More research on the futility of widening freeways to speed traffic .
It comes from Houston, where the Katy Freeway (the Interstate 10 corridor west of the city) has grown from eight to 23 lanes thanks to billions and billions in tax money.
Houston commutes continue to get worse despite billions in spending on new road capacity. Traveling from Downtown outbound on the I-10 Katy Freeway to Pin Oak took 51% more time in 2014 than in 2011, according to Houston Tomorrow analysis of Houston Transtar data. The Houston region in recent years has been spending the most per capita on new roads of the ten largest metropolitan regions in the nation.
Houston Tomorrow tabulations of Houston Transtar Data:
In 2014, during peak rush hour, it took 70 minutes, 27 seconds to travel from Downtown, past Beltway 8, all the way to Pin Oak, just past the Katy Mills Mall.
In 2011, this same trip took 46 minutes, 53 seconds.
Yes. You build freeways to distant points and it encourages people to live in distant points and that continues to build traffic. This produces a freeway network that is — in the city center — ghostly quiet for all but about two to three hours on weekdays. And still the suburbanites and dense”fathers” and Arkansas Freeway Department planners think our highest priority should be to insure the quickest possible transit at rush hour from Little Rock to Freeway Director Scott Bennett’s home county of Saline, no matter the damage it might do to downtown neighborhoods with a wider Berlin Wall of concrete.
The Texas projects finished badly over cost estimates, a likelihood not to be dismissed in he “30 Crossing” project to further wreck downtown Little Rock with 10 lanes of people hurrying to far off places. Such projects, too, as Metroplan has noted, will create new demand on other roads — particularly the Mills Freeway — that will require hundreds of millions more in spending and still more neighborhood destruction.
But not to worry. The Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce — which represents Conway, Cabot, Hot Springs and Benton as much as, it not more than, Little Rock — has pre-emptively ruled out any discussion of alternative ideas for Interstate 30. This is the same outfit that brought you the Tech Park — four years after city taxpayers contributed $21 million to this vaunted public/private project and we’ve yet to see a private investment dollar appear. The same people who brought you Tech Park will unveil their campaign today for the “public-private partnership” that will expand the Arkansas Arts Center with a $37 million publicly financed bond issue. Perhaps at the news conference today a committed private dollar will emerge. It would be a welcome departure from script.