Monday Linkages: The Definition of Insanity

Some must reads while you groggily get over Daylight Savings.

First, here is a link to an extensive look at the 405 in LA, the most congested road in the country.  I have cited it a few times recently how the 5 years and over $1 billion spent expanding its capacity has actually made it more congested.  There are many great nuggets throughout one of the most thorough pieces on the failure of modernist transportation planning:

A Metro spokesman suggests that the 405 widening project’s failure to cut congestion is partially or even largely about the economy.

Metro spokesman Dave Sotero says there was simply less traffic “in the pit of the Great Recession,” and the project can’t expect to offset the increased traffic that has materialized thanks to L.A.’s employment rebound and lower gas prices.

Will the next economic downturn or the current spike in gas prices provide any of the congestion relief Los Angeles leaders promised?

Holy moly.  If your city isn’t built to handle economic success, I’m not sure your transportation and planning priorities are in order.  As always, Detroit has no congestion problem.

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Related, here is the must read from Brandon Formby over the weekend demonstrating the need for mobility sans car ownership as a pathway out of poverty.  This is due to the inherent cost and energy inefficiencies to personal automobility and the dislocation brought about by building and investing strictly in car-based infrastructure.  You can also see how I expanded upon many of the studies cited in his piece.

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Dallas is riddled with potholes.  Again, the answer isn’t necessarily MORE money for transportation projects.  It’s drilling down into the term “improvement” related to roads; designing street networks better as a means to design a better city.  Transportation spending cannot be seen as an ends in and of itself.  Typically, “improvement” means getting a road to Level of Service A, meaning free flow of traffic.  That usually means widening it to the point where commerce and tax base along it vanish so that it isn’t safe and can’t be maintained.  So again, what does “improvement” really mean?

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