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Old 03-23-2015, 07:52 PM
 
Location: Sugarmill Woods , FL
6,235 posts, read 5,911,661 times
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Old 03-24-2015, 01:56 PM
 
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Quote:
A lot of new freeways are being designed with other modes as part of the project, bike paths running parallel included.
That seems like a waste of time to me. If you are building something one could reasonably call a 'freeway' then you are really covering distances that casual bike commuting cannot contend with. The majority of retail and commerical infrastructure next to freeways tends to be in some state of decline, so it would not be a place a biker would choose to be employed. I guess it would be great for the practicing Tour de Francers, but that seems like a large expenditure for a few hobbists.

Spending on bike lanes in already moderately urban and fully urban areas where bike riding can actually compete with cars as a mode of transit would be more fiscally responsible than building bike lanes next to freeways.

Freeways have their place even in an urban world - they connect far-flung places together. In my opinion, that's the future of freeways. They connect far-flung places together but are almost gone from major cities.
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Old 03-25-2015, 08:18 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
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Agreed, to a point. Our existing system is already in place, but I like to envision projects like Boston's Big Dig (in concept, at least). Bury the urban freeways, put capstone parks and grew belts over them... Whatever is needed to "hide" them from Urban centers. Freeways are to get from one far away place to another, not to go a mile across town. Bury them, limit entrances and exits, and you've turned the current urban freeway system into an expressway for bypassing major areas.

Metro areas like Los Angeles, Phoenix, or Las Vegas will still need urban freeways (buried or unburied) and ring roads in order to effectively move traffic around -- the areas are simply too wide-spread to rely on surface streets alone for local traffic. But much like the stretch of I-10 in Downtown Phoenix that's been capped over, they don't have to be visible. Parks like the one in Phoenix reconnect areas that were separated when the freeway was built. It provides ample green space for families, festivities and more, and it's more visually appealing.

Non-urban freeways I see much the same as they are now. I see more pushes for 6 lane freeways (3 lanes per side), with truck limitations. Kentucky has done a good job of this -- a majority of their freeways are 3 lanes per side, and large trucks are forbidden from entering the leftmost lane. So trucks drive right, pass center, and all other traffic drives right or center, and passes center or left. This gives cars a passing lane when one truck is passing another, reducing congestion. With modern safety standards, I think it's appropriate to raise the limit on most non-urban freeways, especially in Western states. Utah hasn't had issues with their 80mph limit, and Texas even has a stretch with a limit of 85mph. Arizona, New Mexico, California, Nevada, and other Western states could follow suit.

Of course, any of this would require a massive investment into our infrastructure. The gas tax alone does not adequately provide enough funds to FIX what we currently have, let alone upgrade it.

Going (slightly) off topic, I think we need to restructure how the roads are funded before restructuring the roads themselves. Currently, we have a gas tax that's on a per-gallon basis. This amount has not been raised in 20 years, even though the price of a gallon of gas has skyrocketed, comparatively speaking. That aside, often times money from the gas tax gets reallocated to other projects. I propose three things: (1) Raise the gas tax, and change it to a percentage of the value of a gallon of gas. This way, as has prices rise, so does money collected on the gas tax. (2) Charge an annual, mileage-based road usage tax. Even structure it into weight brackets (heavier vehicles do more damage to roads than lighter ones). So your heavy SUV would be in a higher tax bracket than an economical hatchback, giving it a higher per-mile rate. This tax could be enforced when cars registration is renewed -- simply log the odometer. (3) The revenue generated from these changes can no longer be reallocated to other projects. Road and fuel tax revenue can only be used towards road maintenance and improvement.

These changes lead to a couple of different incentives. First, electric vehicles would be cheaper to operate (no fuel used directly), but would still pay a share of road tax (mileage based). Second, it would encourage people to purchase lighter, more economical vehicles (due to increased fuel prices, and a weight-classed usage tax). Small businesses that require the use of trucks (i.e. Contractors with pickups) could potentially get a class-break, provided they produce a valid business registration. By influencing most commuters into smaller, more economical vehicles, we'd see less wear and tear on the roads, eased congestion, reduced emissions, and a lower demand on fuel.
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Old 03-25-2015, 08:30 AM
 
410 posts, read 389,945 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cab591 View Post
Going (slightly) off topic, I think we need to restructure how the roads are funded before restructuring the roads themselves. Currently, we have a gas tax that's on a per-gallon basis. This amount has not been raised in 20 years, even though the price of a gallon of gas has skyrocketed, comparatively speaking. That aside, often times money from the gas tax gets reallocated to other projects. I propose three things: (1) Raise the gas tax, and change it to a percentage of the value of a gallon of gas. This way, as has prices rise, so does money collected on the gas tax. (2) Charge an annual, mileage-based road usage tax. Even structure it into weight brackets (heavier vehicles do more damage to roads than lighter ones). So your heavy SUV would be in a higher tax bracket than an economical hatchback, giving it a higher per-mile rate. This tax could be enforced when cars registration is renewed -- simply log the odometer. (3) The revenue generated from these changes can no longer be reallocated to other projects. Road and fuel tax revenue can only be used towards road maintenance and improvement.
Conversely, as the price of a gallon of gas goes down less gas tax is collected. That could have a significant impact on transportation funds when gas goes from $4/gallon one year down to $2/gallon the next.
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Old 03-25-2015, 11:55 AM
 
