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Thread: Traffic jams spread to small cities

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    Traffic jams spread to small cities

    Headline from the Louisville Courier-Journal and Article from the AP Wire:
    http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wi...gion-apnewyork

    Highlights:

    "That old idea of rush hour? Now it's closer to a rush day. Roads are congested 7.1 hours every day, on average, in cities across the country.

    Solutions are elusive, as each proposal must win support from a seemingly impossible-to-please group of competing interests. Road builders and motorist groups want more asphalt, environmentalists want more mass transit. Highway and transit projects would eat up scarce and expensive land and taxpayers don't want to pay.

    Some see danger in the relationship between traffic, roads and the rapid growth in housing: More land, cheaper homes and dissatisfaction with city or suburban life all draw people away from core metropolitan areas. They pay for the change with more time on the road. Population grows, the same cycle repeats itself and another round of development adds to the sprawl, and the traffic, and so on."
    Oddball
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  2. #2
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    You know, it's the small towns where I've seen some of the worst traffic. I know Habanero can vouch for the horrible traffic situation in San Marcos, TX and the New Braunfels, TX "loop" has it's fair share of issues as well.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  3. #3
    Quote Originally posted by JNA
    Headline from the Louisville Courier-Journal and Article from the AP Wire:
    http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wi...gion-apnewyork

    Highlights:

    "That old idea of rush hour? Now it's closer to a rush day. Roads are congested 7.1 hours every day, on average, in cities across the country.

    Solutions are elusive, as each proposal must win support from a seemingly impossible-to-please group of competing interests. Road builders and motorist groups want more asphalt, environmentalists want more mass transit. Highway and transit projects would eat up scarce and expensive land and taxpayers don't want to pay.

    Some see danger in the relationship between traffic, roads and the rapid growth in housing: More land, cheaper homes and dissatisfaction with city or suburban life all draw people away from core metropolitan areas. They pay for the change with more time on the road. Population grows, the same cycle repeats itself and another round of development adds to the sprawl, and the traffic, and so on."
    It appears to me that there are a few things here.
    First and foremost it is worth noting that a majority of the interstate infrastructure is antiquated and the amount of vehicles that these roads get (and vehicles on the road overall) was not forseen by earlier engineers/planners. By antiquated I mean insufficient capacity-wise (not enough lanes, turn lanes, exit lanes, etc.).
    Secondly, until these roads get up to speed with the amount of motorists (or another mode of transportation develops/becomes popular quickly) then sprawl is necessary to avoid these traffic jams and more development will happen in rural areas to avoid this traffic.
    Who's gonna re-invent the wheel today?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian iamme's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ssnyderjr
    then sprawl is necessary to avoid these traffic jams and more development will happen in rural areas to avoid this traffic.
    Seriously, can I quote you? I need something ridiculous in my sig line. If you think more capacity is the answer to congestion... wow.

  5. #5

    Critics

    Quote Originally posted by iamme
    Seriously, can I quote you? I need something ridiculous in my sig line. If you think more capacity is the answer to congestion... wow.
    It's easy to criticize someone, its harder to offer up solutions to problems. I know in a perfect world everyone would ride bicycles to alleviate congestion and traffic signals would be timed so that YOU get a green light every time you approach an intersection..... Then there is reality, the having to wait in traffic as vehicles slowly merge for on and off ramps, in and out of lanes, hmmmmm what would solve this? Engineers would say more lanes of travel. Planners say????????????? (engineers are rediculous). Let me ask you, would sprawl be as desireable (as currently is) if you had the same traffic congestion as existing "built up" areas? I doubt it. I'm not saying it is the only factor in creating sprawl, but it certainly has to be one of them.
    Last edited by ssnyderjr; 15 Jun 2005 at 12:59 PM. Reason: clarification
    Who's gonna re-invent the wheel today?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian AubieTurtle's avatar
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    You know, just because someone doesn't have a silver bullet solution doesn't mean that they are unable to recognize a bad "solution".
    As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. - H.L. Mencken

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally posted by ssnyderjr
    It appears to me that there are a few things here.
    First and foremost it is worth noting that a majority of the interstate infrastructure is antiquated and the amount of vehicles that these roads get (and vehicles on the road overall) was not forseen by earlier engineers/planners. By antiquated I mean insufficient capacity-wise (not enough lanes, turn lanes, exit lanes, etc.).
    Secondly, until these roads get up to speed with the amount of motorists (or another mode of transportation develops/becomes popular quickly) then sprawl is necessary to avoid these traffic jams and more development will happen in rural areas to avoid this traffic.
    This would take literally trillions of dollars and would, as others point out, be a stopgap measure anyway as we spread out further and drive more and more distance.

