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Mariah McKay

I keep pace with all the stop/starters going east on Main every morning.

Sometimes it takes all my will power NOT to ask them through the window "must be fun racing up to all these red lights, eh?"



The main problem with I-985 is that it doesn't go far enough. It should simply state, "All revenues derived by state and local governments from taxes on motor vehicles or motor vehicle fuel shall be expended on improvements to the highway infrastructure used by those vehicles, for the purpose of relieving congestion and reducing trip times."

Sorry, Barb, but building park-and-ride lots, bike paths, et al, does NOT relieve congestion, simply because 90% of commuters don't use them and won't, no matter how many you build. The time to build up that portion of the infrastructure is when the demand for it appears --- and when those users ---not auto users --- are prepared to pay for it.

It is not the role of government to be "encouraging" certain modes of transportation over others. Its role is to accomodate the demonstrated preferences of the citizens who are paying the taxes.


Hamilton Street between Mission Avenue and North Foothills Drive - you can drive the whole thing without stopping if you go 20 MPH - that's always been my favorite stretch of road... :)


Monroe between downtown and Garland at 28 mph.

Division/Ruby between from downtown to Queen at 30-35mph.

I wonder if "they" time the lights so that you have to stop at northtown?

The best cruise is dead. Riverside between Monroe and Division on Friday night. Gridlocked all the way... perfect.

Is there a movement? Bring back cruising Riverside dot org?

SF Columbia

Barb...are you seriously contending that traffic lights should not be synchronized and that the road system should be managed for the benefit of cyclists and not automobiles?

Furthermore, the micromanagement is by creating HOV lanes...not by opening them up to all traffic. Here's a brilliant idea...let's take a lane of traffic in an area that is already overly congested and let's not allow 90+% of the autos on the road to use said lane because the people in those autos don't conform to what a minority of people think everyone should be doing. HOV lanes create more congestion...they don't relieve it.

Government exists to serve the will of the people governed...not the other way around.


Thanks Metro Spokane for covering this topic. It's an important one.

I disagree with Mariah's statement. It is certainly the role of government to provide the infrastructure that promotes the best long term sustainability for the community. Why? Partly because whatever we invest in we are encouraging. Gov. has encouraged auto-oriented lifestyle every since world war two, now it is time to pull the nation out of that. Our government has created an artificial market for autos by subsidizing fuel and car over transit transportation infrastructure for over 50 years. Therefore it can't be treated as a pure supply and demand question. There is plenty of data to point to that proves that if you build the infrastructure for alternative transportation people will use it. It is funny to hear someone say people won't use the park and rides when the lot on the north side has been overflowing for months! But as cities who have recieved infrastructure funding (like Austin and Portland) have proven, if you build it, people use it.
Even if you want funding for bike and ped to be purportional to use, it would still require more funding. For more info check out http://www.completestreets.org/
and my personal favorite, www.sightline.org, or for more resources http://www.sightline.org/search?SearchableText=transportation&review_state=published&review_state=premium&review_state=public

Thanks everyone for caring about the future of transportation.



Contrarian & SF,

Do either of you live in the City of Spokane? Just askin'.


The STA says that Park and Ride parking lots are overflowing. Seems people are using them.


SF Columbia

TheNon: I'm not sure why that's relevant or germane to the discussion. Is it relevant that another poster came here from Seattle to represent the interests of a political group from that city?

Saying the creation and maintenance of roads has created an artificial market for gas and autos is like blaming the water system for an artificial market in cups and Country Time lemonade.

Or blaming the power lines for creating an artificial market for appliances.

Infrastructure should be built and maintained to allow people to go about their day to day activities in business and life. Not to fit some social construct which is adopted and posited by an underwhelming minority of people.

The fallacy of the efficiency and cost effectiveness of light rail has been repeatedly documented. here's an interesting research brief on the topic: http://www.washingtonpolicy.org/Centers/transportation/policybrief/08_Ennis_LightRail.pdf

The real artificial market is in public transit. When governement refuses to build and maintain roads; secure a reliable and affordable energy supply; and massively subsidizes bus, ferry and light rail construction, maintenance and operation to serve a market that doesn't exist and will only exist if people are forced out of their autos and onto public transit.

And I'm utterly shocked that STA would justify its bloated existence by claiming that it's park and rides are overflowing. I'm certain it's the case at some park and rides and not at others (the one I drive by every day is usually 1/2 to 2/3 empty).


