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Old 01-05-2015, 09:58 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lincolnian View Post
There are numerous studies that show that widening roads or increasing capacity does not solve traffic problems but makes them worse. Andres Duany had a series of videos illustrating examples from across the country about 10 years ago. They can be found on YouTube. Here is a recent piece which sums it up nicely.

The "fundamental rule" of traffic: building new roads just makes people drive more - Vox
This is asinine. I guess building more schools just makes more kids go to school? Every few years we have a school bond election to build more schools to ease overcrowded classrooms and then a few years later those new schools are full!

Here's a clue. Infrastructure must grow proportionally with population. If population was stagnant or declining you wouldn't need to expand infrastructure. But you need to expand infrastructure as long as population is expanding. You can't just "widen the road" once and be done for good.
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Old 01-05-2015, 10:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jetgraphics View Post
As population increases, it is apparent that ever widening roads is not the solution.

A far better, and scalable solution is electric traction rail. But that's a whole 'nuther tale.
Traffic congestion studies show the opposite. Widening roads has the greatest effect on reducing or mitigating congestion, building rail results in increasing congestion. The list of major cities shows a correlation over the past 30 years between population density, mass trasnit development, and traffic congestion. See Table 9.
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Old 01-05-2015, 10:13 AM
 
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Yes, adding roads does over time increase traffic. Why? Because it stimulates industry and commerce, which stimulates traffic (always) and population growth (often). I'd rather have the economic growth and opportunity than live in the stagnating cities with which some "Planners" seem to be enamored.

The facile claim that "Congestion is something we can never build our way out of" is a pathetic justification for doing nothing and denies that we can take always concrete (pun intended) steps to at least reduce congestion, which, like cleaning one's home, is an ongoing and repetitive problem.

How to stop the necessity of more roadbuilding? Until population growth ends (which would mean halting foreign immigration, given that native born USA birthrates are for now below replacement level), roadbuilding must resume. Of course, this also varies with the growth in your part of the USA.

I am reminded of a quote by one advocate of not building more roads: "This paradox was suspected as early as 1942 by Robert Moses, who noticed that the highways he had built around New York City in 1939 were somehow generating greater traffic problems than had existed previously."

Well Gee, something called World War Two happened over in Europe and Asia, which proved a massive economic, population and traffic stimulus to the New York City area, and America in general. The roads built in 1939 also stimulated the area's economy, which, yes, generated more traffic. In response to this "paradox", I can only say, "Well, duh."

This also applies to Southern California in the 1980's, which was booming, as was most of the rest of California then.

The no-more-roads crowd also like to say that "Trying to cure traffic congestion by adding more capacity is like trying to cure obesity by loosening your belt."

Here, we have the difference in worldviews and mindsets again. In response, I paraphrase Abe Lincoln: "We might as well expect a man to wear the clothes that fit him as a boy as a city to remain ever under the infrastructure of its ancestors." The social(ist) engineers see growth as bad, like obesity. I do not. Growth is (1) often inevitable and (2) in many respects good!

Indeed, moves to block road construction within an urban area have perversely led to more sprawl outside and around that urban area. I have stated it before and I will state it again: if we want denser development in a given area in order to reduce "sprawl", then WE MUST INCREASE THE ROAD CAPACITY TO HANDLE TRAFFIC WITHIN THE ALREADY BUILT-UP AREA.

Oh, but the eco-fiends claim that the current freeway system induces "sprawl"? News flash: Any road out of town does that, and we aren't going to tear up the roads leading out of town.

Frustrated by gridlock, voters and activists in one town impose growth controls. But people still want to live here, so developers simply go up or down the road to the next town. And the urban area expands, even as it's overall density declines.
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Old 01-05-2015, 10:24 AM
 
1,998 posts, read 2,936,859 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickB1967 View Post
Yes, adding roads does over time increase traffic. Why? Because it stimulates industry and commerce, which stimulates traffic (always) and population growth (often). I'd rather have the economic growth and opportunity than live in the stagnating cities with which some "Planners" seem to be enamored.

The facile claim that "Congestion is something we can never build our way out of" is a pathetic justification for doing nothing and denies that we can take always concrete (pun intended) steps to at least reduce congestion, which, like cleaning one's home, is an ongoing and repetitive problem.

How to stop the necessity of more roadbuilding? Until population growth ends (which would mean halting foreign immigration, given that native born USA birthrates are for now below replacement level), roadbuilding must resume. Of course, this also varies with the growth in your part of the USA.

I am reminded of a quote by one advocate of not building more roads: "This paradox was suspected as early as 1942 by Robert Moses, who noticed that the highways he had built around New York City in 1939 were somehow generating greater traffic problems than had existed previously."

Well Gee, something called World War Two happened over in Europe and Asia, which proved a massive economic, population and traffic stimulus to the New York City area, and America in general. The roads built in 1939 also stimulated the area's economy, which, yes, generated more traffic. In response to this "paradox", I can only say, "Well, duh."

This also applies to Southern California in the 1980's, which was booming, as was most of the rest of California then.

The no-more-roads crowd also like to say that "Trying to cure traffic congestion by adding more capacity is like trying to cure obesity by loosening your belt."

