Monday, March 12

Myth 7 - Infrastructure Helps

One More Attempt to Build Infrastructure to Make Things "Perfect"
More BILLIONS Down a Drain...
For a change of pace, this myth moment is prompted by a pervasive motoring and traffic engineering myth; namely that we need to build more freeways and roads for the cars and that doing so will somehow help traffic.

Well, if that were really the case, carmageddon in Los Angeles would really have happened. In truth, quite sensibly, people decide where to live and how to get to work and how to shop based on the total traffic picture. Add freeway lanes and they get full. Stop the building madness and people make different choices. Actually, they tend to walk and ride bikes more. I know of no evidence that anyone suffers as a result. Instead, we have the unintended results of big government subsidies of one group - in this case, motorists.

The Bike League sends out a lot of stuff wanting more spending on bike infrastructure. Have they considered that part of the answer is to stop trying to spend our way to a perfect automotive heaven on earth? Might cyclists really be better off if we instead agitated against spending ever more of our property taxes on roads that make it harder to get around other than in a 6000 lb SUV rather than trying to suck off "our fair share" from the motoring majority?

Perhaps the paradigm needs to shift to one in which special justification is required in order to build more infrastructure for big, four-wheeled motor vehicles rather than infrastructure that will accommodate anybody. Just an observation from a cyclist inconvenienced by TWO simultaneous freeway widening projects that both were approved after the worldwide peak oil date. Someday, there will be more available space than cyclists could POSSIBLY use...


Khal said...

Spot on, Steve..

Pondero said...

I get your point, and agree with it. The unfortunate reality, however, is that vote seekers know that "motorists" represent a bunch of votes.

Steve A said...

Pondero, you are exactly correct. I find it amusing that these same "motorists," who sometimes include both of us, are an overwhelming majority yet still claim that higher fuel taxes or toll roads are somehow offensive. I personally will detour to avoid toll roads. As if money from the general fund is somehow "OK." Though I switched majors from psychology to engineering long ago, psychology remains fascinating.

GreenComotion said...

Very nice and I especially love your tractor in traffic photo.

There is enough room, food, and other natural resources in the world for everybody. It is the "Me, Me, Me" attitude and self centeredness that make this world a seemingly crowded, impoverished place, most often. We are all in this together!

Paz :)

cafiend said...

When I ride my bike to work my transit time is much more consistent and reliable than in a car. This morning, for instance, I got behind two pickup trucks as I drove in, one of them towing a trailer with trash blowing out of it. They were doing 38-43 mph on the 55 mph highway, significantly increasing my travel time compared to my expected average. On the bike I would have noted their passing to my left as I continued at my regular pace. This was not the first time I had observed this phenomenon.

Motorists feel territorial about the road because the are the spoiled children of every department of transportation nationwide. Like spoiled children, they feel entitled. They act up when they don't get their own way.

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