Smack in the middle, TheNon.

Kitty repeats once again the oft-repeated fallacy that government "subsidizes" auto use. Virtually all of the cost of intercity highways is paid for by the users of those highways, through license fees and fuel taxes. In fact, that class of travelers subsidizes almost all alternative modes of transportation. Auto users are net subsidy providers, not net subsidy consumers.

I have no objection at all to more park/ride lots, provided the users of those lots --- and not auto users --- are charged for their construction and maintenance. Slap a parking fee on those lots and build them until supply equals the revenue thus raised. Likewise for bike paths and transit.


Contrarian, you forget about many things, including the true cost of automobile use and the related infrastructure. What about the cost to society, especially in the future, of all that pollution and waste? What about the time spent stuck in traffic, not exercising and getting fatter? What about the lost real estate for acres of huge parking lots and endless multi-lane roads?

I would also propose that the vast majority of cyclists, pedestrians and mass transit users pay more than their fair share for the related infrastructure. Many own personal vehicles, and just choose to use them less of the time, either out of a sense of social responsibility, or economic necessity. But they still pay license fees and sales tax. And fuel tax when they use the vehicle.

Most work and pay income taxes, which goes into the same general fund as fuel taxes.

We should thank these alternative users for being stuck paying as much as they do, and furthermore, for reducing congestion. Don't you think reducing congestion by convincing 10% of the users to choose alternative transportation, is a lot less expensive than increasing road capacity by 10%?

Do your answers change when gasoline is $8 per gallon instead of $4?

Barb Chamberlain

To respond to one question, I believe from SF Columbia--
I wasn't proposing that lights should be synchronized for cyclists at the expense of motorists. I am in both categories, although my driving now is pretty rare.
One point is simply that synchronizing of traffic lights will affect different types of transportation alternatives (they're ALL transportation "alternatives", i.e. choices you make from a range of options) in different ways. In our car-centric world, it's easy to forget the other users of the streets.
Even for vehicles, if you're a stop & start speedster, you are probably still going to be rushing up to lights and slamming on your brakes. If you're driving a bus and someone does or does not want to use a particular stop, it will change your rate of travel through a given stretch.
I loved seeing that people responded to my specific question about favorite stretches of road and light timing, which was the second point: how we interact with our streets and get to know them in all their idiosyncrasies.
Note in the comments that various stretches require different rates of travel to catch the lights--and none of the speeds mentioned match up with the speed limit on those stretches of roads.
As a driver, don't you love the sensation of swooping through light after light? It's like winning a game, and it's even more fun for me on a bike because I'm making it happen through personal effort. But if you're experiencing that in your direction of travel, then someone going in another direction is waiting somewhere.
So I don't think any traffic engineer, no matter how clever, is going to solve all congestion with traffic light timing. The issue plays to the real frustration of people stuck in traffic but it's not a perfect fix—that doesn’t exist.


If present gas taxes etc. are covering the costs of the roads, why the heck can't they cover the cost of the NS Freeway? answer? because we need tons of money from the state and feds because present fees and taxes don't come close to paying for roadways, so subsidies, form someone and somewhere, have to make up the difference. I'm with those who would have drivers such as myself pay full freight and subsidize less wearing modes of transportation to get cars off the road.

I'll tell you one stretch I don't like. Second Avenue. I know exactly where I'll stop depending on the particular light I hit after getting off Washington. If I get through Lincoln, which is rare, I know I'll be stopping around Jefferson because of the timing. Either way, I see the same cars at Maple that I do at Washington. I wish they'd get out of my way so I could motor on through, but no.


Answers to your questions, Schrauf:

"What about the cost to society, especially in the future, of all that pollution and waste?"

Auto emissions are not "pollution" unless they have adverse health effects. I don't think that is an issue in Washington State. Use of resources is not "waste" if it is necessary to satisfy a desire of the user, e.g., to travel between two points at the time, over the route, and under the conditions preferred by the traveler.

"What about the time spent stuck in traffic, not exercising and getting fatter?"

Those are factors whose importance must be weighed by each traveler. They cannot be weighed for him by politicians. He doesn't need another mother.

"What about the lost real estate for acres of huge parking lots and endless multi-lane roads?"

