Wednesday, August 21, 2013

From Strong Towns: Is Traffic Always Bad?

Good reading here:

I've appended the conclusion below:

"...With governments at all levels short on cash, maybe it's time to broaden the goals for our streets. It’s time to retire the expressway in an urban context. It should be replaced with a system that examines the performance of street networks, including transit where relevant, and considers economic and social value along with vehicle distribution. It should be a system that measures the value and effectiveness of a city’s street network. If departments of transportation and local governments take a closer look, they may find value in congestion. After all, real estate prices seem to confirm that preference, and shouldn’t our infrastructure reflect that and add value to the place where it is built?"

Perhaps its time we stopped building these silly urban pseudo-expressways like Diamond Drive and of course, add more lanes to Trinity. They cost lots to maintain and are empty most of the time, acting only as speedways and impediments to normal humans being able to cross the street.

Along similar lines is this Atlantic Cities article on Hamburg, NY, just south of Buffalo on Lake Erie, "What Happens When a Town Puts People Before Cars".  Hamburg, NY, as it happens, was where my maternal grandparents lived. NY Times covered this carefully here.


Ian Brett Cooper said...

I think the obvious conclusion is that traffic is not a bad thing as long as it's slow. If we could install a "20 is plenty" campaign (like the one they have in the UK) throughout the US, I think that would be a great thing.

I'd like to see speeds above 30mph confined to limited access roads and freeways. I don't want vehicles doing 40 and 50mph on streets I might need to walk across.

And I want more speed cameras. Speed limits should be enforced, and police just don't bother in most cases.

And limited access roads should only exist where there's an alternate route for slower-moving vehicles.

Khal said...

I think that was what they are trying to do in Hamburg, Ian. Slow things down rather than put in another urban drag strip.