2,553 posts, read 2,006,938 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOverdog View Post
That seems like a waste of time to me. If you are building something one could reasonably call a 'freeway' then you are really covering distances that casual bike commuting cannot contend with. The majority of retail and commerical infrastructure next to freeways tends to be in some state of decline, so it would not be a place a biker would choose to be employed. I guess it would be great for the practicing Tour de Francers, but that seems like a large expenditure for a few hobbists.

Spending on bike lanes in already moderately urban and fully urban areas where bike riding can actually compete with cars as a mode of transit would be more fiscally responsible than building bike lanes next to freeways.
It is important to note the value of having multi-modal freeway corridors, including LRT, BRT, and bike lanes, as these make the corridor a lot more adaptable to future needs. It is politically hard to adapt a single-mode freeway to other modes after-the-fact, but the world changes and the car can only do so much for us after which it is not the optimal mode for moving people. If an area is successful enough, eventually we need to move more people than what the car offers, but it is nearly impossible to take freeway lanes away from drivers.
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Old 03-25-2015, 03:48 PM
 
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Quote:
It is important to note the value of having multi-modal freeway corridors, including LRT, BRT, and bike lanes, as these make the corridor a lot more adaptable to future needs. It is politically hard to adapt a single-mode freeway to other modes after-the-fact, but the world changes and the car can only do so much for us after which it is not the optimal mode for moving people.
Light rail and bus rapid transit, next to freeways, yeah, I'd agree completely. Bike lanes? No way. Decay and repairs in a post-car environment will doom freeways in valuable-land areas more than bike lanes will. When the decay has set in and the people moved, they don't care one bit about adding (or subtracting) lanes and the people who live in the decay have no political power (see gentrification).

Freeway tearouts in NYC & SF haven't frozen those cities out. I don't even think LA needs freeways to go between SoCal suburbs like someone mentioned above. It'd be more financially responsible to add more housing and jobs closer to where people work. If they really do need freeways, they should be much farther (~50 miles) to the east.
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Old 03-25-2015, 07:50 PM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
2,975 posts, read 4,083,989 times
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Out in the country more freight gets transported by rail, so less big rigs that you have to pass. Probably some enhancements (more reflectors?) to help Tesla-esq auto pilot work, especially in the dark. Gotta wonder how those auto pilots will do with avoiding random road debris and critters like deer, though.
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Old 03-28-2015, 03:57 PM
 
Location: bend oregon
929 posts, read 845,135 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOverdog View Post
That seems like a waste of time to me. If you are building something one could reasonably call a 'freeway' then you are really covering distances that casual bike commuting cannot contend with. The majority of retail and commerical infrastructure next to freeways tends to be in some state of decline, so it would not be a place a biker would choose to be employed. I guess it would be great for the practicing Tour de Francers, but that seems like a large expenditure for a few hobbists.

Spending on bike lanes in already moderately urban and fully urban areas where bike riding can actually compete with cars as a mode of transit would be more fiscally responsible than building bike lanes next to freeways.

Freeways have their place even in an urban world - they connect far-flung places together. In my opinion, that's the future of freeways. They connect far-flung places together but are almost gone from major cities.
Freeways go directly to destenations, bike paths need that because bikes are slow.

Also its not like the bike path is in the middle of the freeway its on the sides where you hove a at vantage over a car, trying to get onto a freeway with a car is silly compared to it
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Old 03-30-2015, 03:25 PM
 
3,946 posts, read 4,048,455 times
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Freeways go directly to destenations, bike paths need that because bikes are slow.
I don't even know how to parse this. Freeways don't go directly to destinations, You always have to leave the freeway to get on another street to go to an actual destination. Is there any place in the US whose address is XXX freeway and not on a side road? I don't think so.
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Old 03-30-2015, 04:28 PM
 
2,553 posts, read 2,006,938 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOverdog View Post
I don't even know how to parse this. Freeways don't go directly to destinations, You always have to leave the freeway to get on another street to go to an actual destination. Is there any place in the US whose address is XXX freeway and not on a side road? I don't think so.
You're being too literal. You could easily parse it to mean that freeways are often the most direct route between two distant points. Also, that it makes sense to offer the freeway experience--long, unbroken stretches of grade-sep ROW--to cyclists.
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