If that is the use desired by the owners of that real estate, then it is not "lost." That holds also if the owner is the public.

"Don't you think reducing congestion by convincing 10% of the users to choose alternative transportation, is a lot less expensive than increasing road capacity by 10%?"

I have no problem with anyone trying to convince anyone of anything. But forcing travelers to use less desirable modes, by refusing to provide the modes they prefer and for which they are paying, is not "convincing" them. It is herding them.

"Do your answers change when gasoline is $8 per gallon instead of $4?"

No. The rise in gas prices from $2/gal to $4/gal amounts to an additional $83/month for the average driver of a 20 MPG SUV who drives 10,000 miles/year. The driver of an economy compact may spend half that. Few people will opt for the wasted time, inconvenience, and lack of comfort of transit or bicycling to save $40 or even $80/month. They'll just plan their travel a bit more carefully, or give up a couple of large pizzas instead.

But in any case, if people switch to an alternate mode to save money, so be it. Then the state can respond to that change in demand. That's the issue --- the state should be responding to expressed demand with its transportation spending, not trying to shape it in pursuit of some ideological goal.


Contrarian - How about we just have the car companies pay for all road construction? It worked for heavy rail. Problem solved.

SF, the idea of mandating the synchronization of traffic lights using a state initiative makes as much sense as your logic that more people in SOVs will relieve congestion.

The best route is along Spokane Falls Blvd by the Park towards Monroe.


Contrarian, it's hard to take you seriously when you make such a silly claim as auto emissions are not pollution unless they harm our health. You have some reasonable points, but this sort of folly makes you look silly. All those folks who kill themselves using carbon monoxide generated by their cars? Simply a sleeping aid? It's only pollution in the particular passenger compartment or garage but not in the wider world, because it's dispersed I assume. This is the sort of relativism I'd expect a liberal to be accused of. Come on and stop being silly.


SF and Contrarian -
Why exactly are you here? All I ever see is you two spouting ridiculous paranoia about liberals, "westsiders" and hippies. This a blog advocating a progressive stance toward Spokane's development.

The people on this online community think bikes are important. They think cars might be part of the problem instead of the solution. Get over it. We are trying to transcend this B.S. baby boomer red state/blue state mentality you constantly espouse and make something better of our city and region. If you're looking to turn everything into political debate go check out Huckleberries Online, you can keep on fiddling there while the world burns down.

Thank you.


I don't know of any cases where locomotive or railcar manufacturers paid for building tracks, Metro. As far as I know, all the construction costs were paid for by the users, i.e., the railroads and their customers.

Bradley -- there is an old maxim in toxicology that "the poison is in the dose." CO in the atmosphere below a certain level is not toxic, therefore not "pollution." Even oxygen is toxic above certain partial pressures. But that does not make it a "pollutant."


I don't believe I've ever used any of the terms "liberals," "westsiders," or "hippies" in any post here, S.

And you would speak more accurately by saying "*some* people in this online community think bikes are important." And of course you'd be right. But 95% of the people in the community at large don't --- at least, not important enough to substitute them for their cars. You cannot possibly "make things better for our city and region" by ignoring the preferences of 95% of their residents, or by presuming to tell them what is good for them.


Contrarian -

You routinely cite what the majority of the people want as a solution for gauging a problem. As I am an advocate for majority rule, this is not to say what the majority wants is always right.

If it were up to the majority of people in Alabama, there is more than a good chance segregation would still be alive and well in the deep south today. Remember Governor George Wallace proclaiming “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” in the 1960‘s ? The vast majority of Alabama voters gladly handed him the governorship on this twisted ideology.

This is why vision and leadership are so crucial, especially in these volatile and uncertain times. Gas prices are soaring, fossil fuels are finite, and the world’s population only continues to grow. Communities which stand a chance of succeeding will use their resources wisely and explore and consider alternative ways of transporting people from point A to point B.

This is not your father’s, or grandfather’s “Leave it to Beaver” type of world anymore. It is up to us to save ourselves from ourselves. If we sit idly by and wait for the time when “demand appears”, we run the risk of being ill-prepared and placing ourselves in avoidable, precarious situations. But if we are proactive and recognize the warning signs which become more and more visible each day, we increase the chances for having a successful, healthy community which strikes a balance between human activity and the natural environment in which we live.


