taxes to bring them in line with today's demands of road construction and maintenance. Of course, I would need some assurance that the Beltway politicians don't use it as a chance to dip their sticky fingers into the kitty and raid the ROAD fund for anything other than... ahem, roads.
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:34 PM
 
Location: "Daytonnati"
4,245 posts, read 5,782,913 times
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Getting back to the history of the limited access highway system.

I things are a bit more complex than meets the eye.

Two things were going on:

1. The desire to build long-distance high speed highways (The Inter-regional, later interstate, system)

2. Urban expressways, which to some degree were being planned independentaly of the interestate system.

The urban expressways were concieved two ways.
a. To allieviate congestion and speed cross-town traffic
b. To connect the downtown with the outlying areas.

I don't know enough about freeway planning in Cincy, but in Dayton what later became I-75 was planned during WWII as a way to speed traffic through the city. The same with US 35...this was concieved as a smiliar crosstown expressway.

Later planning called for radial freeways. Only two of these were built.

But one can see that if the planning is for these freeways to converge in or near the downtown area tons of land will have to be taken for interchanges. The original planning didnt envision interchanges this elaborate, or that these crosstown highways would be true limited access or totally limited access.

The beltway concept is the one I have problems understanding, in that it seems to use these you go out of your way, and they only make sense if there is massive congestion on the limited access freeways as they interchange in the heart of the city...it's almost as if there was a planning assumption that the expressways would be congested at center city interchanges and the beltways were then added to the interstate concept.

So I think the reason freeways cut through cities here in the US (vs the way they work in Germany, where they interchange outside of cities) was sort of a convergence of two different planning intentions, solving different problems.
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:40 PM
 
Location: Mason, OH
9,259 posts, read 13,426,307 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrtechno View Post
You have 3.5 interchanges on 71 within 6 miles driving of the center of Mason according to Google Maps. If that isn't in the Mason area, I don't know what is. Now which small towns between Columbus and Cincinnati should not have gotten an interchange near them.
Who cannot count? You say 3.5 interchanges on I-71. Please enumerate them. And since when does 6 miles of the center of Mason identify Mason, since Mason is only 18 miles square in area, roughly 4 miles on a side or less than 3 miles from the center to the tips.

So let's count them.

The Kings Mill Rd/Kings Island/Mason interchange at the north end of Kings Island. Prior to Kings Island this was it. It is a full interchange, meaning there are exit/entrance ramps for both north and south bound traffic on I-71.

The Western Row Rd/Kings Island interchange at the south end of Kings Island. This was specifically constructed to serve Kings Island traffic from Cincinnati. It is a half interchange which you can get the idea of its purpose since it dumps you right onto Kings Island drive across the front of the park. This is used more by residents of Mason since the city constructed the expanded Tylersville Rd. But it is strictly traffic to/from Cincinnati since there are no ramps for traffic from the north side of I-71.

The Fields Ertel/Mason Montgomery Rd interchange south of Mason. This is a full interchange but all of the traffic is in Deerfield Township, not Mason. I live in Mason and avoid this interchange like the plague. The majority of the traffic comes from Landen, Symmes Township and such environs. If you call it a Mason interchange you will **** off the people in Deerfield Township to no end.

So I may stretch there are 2-1/2 interchanges on I-71 in the vicinity of Mason. But where is the 3rd one? And anyone living in Mason never dreams of taking the Fields Ertel/Mason Montgomery interchange, rather take a beating.
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:40 PM
 
Location: Cincinnati
4,007 posts, read 4,847,552 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hensleya1 View Post
I would envision in "my world" of transportation.
Thankfully what you envision is only a sordid fantasy.
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Beavercreek, OH
2,194 posts, read 3,031,438 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbcmh81 View Post
You realize of course that all that "development" is highly subsidized and is extremely costly to infrastructure budgets, right? Why do you think ODOT never has enough money to finish needed projects? There are far too many roads to nowhere that cater to that single gas station and McDonald's. The paltry amount of taxes collected from these businesses almost always pales in comparison to the cost just to build and maintain the roads to them.
Hi jcbmh81--

I'm not talking about roads and bridges to nowhere. That's the flaw I'm seeing in your first argument about blowing millions of dollars to build a road and ramp just to serve that McDonalds and single gas station. That would be an act of lunacy, and there's no reason to build a road where traffic demands don't warrant it. The billions I would spend would be upgrading the throughput of existing routes, and in (most) suburban and exurban cases, a heck of a lot more than a single gas station goes near an exit.

I would bet the Cincinnati Premium Outlets (exit 29 on 75) provides a fine return on the initial investment. Likewise with all the development in West Chester - off Tylersville, Cin-Day, and Union Centre - none of which would have been possible without that road.

