Brainstorm! Decrease Traffic by Removing Roadways!
According to Erica Barnett over at WorldChanging.com, the recent lane closures on Seattle's I-5 failed to create a highly anticipated traffic snarl. In fact, half of the usual 120k per day traffic simply "disappeared." This led Ms. Barnett to the only possible conclusion: eliminating roadways is an excellent way to reduce traffic! How's that again? "Drivers are adaptable. When faced with the prospect of gridlock—and given ample warning and time to prepare—people found alternate routes, rode transit, worked from home, and avoided unnecessary trips." That doesn't sound too bad at all! In fact, it sounds great! To be fair, Barnett is not entirely insensitive to the Pollyanna factor. "For congestion-as-incentive to work in the long term, it has to be paired with alternatives that are viable in the long term– flexible work schedules that allow workers to stay home a few days a week, mass transit that is affordable, frequent, and convenient, and an infrastructure that supports bike and pedestrian commuting, among other things." Yes, well, meanwhile, she says if King County Metro had provided more buses during the lane closures, they could have rendered the lanes unnecessary. Huh.