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"?


Anonymous said...

The Bypass road is akin to generals fighting the last war. LANL is getting smaller not larger. Alternative research, not nuclear weapons will be larger in the future. Gas prices are going up, not down. All of this in twenty years will mean less traffic and probably reduced security needs. Go ahead, build it, but they will not come.

Anonymous said...

The Bypass road is a total waste of time, money and materials. Think about that area where the Pali road was if the road had never been built. It would be a much cooler place.

Khal said...

Old Pali Road was, when it was built, the only way over the mountain from Kaneohe-Kailua to Honolulu. Other than on foot, I suppose. At the time it was built, it was not a superfluous expense.

In the case of Honolulu, they now have three tunnels under the mountain rather than one small mountain pass. Great for the efficient movement of cars and single occupant vehicle commuters, but at a cost of billions of dollars and considerable damage to sacred Hawaiian sites.

Greg said...

The county has a huge GRT windfall right now. Councilors are deathly afraid of the State redistributing some of that windfall to other County's. Councilors are despirately trying to spend every dime as quickly as possible to show the State that we need it all here. (And doing some regional stuff just to show that we are equitable neighbors.)

The pressure to go ahead with the Bypass is tremendous, especially given the 1.2 million donated from the state.

When it comes to being offered a gift, you don't say no to the Mob and you don't say not to the Governor -capish?

The bypass would be insanely redundant, now that we know the blocked colon works absolutely fine.

If security become a concern later on we can always build the bypass later ... but in all likelyhood we will never need it.

Let's put the money into the schools facilities instead. The return on investment from doing that would be 1000 x greater than a third road in less then a mile to the same damn place.

Good school facilities will be a greater benefit to the Ski area than a third road to the hill. A nice big shiny new road isn't much good if there are no skier's driving up it.

(We do need to build an intersection, in any case, for the folks coming up from the White Rock direction who need to get to the research park.)