Dependable Erection

Monday, March 19, 2007

Shorter John Locke Foundation

Pave the whole city. Widening I-40 the last time worked so well, we need to expand the program to all of Durham.

UPDATE: Kevin has a more sophisticated analysis here.

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3 Comments:

  • I think you're being a bit mean-spirited in your characterization. A libertarian approach to congestion would mean placing transit on an equal footing with highway construction; that is, more toll roads in order to fund road improvements and to make transit more appealing. In other words, stop the roads subsidy. Having said that, the JLF is not quite as libertarian as the Reason Foundation. I'm surprised to see this guy didn't mention toll roads.

    Widening the roads never works unless you impose congestion pricing, and mass transit never works unless it appeals to the middle class riders that would otherwise face congestion. I ride my bike to RTP a lot more often than I take the bus, even though I'm a lazy SOB and would gladly take the bus if it were more convenient.

    By Blogger dcrollins, at 12:03 AM  

  • If you start with the assumption that congestion is the problem, you end up proposing a whole set of solutions that center around increasing capacity, as the JLF study does.

    What happens if you start with the assumption that congestion is a symptom?

    I can't speak to Raleigh or Charlotte, never having spent much time there. But to talk about widening arterial streets to increase capacity to solve a "congestion problem" in Durham is sheer idiocy. To the extent that "congestion" is a problem, it's a problem for brief periods during morning and evening rush hours. Turn all of our arterial roads into Guess Road between Horton and Carver, for example, and you've created an entirely different set of problems that are both round the clock, and require a whole different set of scarce resources to solve.

    Why are you surprised that "this guy didn't mention toll roads"? These are the same folks who, a couple of months back, published a study arguing against traffic calming devices like neckdowns or circles. Their proposal for a "sensible" widening of I-40 ignores the reality of the past 15 years. Widening I-40 has not only proven to be beyond the capabilities of the NCDOT bureaucracy to manage properly, but, by stimulating development, has paradoxically increased congestion along that highway. They're not interested in improving the transit situation, but in preventing the loss of a culture in which car ownership is privileged.

    Hey, i drive the 11 miles to work, most often by myself. My 15 minute commute would take an hour and 15 minutes if i tried to bus it. There's no bike route between Durham and Hillsborough that feels safe to me. And in the opposite commute to mine, i often see traffic backed up for 3 or 4 light cycles at Highway 70 and Mt Herman Church Rd. But that doesn't mean that widening Highway 70 to 6 lanes, either as a toll road or a public road, is anything other than a mistake. It "solves a problem" that exists for no more than 45 minutes in the morning and evening, and it inhibits us from thinking about what the real problem is.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 5:21 AM  

  • Barry,

    Can you get in touch with me.

    phillip
    pbarron AT gmail.com

    By Anonymous nicomachus, at 4:13 PM  

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