    Not to mention the reality that many metropolitan areas have no room to vastly expand the "easy motoring" lifestyle which most people feel is somehow our "right."

    Where will you build this vast new freeway mileage? How many tens of thousands of homes and viable neighborhood are we willing to sacrifice to more traffic lanes?


    Plus, "traffic congestion" is a relative thing, anyway. The lone driver insists on one thing, that he be totally free-flowing. This is simply impossible-there is not enough money, or room to make the urban and suburban driving experience like the myth in the advertisements.

  8. #8

    Agree

    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    This would take literally trillions of dollars and would, as others point out, be a stopgap measure anyway as we spread out further and drive more and more distance.

    Not to mention the reality that many metropolitan areas have no room to vastly expand the "easy motoring" lifestyle which most people feel is somehow our "right."

    Where will you build this vast new freeway mileage? How many tens of thousands of homes and viable neighborhood are we willing to sacrifice to more traffic lanes?


    Plus, "traffic congestion" is a relative thing, anyway. The lone driver insists on one thing, that he be totally free-flowing. This is simply impossible-there is not enough money, or room to make the urban and suburban driving experience like the myth in the advertisements.
    I agree with you totally (Re: costs, availablity of land, temporary solution), I just wanted to comment on how and why engineers say "more capacity (asphalt)". Then I get dinged by someone for explaining the rationale behind engineer's theory. Engineers always try to solve problems. Sorry for speaking my mind and not what people want to hear/read. I could pick back up my invention from the 3rd grade of the Hover-Car...........
    Last edited by ssnyderjr; 15 Jun 2005 at 9:13 PM. Reason: Clarification
    Who's gonna re-invent the wheel today?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    30 minute commute to school; exurb congestion

    It took me 30 minutes to drive to school last year. My house is about 5 miles from the school. The traffic to get to the school (2 miles west of town, in the middle of nowhere), backed up half a mile on one road, then two t-intersections, and then half a mile on the other road, and then into the school. I avoided half the backup by using side streets in downtown Huntley and then cutting through an age-restricted golf course community, and then into half the backup. The school was a middle-high school. About 1,300 H.S. students, 1,500 M.S. students and about 100-200 faculty/staff. 2,000 people all driving to school, because it is way out in the sticks. We had 50 buses, no kidding. And a ton of parents who drove their kids, and nearly every junior and senior driving (400). Plus, the general people going to work in the morning, and all the dump trucks and service trucks going to the exurban construction sites. Avoid the exurbs between 6 and 7:30 AM, and anytime after 2 PM.

    And don't even get me started on traffic congestion on:
    Illinois Route 47 in Woodstock, Huntley, Starks, and Elburn (AM and PM rush)
    Algonquin Rd. over the Fox River in Algonquin (PM rush)
    Route 31 in Algonquin (PM rush)
    Rakow Rd. in Crystal Lake (PM rush)
    All Chicagoland-Rockford-Milwaukee expressways and tollways (24/7)
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally posted by ssnyderjr
    Then I get dinged by someone for explaining the rationale behind engineer's theory. .

    Ah-don't mind us. It can get heated here Some of us love a good polemic.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian iamme's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ssnyderjr
    It's easy to criticize someone, its harder to offer up solutions to problems. I know in a perfect world everyone would ride bicycles to alleviate congestion and traffic signals would be timed so that YOU get a green light every time you approach an intersection..... Then there is reality, the having to wait in traffic as vehicles slowly merge for on and off ramps, in and out of lanes, hmmmmm what would solve this? Engineers would say more lanes of travel. Planners say????????????? (engineers are rediculous). Let me ask you, would sprawl be as desireable (as currently is) if you had the same traffic congestion as existing "built up" areas? I doubt it. I'm not saying it is the only factor in creating sprawl, but it certainly has to be one of them.
    Well, here's a solution, HOT lanes. Now, take two deep breaths and call me in the morning. As for your question about sprawl's desirability, do you really think it is overwhelmingly about traffic? If you don't realize there are so many more factors at play...

    Tell me you're not an engineer.

    P.S. - I'm not trying to personally attack you, just trying to see where you're coming from.

  12. #12

    Better Yet

    Quote Originally posted by iamme
    Well, here's a solution, HOT lanes. Now, take two deep breaths and call me in the morning. As for your question about sprawl's desirability, do you really think it is overwhelmingly about traffic? If you don't realize there are so many more factors at play...

    Tell me you're not an engineer.

    P.S. - I'm not trying to personally attack you, just trying to see where you're coming from.
    How about if the left lane is used for passing vehicles only? Oh wait, that is common sense. I realize that there are many factors in sprawl, but I'm sure traffic congestion is one. In the thought that sprawl will reduce/eliminate congestion. Developers are soooo smart.
    Who's gonna re-invent the wheel today?

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