The pollution and waste caused by too many SOV's, vs. mass transit, bikes, etc., is not just measured by the immediate health effects, but the long-term impact to global warming (from daily carbon emissions, as well as the energy necessary to manufacture 4000-pound vehicles for each and every person). Global warming may eventually affect everyone.

Higher fuel costs impact much more than just the fill-up of your own vehicle. Roads and infrastructure become much more expensive, food and every other good that takes energy to produce, and then is transported, becomes more expensive. Alternative transportation choices, most of which conserve energy, decrease energy demand, and therefore the cost. The savings is more than just the fuel you directly purchase.


I’m ok with traffic congestion; in fact, I would like to see the current money we spend on building new roads to improving our existing streets i.e. street trees, permeable pavement, bike lanes, and maybe even timing based on local conditions instead of relieving congestion.

The purpose of government is to protect the health, safety, and welfare for ALL people not impose the majority’s will on everyone nor the tyranny of minority on the majority. The bottom line for me is that almost every road should accommodate a diverse membership of users.

SF Columbia


I'm sorry you're uncomfortable reading points of view with which you do not agree or which are not in line with the accepted dogma.

However, many issues discussed on this forum are of a political nature; case in point, this thread was started as a discussion of I-985 which is of course a political matter.

I think bikes are important as well...I just choose to ride mine on dirt trails and roads and I disagree that orienting our transportation system around bikes and mass transit is progressive...in fact it sounds rather early 20th century to me...which would of course be regressing and not progressing.

If your goal is to improve the City and region then we share the same goal. We just have different beliefs and philosophies about how to achieve that goal and what that goal should look like. I for one don't feel it's my business (or government's) to control (with some exceptions) how other people live their lives or orient their day to day activities.

Many people who post on this site want to follow the model of Seattle and/or Portland. However, in my estimation both of those cities are much less livable than they were 20 years ago. Furthermore, what's good for Portand and/or Seattle is not necessarily good for Spokane. Spokane is a different place with different strengths and different needs. Furthermore, perhaps people choose to live here because it's not like Seattle or Portland; I know that's one of the reasons I live here. I believe Spokane is a much better place along a much broader spectrum.

I'll continue to post so long as METRO allows and you can choose to read my posts or not and/or engage me in discussion or not. And yes, I do live within the City of Spokane.


Contrarian, you can cite an oft used maxim for some things, but you still display a significant lack of knowledge. If it's only about dosage, I supposed you would be fine with me burning a pile of old railroad ties where the smoke can waft into your breathing space? If it doesn't kill you, I guess it will make you stronger, right? But it's not poison, unless it kills or sickens immediately? Pure hokum. Auto emissions are pollutants despite your desire to define them away. Saying so does not make it so. I'll go with the word of those in the field, those who have spent their education and careers studying these things. I've seen the lichens in the Red Rock Conservation Area outside of Las Vegas and how they are being degraded because of air pollution, primarily from autos. If it's toxic to those plants, while it may not kill me today, it sure isn't lengthening my life.

When it comes to users of railroads, they did not pay for railroad development. The government granted the railroads one-square mile allotments of forest checker-boarding the right-of-way. If you are going to be contrary, at least get a handle on the history of the factoids you're going to toss about. It seems that as far as you know isn't very far in this instance. If you want to argue a point, at least come up with viable and accurate examples to make your point.

SF Columbia is right that Seattle is less livable, largely because of auto congestion. When I grew up, we could get from Magnolia or Queen Anne into the heart of downtown in 10 or 15 minutes, now it's 25-30 and it's all because of congestion and cars. It sure ain't bikes clogging those streets and stinking up the air.



The major flaw in your argument is,

"Communities which stand a chance of succeeding will use their resources wisely and explore and consider alternative ways of transporting people from point A to point B."

Communities don't have any resources. All the resources found within them belong to particular people. Each person is entitled to use his own resources to meet his own needs and satisfy his own desires, and is obliged to allow all other persons to do likewise. As costs for various commodities change, each of those persons is perfectly competent to adapt to those changes in the manner that is optimum for him, in light of his other goals and preferences. No politician can optimize those adjustments for him.



The question raised re: the railroads was, "Who financed track construction?" And the answer was, "the railroads."

The gummint did indeed award land grants to many railroads --- as well as to homesteaders, farmers, schools (i.e., WSU), miners, and just about everyone else who asked. The reason was that the gummint considered itself merely the trustee for that land, whose job was to privatize as much of it as possible, in order to make it productive.

