Tuesday, May 08, 2007

FC Has Bad Traffic; Star-News Gripes

File this one in the "So what should we do about it" category. The PSN has an editorial saying that traffic is the worst part of being alive and living in the FC.

That's right: worse than terrorism, worse than gangs ("Gang members tend to kill other gang members; only when innocents get in the way does the greater community take notice." Um, "get in the way?" Sounds awfully like they're blaming the victims), and worse than global warming (No! Impossible!).

So, what else is new? This traffic epidemic didn't just explode on the scene. And what does the PSN recommend? Massive public investment in infrastructure? Innovative new private toll roads to offer alternate routes? Deregulating the bus industry to allow better service and competition? Broader commitment to light rail?

Actually, no, all the unsigned editorial says is that "Southern California transportation officials ought to take note. We, too, have a crisis on our hands that demands swift, immediate attention."

Ah, yes, if only local transportation officials would just take note. Next time, guys, let's come up with some solutions, because folks in the Foothill Cities are aware of traffic. After all, we're the ones sitting in it.


Night Rider said...

The only problem with any solution to traffic problems, is that it breeds more traffic problems. For instance making freeways wider, only makes it easier for more people to live here. Build another freeway and see what happens. A couple years it will fill up too...Traffic should be used as a population control, in FC as elsewhere in the Southland.

Roger, Gone Green said...

Perceived roadway capacity creates new trips until the road is considered "full" by commuters.

The 210 extension is a prime example: Wide open a couple years ago, it is gridlocked at rush hour now too.

In the end what we mean by too much traffic is "too many cars in front of me;" and of course, the adjunct "my car is not part of the problem."

The Solution: The only way to have fewer cars on the road is to put fewer cars on the road.

Well, duh. But again, that means to put your car and my car on the road fewer times. Since we don';t seem willing to do this on our own, then perhaps we need some incentives (sticks and carrots) to get us to take three simple steps:

1. Live near your work or work near your home. Kills the commute woes and makes it easier to try step No. 2

2. Walk, Bike, Ride transit. Start on the weekend and vow to park the car for 24, then 48 hours. Many foothill cities have local stores and services such that a car is not needed at all, often. (I.e. Pasadena)

3. Press local officials HARD for cheap or free local transit, running on 5 minute headways, cris-crossing your local city. Then use it.

Centinel said...

Roger, good suggestions. But it's interesting to think that some of them could offer perverse incentives. For instance, living near where you work, at least for cities like Pasadena, is often a challenge for low to median income folks. But if you offer cheap transit, such as the Murder Bus (the ol' 187), local businesses can still get their minimum wage employees for cheap, because people can pay a dollar and commute from Glendora to Azusa.

But that's not necessarily a good thing, since the result may be artificially depressed wages. Without the cheap transit, local businesses would be forced to pay higher wages to people who had to pay more to live close to work.

I will say that No. 2 could be easily implemented by most people. Even when time is precious, walking to the store can double as a little cardio, so the time doesn't go to waste (not to mention the myriad other benefits that come from actually walking through and being a part of your community).

Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

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