Highway Capacity: A Public Safety Issue?

In a post-9/11 and post-Katrina world, where mass evacuations mean an exodus in private vehicles, does a lack of appropriate freeway capacity represent a public safety hazard, asks Wendell Cox.

"An estimated 2.5 million people were able to evacuate from Houston because they had cars and because the roadway system has been upgraded to handle the rising population, writes Wendell Cox.

For nearly two decades, urban planners and environment interest groups have sought by every means possible to prevent the building of new highway capacity. The justification was a belief that building new highways created more traffic, which is akin to believing that building more maternity wards would increase the birthrate.

In most urban areas, traffic congestion has become much worse because road capacity has not kept up with growth. This means more than just a longer trip to work: It means that it will take more time than we have to complete major evacuations if they should be necessary."

Full Story: Highways to Hell

Comments

Comments

wrong

This article is a display of some of the most asinine thought regarding future development I have ever read. It suggests the exact opposite of what should happen.

If he's going to bring up terrorism, first, he should understand the cause. Terrorism is a problem for us because we occupy the Middle East. Simple as that. We occupy the Middle East for one primary reason: petroleum. We need troops there to ensure our supply of oil. President Bush is attempting to install a democracy in Iraq because he wants a free market, therefore we will not need troops in order to protect the inflow of this resource. We need oil because we have established a transportation network that makes most of us in America utterly dependent on cars, which use 70% of this nation's oil supply. So why is it that Mr. Cox suggests that we further force people into this dependency? Obviously he doesn't really know a lot... about anything. It would be extremely easy for me to write a giant book on how many problems automobiles (or automobile dependency) has caused us. If Mr. Cox doesn't understand this, then he either doesn't live in this country or is intellectually incapacitated.

The hurricanes have really exposed a problem with our infrastructure: freeways are a public safety hazard, along with the lack of appropriate rail capacity. Put everybody in a separate vehicle, travel along the same path, and it will travel extremely slow. Put people on a public vehicle, such as a train or bus, and traffic will flow much faster. Pretty simple, and undeniable, logic.

I also like how he places some of the blame of evacuation on the city, when he says they should have used buses to remove people from the city. My question is: where would they bring them? The city itself doesn't have the resources to provide food, water, and shelter for tens of thousands of people--things that are human necessities--especially for a hurricane they weren't sure was going to be devastating to the city. Sorry, but the federal and state governments are the only entities that can properly provide for these people in the state of a disaster such as this.

Sorry, Mr. Cox, but you are wrong, and it is extremely easy for me to prove it.

Wrong is right!

I agree with what Wrong is saying, and this is the second article I've seen where they hold Texas freeways up as a good example of how other cities should be. I think the oil industry there is putting something in their water. A good alternative is to read the article posted a couple of days ago about density, includes a case study on Dallas TX.

A. Lopez, MCP
Activist Planner
Berkeley CA

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