Here, we have the difference in worldviews and mindsets again. In response, I paraphrase Abe Lincoln: "We might as well expect a man to wear the clothes that fit him as a boy as a city to remain ever under the infrastructure of its ancestors." The social(ist) engineers see growth as bad, like obesity. I do not. Growth is (1) often inevitable and (2) in many respects good!

Indeed, moves to block road construction within an urban area have perversely led to more sprawl outside and around that urban area. I have stated it before and I will state it again: if we want denser development in a given area in order to reduce "sprawl", then WE MUST INCREASE THE ROAD CAPACITY TO HANDLE TRAFFIC WITHIN THE ALREADY BUILT-UP AREA.

Oh, but the eco-fiends claim that the current freeway system induces "sprawl"? News flash: Any road out of town does that, and we aren't going to tear up the roads leading out of town.

Frustrated by gridlock, voters and activists in one town impose growth controls. But people still want to live here, so developers simply go up or down the road to the next town. And the urban area expands, even as it's overall density declines.
Hilarious to me that you are complaining about socialism when your solution to the congestion problem would mean the government keeps spending more and more taxpayer dollars and seizing up more and more land to widen roads. If you don't like socialism, then what makes you think the government is going to do this wisely?

The non-socialist solution, or at least, the LESS socialist solution, is to introduce a market price to access to freeways, ie a toll, so drivers' use of the roads is kept in check by price and so we don't need to just keep building into infinity.

The socialist solution is to treat roads as a "public good" that everyone should have free access to and can use as much as they want without any regard to price. The predictable result of such socialist policies is shortages, just as Soviet grocery shelves were often empty. Congestion is an example of a shortage.

Last edited by stateofnature; 01-05-2015 at 10:33 AM..
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Old 01-05-2015, 11:11 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stateofnature View Post
The non-socialist solution, or at least, the LESS socialist solution, is to introduce a market price to access to freeways, ie a toll, so drivers' use of the roads is kept in check by price and so we don't need to just keep building into infinity.
Brilliant! We should try that with schools as well. Never build a new school again. Just make the cost of sending our kids to school so expensive that we'll keep in check the demand for education.
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Old 01-05-2015, 11:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oceangaia View Post
Brilliant! We should try that with schools as well. Never build a new school again. Just make the cost of sending our kids to school so expensive that we'll keep in check the demand for education.
I never said "never build another road again." You're making a strawman argument, and you're either deliberately misinterpreting my position to try to reject it out of hand, or you're just not really reading what I am saying. There is nothing in the proposal for more tolls that says we can't build more roads--just that we won't need to build AS MANY because congestion will be mitigated by pricing, so there is less reason to build more.

The equivalent to education would not be "never build another school again" but instead move away from government-run schools and toward a model in which people pay for private schools and we provide a voucher for those unable to pay (just like we could provide a rebate for those who can't afford to pay tolls). This model is used in many countries and we can debate the costs and benefits of that, but not really appropriate for this thread.
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Old 01-05-2015, 11:32 AM
 
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What I find odd is the assumption that congestion is bad. Congestion is the result of increased economic activity in the area. Why is the area congested because there are more people heading to it for some reason. Widening roads can releave some congestion, but nothing short of economic downfall will get rid of it be it congestion of cars or even in roman times congestion on foot.
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Old 01-05-2015, 11:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stateofnature View Post
I never said "never build another road again." You're making a strawman argument, and you're either deliberately misinterpreting my position to try to reject it out of hand, or you're just not really reading what I am saying. There is nothing in the proposal for more tolls that says we can't build more roads--just that we won't need to build AS MANY because congestion will be mitigated by pricing, so there is less reason to build more.
Most new roads in my areas are toll roads. I'd have no problem having a referendum for the next couple years' road improvements packages.
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Old 01-05-2015, 11:38 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
What I find odd is the assumption that congestion is bad. Congestion is the result of increased economic activity in the area. Why is the area congested because there are more people heading to it for some reason. Widening roads can releave some congestion, but nothing short of economic downfall will get rid of it be it congestion of cars or even in roman times congestion on foot.
No one is saying it is feasible or desirable to COMPLETELY eliminate ALL congestion. It's the really severe congestion that I am worried about. When many commutes take up to or more than twice as long during rush hour as they would in low traffic times, and you're losing so many hours of your life per week due to the longer commute, I think there's an obvious problem that needs to be addressed. We can disagree about how to address it, but I don't see any reasonable arguments that congestion isn't bad AT LEAST in the most severe cases.
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Old 01-05-2015, 11:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stateofnature View Post
No one is saying it is feasible or desirable to COMPLETELY eliminate ALL congestion. It's the really severe congestion that I am worried about. When many commutes take up to or more than twice as long during rush hour as they would in low traffic times, and you're losing so many hours of your life per week due to the longer commute, I think there's an obvious problem that needs to be addressed. We can disagree about how to address it, but I don't see any reasonable arguments that congestion isn't bad AT LEAST in the most severe cases.
People address this problem themselves. If it takes twice as long during rush hour, you simply factor it in to where you live and work and for how much you are willing to drive that distance to be paid for. If public transit is an option(and often even when it is available it is not an useful option) you use it. People can make decisions regarding congestion for themselves.
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