I'm not advocating blasting thousands of miles of superhighways crisscrossing Ohio, with an exit ramp every mile and a single fast food joint at each exit. But I do believe in reducing congestion and travel times, in addition to looking towards future needs.


Quote:
It's not about hating development outside of the city, but not all development is actually positive. People have the right to live 50 miles from a city center, but I'm not sure why you deserve a superhighway to your doorstep.
By fighting the upgrade of highways, a lot of the urban boosters do precisely that - perhaps they think if they make it difficult enough to get into the city, the suburban resident will have no choice but to relocate back into the city?


Quote:
Suburbanites and rural dwellers shouldn't expect the same level of convenience that exists closer to cities
Why not? Achieving an acceptable level of convenience is exactly the kind of development and progress that we need more.



Quote:
BTW, when highways, or really any roads at all, are widened to alleviate traffic, it is almost always a very temporary fix because more people end up driving on these roads, eliminating the traffic relieving measure in a fairly short time. So essentially, millions (or billions) of dollars are spent to end up with the exact same problem you started with. You don't fix auto traffic by building more roads, you provide alternatives to driving and actually removing cars from the road. This is the only real way to reduce congestion, a fact that many people seem to not have learned yet despite 60 years of doing the same thing, including every last person running ODOT.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard this argument, I could comfortably fly to Hawaii and retire early. The reason why a road becomes clogged almost immediately after construction is complete because of the sheer amount of time it takes to get any road work done.

The same urban boosters come out in force against upgrading the road, holding it up with litigation and protests. Environmental studies come up, impact studies, the developer is forced to engage in mitigating actions. Then there's fights over acquiring the right of way, securing the funding, and then finally building the road itself which can take years as you continually reroute existing traffic around the section you're working on.

It could be decades before something's complete. Meanwhile, the metro area hasn't stopped changing during those decades. It's continued to grow and change. Of course by then the road isn't going to meet the demand.

So the urban boosters declare victory, saying the road didn't fix the problem. Of course it didn't - they held it up so long that the proposed solution became insufficient, necessitating yet another upgrade almost immediately.

Edit: How long before I-75 will be upgraded to four lanes in the Thru the Valley project? I just searched and they say construction will -begin- in 2014, continuing until at least 2020. And if you can show me a road project that ever finished on schedule, then show me. We're looking at mid-2020's to be honest here.

Proves my point exactly. If Butler County continues to grow at 10-15% per decade, then four lanes will be insufficient by then. And the urban boosters will say that we wasted billions on expanding I-75 because traffic never improved.

Or we could fast-track I-75 construction with some Federal dollars, have it done in a few years, and not have to worry about it for a couple decades.

Last edited by hensleya1; 01-16-2013 at 01:56 PM..
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:20 PM
 
3,974 posts, read 5,562,808 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ram2 View Post
When is Ohio going to build an Interstate connecting Toledo directly with Columbus?
Probably never.
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:20 PM
 
800 posts, read 701,880 times
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hensley, put on your thinking cap.

A four lane expressway can't carry twice as many vehicles as a two lane expressway. There is a law of diminishing returns for each additional lane. This is not a fixed figure because external factors like lane width, hills and curves, and especially interchange configuration all factor in.

The huge I-75 rebuild is only adding one lane in each direction but it will rebuild every interchange in a modern configuration and will eliminate some of the hills. You can already see it at Mitchell Ave. where the new interchange is a few feet higher. This might not seem like much, but the stop-and-go phenomenon commonly seen on I-75 is due to the frequent rises and dips. Shaving just a few feet off these improves sightlines which improves safety and speed.

So after the dust settles, what happens? All the people who had been taking alternative routes, or taking the bus, or more likely leaving for work earlier can now go on I-75 and go right at rush hour. This means the highway quickly becomes just as congested as before. So soon some people must retreat back to how they were doing things before.

All this completely ignores the issue of parking. Downtown Cincinnati has added thousands of off-street parking spaces in the last 10 years. The huge Banks garage, new Washington Park garage, new garage at Queen City Square, etc. Parking garage spaces cost about $30,000 each for above ground and close to $50,000 for below ground.

Buses and a rail system completely avoid this problem by moving parking to cheap park & ride lots or ideally from a walkable neighborhood where the person can simply walk to the station or is perhaps dropped off by a relative.

New York City has a huge subway system and because of it they have a near total ban on construction of new parking garages. This keeps historic buildings safe from the crap that goes on here. The new Hudson Yards development will be as big as all of Downtown Cincinnati but will only have 1/4 the parking. People will commute there either by walking from Penn Station or by a new subway station currently under construction.
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Mexico City, formerly Columbus, Ohio
12,800 posts, read 12,841,756 times
Reputation: 5483
Quote:
Originally Posted by hensleya1 View Post
Hi jcbmh81--

I'm not talking about roads and bridges to nowhere. That's the flaw I'm seeing in your first argument about blowing millions of dollars to build a road and ramp just to serve that McDonalds and single gas station. That would be an act of lunacy, and there's no reason to build a road where traffic demands don't warrant it. The billions I would spend would be upgrading the throughput of existing routes, and in (most) suburban and exurban cases, a heck of a lot more than a single gas station goes near an exit.