If emissions have measurable detrimental effects, then regulation is in order. It is not in order merely to satisfy an abstract concept of "purity."



Markets are excellent at optimizing resource use in response to changing costs. Governments are notoriously lousy at it (e.g., the late, unlamented Soviet Union). Read some Hayek to understand why.

SF Columbia

Seattle is less livable for many reasons: the expense; the density; the congestion; the iron clad orthodoxy; the restrictions; taxation; failure to build and maintain adequate infrastructure; failure to adequately ensure public safety and many more items that impact every day life.

My argument remains that the policies that have made Seattle less livable are the same policies that are being pushed currently in Spokane; anti-growth; greater density; over regulation; impact fees; growth "management"; higher taxation; less services; etc.


The discussion here is great, but it's slid waaay off topic (Eyeman plays traffic engineer). Please keep it on topic.

For example, if it deals with political ideology and economic theory you're probably off topic. Try reason.com. If you're talking about the efficacy of 'timed lights' in an urban environment or HOV lanes, that's probably on topic.


It's hard to separate the two, Metro. For example, you will obviously get the highest throughput of traffic on a street --- the best travel efficiency --- if signals are timed for the largest class of users, which would be automobiles. (You also gain the best air quality via that strategy). Similarly, you will realize the most efficient use of roads if they are laned to accomodate the largest class of users. If you reserve 1/3 of the capacity of the road for 10% of the traffic, as with HOV lanes, you have sacrificed efficiency.

Obviously, such strategies are not implemented for reasons of efficiency, but for for ideological reasons.

So you're right back to the ideology.


Couple further observations on the efficiency of HOV lanes. They have a significant effect on the efficiency of freight transport, trucks being the major mode of transporation for that commerce. Congested roads result directly in higher shipping costs for everything transported by truck. That, in turn, affects the appeal of that locality as a place to do business, which bears directly on *the* major factor in a commmunity's quality of life, namely, its economic health.

Spokane's environment for truck traffic is not bad, except for north-south travel. We certainly don't wish to make it worse.

It is reasonable to hypothesize that designating HOV lanes may encourage more "communal commuting," and thereby remove some vehicles from the roads. There is no harm in testing that hypothesis. But after a year or so, if you've discovered that the reduction in vehicles has not exceeded the loss of capacity, then (if you are rational) you get rid of those HOV lanes.

That does not happen, of course. Why not? Well, ideology again.


Isn't an ideology that attempts to define itself as a lack of ideology still an ideology?

SF Columbia

Rather than implementing ideological policies that restrict people's day to day activities why not try a more market-based approach?

For example: instead of taking one lane of traffic and restricting its use to only those vehicles whose occupants choose to carpool (or a parent with his or her kids in the car); why not have a lane dedicated to truck traffic (and those trucks could pay a fee for the privilege)? That would of course open up space on the rest of the road for passenger vehicles. You could also open the "special lane" to passenger vehicles that pay a fee (while keeping the rest of the road "free") thereby raising revenue at the same time as moving traffic more efficiently. I believe some states have incorporated such ideas already.

HOV lanes are generally a waste of effort and money.

Building more roads is not inherently a bad thing. If the NSC does nothing more than remove truck traffic off of the major N/S arterials in Spokane it will be worth being built due to the reduction in conjestion, emissions and wear and tear on the arterials. Of course the NSC will also carry passenger traffic and very well may lead to additional development of land for commercial purposes (and perhaps residential) which will be a boon as well.


Wow, Contraraian and SF you two need to get your info straight.

Over the last year there was a decrease of 9.6 billion miles driven in the United States.

Where did you go to traffic engineering school? Study after study has shown that adding a lane of traffic is always a temporary solution on highways never a long term one.
"Supply and demand my friends" as your hero John McCain would say.

Haven't you ever seen field of dreams? If you build it, they will come. That has shown to be true all across the U.S. with bike facilities and public transportation. I would rather be building facilities for sustainable transportation modes than unsustainable SOV traffic.

I know this will not change your mind. You will find a way to distort reality to match your selfish views.

