Art of Transpo: As the city of Santa Monica plans for its future airport park, they may want to look to the example of Blue Ash, Ohio, which is in the process of converting a former airport to a new park. That includes restored prairie, a dog park, a great lawn, hiking paths, restaurants and a tower (see below) that promises to offer some pretty tasty views of the Greater Cincy area.
I took a nice walk there Sunday to relieve some Parental Induced Stress, and the place is pretty neat. This was a small airport about the size of the airport in Santa Monica. The park in SaMo, btw, won’t be a terribly far bus or bike ride or walk from the Expo Line’s Bundy Station. I lived near the Blue Ash airport and under the SaMo Airport flight path and it’s exciting to see big, new open spaces go online in urban places.
The LAT’s editorial board urges the Metro Board of Directors to reject and/or heavily modify the agency’s staff recommendation for the 710 Corridor Project. As proposed, option 5C would add one lane in both directions to the 710 between Long Beach and the 60 freeway, add truck bypass lanes at the 405 interchange, upgrade all other interchanges and supply $100 million to encourage clean truck technology.
The LAT’s beef:
It’s unlikely that adding two new lanes will make a lasting impact on congestion because of the phenomenon of “induced demand.” Widening a freeway to ease traffic actually induces more people to drive, which results in similar or worse congestion than before the project. A wider 710 could end up being the same clogged, dirty, dangerous corridor it is today.
Simply widening the freeway is a missed opportunity and a waste of taxpayer money. If Metro and the California Department of Transportation want to spend $6 billion on an anachronistic freeway widening, they ought to use the project as a catalyst for cleaning up the freight industry and advancing the plans for a zero-emission port complex.
So….what would the LAT like to see get done? That’s fuzzier. The editorial suggests maybe reserving the extra lane only for clean trucks or even creating toll lanes for trucks with lower tolls for cleaner trucks. (More press reaction to the 710 project is here).
Attentive Source readers know this isn’t the first time I’ve griped about LAT editorials that oppose or like something (congestion pricing, for example) but then offer no real vision or details about exactly what should get built. I know there are certainly plenty of Source readers who frequently comment on exactly what they want built.
The Metro Board will consider the 710 project at their March 1 meeting. It should be interesting, given the environmental studies for this project have been underway for a decade and the staff-recommended option, with a price tag of $6 billion, is very short of funding. Meaning anything more expensive will be even more short of funding (if my math is correct!). Stay tuned.
And, finally, some thoughts on “induced demand” irrespective of the 710 project. I certainly don’t take issue with the concept as applied to roads — that as supply increases so may demand. I do worry, however, that “induced demand” has become a little too fashionable a term and is being applied to every highway project, even ones that may do some good and improve safety or slow the pace of congestion.
Here’s a thoughtful paragraph from urbanist.co that I think is a little more realistic:
Induced demand is an economic property with solid evidence
The key insight from the market model is that increasing roadway capacity will only make sprawl worse and won’t fight congestion. While car dependence hurts public health and wastes money, this economic principle does not imply that all highway construction is misguided. All planning is local. (Like politics.) There are plenty of good highway projects, but they must be balanced with investment in transit so that our cities can be strong, diverse communities where having a car isn’t a prerequisite for full citizenship.
A problem that touches on many aspects of urban life, including transit.
Can you hear cars now? Montclair bans use of phones, earbuds in crosswalks (Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)
I think it’s a good idea, then again I also think bike helmets are a good idea. I look forward to someone telling me otherwise.
Update: Someone telling me otherwise below!
The very popular scooters aren’t going anywhere, but about $300,000 in Bird money will be going to settle complaints by the city that Bird failed to get business and vendor permits.
Electric-powered bikes, to be exact.
Categories: Transportation Headlines