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The University of Rochester, city and state are pushing to spend more than $100 million to add a new interchange on Route 390 at Kendrick Road. The project would also make improvements to the congested Routes 15 and 15A.

The University of Rochester claims it cannot grow and add jobs without its own on-ramp.

There’s a guy who wrote a book called “Walkable City” who slams these kinds of arguments.

Jeff Speck calls traffic studies “bull—-” and talks at length about the phenomenon of induced demand. If you expand roads, more people will drive on them and you’re left with even worse congestion:

Induced demand is the name for what happens when increasing the supply of roadways lowers the time cost of driving, causing more people to drive, and obliterating any reductions in congestion.

(snip)

I was delighted to read the following recently, in Newsweek, hardly an esoteric publication: “demand from drivers tends to quickly overwhelm the new supply; today engineers acknowledge that building new roads usually makes traffic worse.”

(snip)

…you are paying to drive whether you drive or not, in which the more you drive, the less each mile costs, and in which the greatest constraint to driving, then, is congestion. While the cost of the trip will rarely keep us home, the threat of being stuck in traffic often will, at least in our larger cities. Congestion saves fuel because people hate to waste their time being miserable.

Speck isn’t necessarily arguing congestion is a good thing. Rather, he’s saying it’s silly to keep spending tax dollars to encourage more driving and create more congestion. The way to relieve congestion is something no one likes to talk about – public transit.

Meanwhile, the U of R scuttled the bus station component of the College Town project, even though in a recent Rochester Business Journal article, RGRTA said the college is its number one destination. The U of R and the college are still working on a transit plan.

Maybe that should be the priority, not an exit that will likely not alleviate traffic and could make it worse.

Links of the Day:

– RG&E and NYSEG were ripped by the state for managing on the fly and cutting staff.

– The gambling lobby is taking advantage of Hurricane Sandy and telling state officials casinos can help fill state coffers again.

– Say Yes, the organization that offers free college tuition to Syracuse and Buffalo students, often exaggerates its claims of success.

Hotels, some in historic buildings, sprout up in downtown Buffalo.

– The strongest housing markets are in walkable urban areas.

November 19 is World Toilet Day.