Thursday, June 7, 2012

Deep Thoughts, By Hack Jandey

Just a quick thought while massive headwound harry is removed from the Main Street sidewalk below my window (not something you typically come home from a dogwalk to find, I swear.  Luckily, another dog walker head their cell phone on them to call an ambulance)...

The effort to relieve congestion here is backwards.  I've said the same thing a million times and a million different ways, with likely a million words.  Let's keep it simple, stupid.  90% of the city commutes by car.  This is not to be looked upon as market choice, but infrastructurally coerced, which makes it a rational choice.  Very few other options make sense given what the infrastructure did to the real estate market.

More roads without more tax base (there is never any guarantee it will come, but planners like to use population projections for their rhetorical purposes anyway), might "relieve" congestion.  But it doesn't do anything for our ability to maintain those roads long-term.  The only way to "relieve" congestion is reduce the percentage commuting by car.  Drop that 90 to 40-60% would be far more ideal.  We really don't have that much congestion anyway.  Certainly not compared to LA or DC.  It's really only a few choke points (because there isn't a functional grid system, but a dendritic arterial one) and whenever there is the inevitable accident on highways where people are driving faster than they can perceptually control their vehicle.  On other roads, it's easy, breazy cover girl driving.

There are two types of places that are defined by car-dependence and over-utilization of the automobile: invaded (congested) and abandoned.  Keep building roads and that congestion quickly turns to abandonment.  Particularly, when the city can no longer support the weight of its infrastructure without a growing population.