Too Many Roads Already

Henry Grabar argues that the United States has already too many roads, and the burden of maintenance costs and the sprawl encouraged by road-building should make new roads and bridges the country's last priority.

1 minute read

April 13, 2017, 12:00 PM PDT

By Casey Brazeal @northandclark


Atlanta Sprawl

Hunter Desportes / flickr

National politicians on both sides of the political spectrum have come out in favor of an infrastructure bill to build more roads and bridges. Meanwhile, some worry that more roads mean more cars, more sprawl and more maintenance. "Gravel is good. It’s cheaper than concrete and often has lower maintenance costs," Henry Grabar argues in Slate.

Garbar argues that the president's proposed infrastructure legislation, if it ever gets written, might sound like a bit of bi-partisan relief from a the contentious times the country is experiencing, but that new roads would not put the country in a better place. He says the United States is in, "…an unprecedented maintenance crisis, in addition to facilitating sprawl, harming the environment, undermining Main Street commerce, and draining local budgets." Not only because politicians are not adequately taking care of the roads they already have, but also because, "In and around cities, road mileage has grown at exactly twice the rate of population," Garbar writes.

Monday, April 3, 2017 in Slate

Large blank mall building with only two cars in large parking lot.

Pennsylvania Mall Conversion Bill Passes House

If passed, the bill would promote the adaptive reuse of defunct commercial buildings.

April 18, 2024 - Central Penn Business Journal

Rendering of wildlife crossing over 101 freeway in Los Angeles County.

World's Largest Wildlife Overpass In the Works in Los Angeles County

Caltrans will soon close half of the 101 Freeway in order to continue construction of the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing near Agoura Hills in Los Angeles County.

April 15, 2024 - LAist

Workers putting down asphalt on road.

U.S. Supreme Court: California's Impact Fees May Violate Takings Clause

A California property owner took El Dorado County to state court after paying a traffic impact fee he felt was exorbitant. He lost in trial court, appellate court, and the California Supreme Court denied review. Then the U.S. Supreme Court acted.

April 18, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

View from back of BART Police SUV driving down street in San Francisco, California.

Podcast: Addressing the Root Causes of Transit Violence

Deploying transit police is a short-term fix. How can transit agencies build sustainable safety efforts?

32 minutes ago - Streetsblog USA

Sunset view of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota skyline.

Minneapolis as a Model for Housing Affordability

Through a combination of policies, the city has managed to limit the severity of the nationwide housing crisis.

1 hour ago - Brown Political Review

Row of yellow Pacers Bikeshare bikes at station in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana.

Indy Bikeshare System Turns 10, Expands to E-Bikes

Pacers Bikeshare riders logged over 700,000 rides since the system launched in 2014.

2 hours ago - Indy Today

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.