Tuesday, February 5, 2008

HOT lanes and traffic

I've been reading a lot of articles and editorials about HOT lanes and their potential pitfalls. There seems to be a growing population that would rather are the state pursue some alternative. Let me add a stick to the fire...

If the state were to improve I-95 by widening the entire thing, wouldn't that just further encourage urban sprawl? Suddenly land in Caroline might become prime commuter area. And no matter how far they improved 95, the problems would follow!

I have seen where the state is exploring bus transport. Great idea, public transportation, how original. But it requires lanes for buses to bypass the slow vehicle traffic. I do see how having the HOT lanes could provide for this. Right now there are a few bus services in Fredericksburg and spotsylvania, but they have to deal with congestion all the way to dale city.

The answer to our problems should lie in incentivising drivers to get off the roads, she the way to do that is either through a complete public transport system, or some type of HOV or bus lanes. This area has a unique market driven system of slugging based just on the HOV lanes. Here I would say that the original plan has succeeded in getting vehicles off of the road.

When we moved back to the area, one of the deciding factors on where to but was the availability and cost of commuting. I am happy that we chose the city of Fredericksburg with its train station and variety of bus services.

I am deeply concerned that we are quickly developing huge tracts of land. While we are not setting aside enough natural area to support wildlife and our ecosystem. And if you don't want to hear about nature, think about where will our grandchildren build their new homes? All of this comes back to thinking about what is best for the road system. As we make improvements, can we make the incentives such that we preserve the population centers, and manage growth in a way that is intended.

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