I was making a point, not literally suggesting that roads are built exclusively to serve a fast food restaurant. Suburban development, however, is the most subsidized form at the federal, state and local levels by FAR. It's not even close. And all that suburban development, with it's low-level density, has no hope of ever paying for all that infrastructure and maintenance. The 1950s-era American Dream of single-family tract homes built in corn fields just isn't economically feasible anymore (not that it ever really was).

I would bet the Cincinnati Premium Outlets (exit 29 on 75) provides a fine return on the initial investment. Likewise with all the development in West Chester - off Tylersville, Cin-Day, and Union Centre - none of which would have been possible without that road.

There may be exceptions, but it would be far from the rule. There have been plenty of studies done on this topic that universally suggest that it's a terrible way to build, not only roads, but anything else. And your assumption that it all must pay for itself sounds like wishful thinking based on outdated viewpoints.

I'm not advocating blasting thousands of miles of superhighways crisscrossing Ohio, with an exit ramp every mile and a single fast food joint at each exit. But I do believe in reducing congestion and travel times, in addition to looking towards future needs.

Current younger generations clearly have much less motivation to even own cars, let alone drive everywhere. They're just not enamored with cars as older generations were and it's no longer the status symbol it used to be. So while you plan for a future with ever-increasing car use, the reality on the ground is going in the opposite direction. People will drive if they have to, of course, but that's not a strong case for the future of auto-centric development.

By fighting the upgrade of highways, a lot of the urban boosters do precisely that - perhaps they think if they make it difficult enough to get into the city, the suburban resident will have no choice but to relocate back into the city?

No, I think your understanding of their objections is completely wrong. They object to terrible, costly development, regardless of where its taking place. The fact is, though, that that kind of development is most often associated with the suburbs/exurbs, so that tends to be the focus of their ire.
Suburbia can and always will exist. I don't think that most urban people truly believe that everyone is coming back to the city, and it's likely impossible that that could happen anyway. That doesn't mean it can't be built in a better way that doesn't waste resources, including open land itself.

Why not? Achieving an acceptable level of convenience is exactly the kind of development and progress that we need more.

If I moved to the wilds of Alaska, why then would I expect to have convenient shopping and a plethora of transportation and other infrastructure options from my doorstep? Extreme example, but if you want to live in the country, why would you expect city level convenience? Don't you move out there to escape the city to begin with? Further, why should that kind of development be subsidized at the expense of development that is actually far more likely to pay for itself?

If I had a dollar for every time I heard this argument, I could comfortably fly to Hawaii and retire early. The reason why a road becomes clogged almost immediately after construction is complete because of the sheer amount of time it takes to get any road work done.

That's complete nonsense. First, why wouldn't engineers plan for natural traffic increases over the time of construction, if not many years beyond that? They, of course, would and do, so to suggest that natural increase is the cause of this congestion is kind of silly and unrealistic. It's been documented countless times, however, that all those people avoiding the roadway because of congestion will now be more inclined to use it if they think it's no longer an issue... inadvertantly contributing to the same problem. Engineers can plan for certain things, like expected population growth and natural increase in use, but they can't always build for human behavior.

The same urban boosters come out in force against upgrading the road, holding it up with litigation and protests. Environmental studies come up, impact studies, the developer is forced to engage in mitigating actions. Then there's fights over acquiring the right of way, securing the funding, and then finally building the road itself which can take years as you continually reroute existing traffic around the section you're working on.

Environmental and impact studies would be part of the process even if not a single "urban booster" raised any issues. These are federal and state requirements, not the whims of some hipster down at the organic coffee shop. Same with right of way. Funding, ironically, is often an issue because of the development problems already discussed... too much infrastructure with too little return. That tends to reduce the pot of available funds.

It could be decades before something's complete. Meanwhile, the metro area hasn't stopped changing during those decades. It's continued to grow and change. Of course by then the road isn't going to meet the demand.

If you're talking about building an outerbelt or a significant highway, it might take many years to complete, but you give far too much credit for that to people who have nothing to do with it. And most projects just aren't that grand in scale, anyway. Planning typically takes much longer than construction in most cases.

So the urban boosters declare victory, saying the road didn't fix the problem. Of course it didn't - they held it up so long that the proposed solution became insufficient, necessitating yet another upgrade almost immediately.
Not really. It's a convenient theory, though.
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