Tuesday, July 22, 2008
The future of the bypass road?
I like the idea of bypassing the LANL (i.e., W. Jemez) road. Indeed the present Large Intestine is a lousy, confusing, at times dangerous design. Community passage is dependent on future, impossible to predict decisions made by the NNSA. West Road as an option is not a great one as it is substandard and besides, who wants heavy traffic bombing past the ice rink while it is in use?
But I have to ask the obvious big picture question: How many roads do we really need in Los Alamos, and how big do they need to be? Diamond is going to be a four-lane superhighway through our town. We will have three parallel roads along W. Jemez if we build the "90% design" bypass (W. Jemez, West Road, and the Bypass). How much is enough? What else do we need to do with our money?
In ten or twenty years, will we even be driving all these behemoths? Or will our roads be overkill to a fleet of small, efficient vehicles used judiciously as we condense around our communities? Will many, perhaps most of our roads eventually look like the one here: Old Pali Road on Oahu, approximately half a century after its retirement to a new road going through the mountain. Old Pali is a nice place to walk, though, as I can attest, having walked and biked it many a time. Its neglect leads to a quiet, overgrown, and lush habitat as nature retakes the initiative over man.
I wonder what our roads will look like fifty years from now. Can we sustain all this? Are we the next chapter in Jared Diamond's book "Collapse"?