Have fun voting for Ron Paul or Bob Barr and watch our potholes get bigger than they already are! The government is the voice of the people. It is just too bad that some of the people are too stupid to see past their own self-interest. Hello! We are living in a society! (sorry I just couldn't resist quoting George Costanza) :)


I'll take your word for the 9.6 billion over the last year, J. It would have been helpful had you pointed out that figure represents 0.3% of the total 2.8 trillion miles travelled last year by personal vehicles.


Growth of that travel has averaged 1 to 1.5% annually over the last 20+ years.


A decline of 0.3% in a year when fuel prices doubled is not terribly impressive, I'm afraid.

But you're right that adding a lane of traffic is always a temporary solution, as long as population growth continues. So is adding another bus or bike path. As long as growth continues, you'll always have to add yet another from time to time.

Afraid private vehicles are here to stay, J, simply because they are by far the most efficient means of meeting the personal travel goals of people. And those are what must be satisfied; not the synthetic goals of planners or the communal longings of tribalists.


Contrarian, I'm not sure where you learned how to count or where you buy your gas, but on June 6, 2007 the U.S. average for a gallon of gasoline was $3.11. On June 6, 2008 the U.S. average for a gallon of gas was $4.03. Look it up. That is the year referenced for the 9.6 billion reduction in miles traveled.

[mod edit] 3.11 X 2 = 6.22 (your claim of gas doubling in price) not 4.03. And I would say that it is a pretty significant story to see miles driven decline over a year after seeing a constant and steady increase. [mod edit-keep it civil]

By the way, you forgot an important part of your final paragraph. "private vehicles are the most efficient means of meeting the personal travel goals of people WHO CHOOSE TO LIVE FAR AWAY FROM THE SERVICES THEY WANT OR NEED."

If taking back the five minutes you would save by opening up the HOV lane is that important to you and you HAVE to drive alone, buy a motorcycle and use the HOV lane. [mod-edit] You'll enjoy getting home at the same time as the rest of the people doing their part to make this a better state.


Sorry Metro. I should know better. I just had trouble shaping a response without sounding too condescending and one without sarcasm. :) I'll keep it civil from now on.


I'll leave it to readers to judge the significance of the 0.3% decline in vehicle miles traveled. What you are seeing there is the market responding, in typical fashion, to a change in a factor price. Once a new equilibrium is reached, the growth rate will resume, to match the growth in population.

You're certainly correct that "private vehicles are the most efficient means of meeting the personal travel goals of people WHO CHOOSE TO LIVE FAR AWAY FROM THE SERVICES THEY WANT OR NEED." They are are also the most efficient means for people who prefer to vary their routes on the spur of the moment, make impromptu stops along the way, contemplate the meaning of life during the drive to and from work without the distraction of chattering fellow passengers, smoke while they are driving, argue with the callers on a talk radio station, snuggle with their sweeties, and do all kinds of other things not feasible on a bus or with carpoolers present. In short, private vehicles are the most efficient means of travel compatible with living where they choose, and traveling under the conditions they choose --- not those others would choose for them.

As for making this a better state, I'd suggest the best state is that which allows the most people to live the kinds of life they choose. No doubt you have a different criterion.


METRO - would you please end Contrarian's and his ilk's inane diatribes? They are off topic and distract from the conversation as a whole. They consistently take over good topics that you bring up and as a result decrease the amount of posts that I put on here. This is not because I'm not interested in "varying views" as I'm sure some would contend. Instead it is that these varying views amount to a regressive dogma that simply values the individual over the collective to the degree that what would make Spokane great is for us all just to have more "privacy" and SOV's so that we can all do exactly what we'd like without anybody else impacting us. Privacy and SOV's have their place, but I for one am tired of having that rammed down our throats when we're trying to talk creatively about some further options to the way things have been for the last 60 years.


now back to timing of traffic signals as Barb had written about if people can remember back that far... :) I ride my bike down 2nd and 3rd quite a bit and those light seem to work well if you can handle about 30-35 mph which I can do on the slight downhill of 2nd, but not slight uphill of 3rd. I would advocate that streets in areas zoned as pedestrian oriented - auto accommodating ought to be timed to accommodate cyclists, but streets such as 2nd and 3rd should be more oriented in their timing towards autos... just a thought.


Say no to censorship! Let people post as they see fit and espouse their views. Readers can choose to respond or not. Forums and life would be boring if we all thought the same.

SF Columbia


I'll admit...I'm not a traffic engineer. But if I were a traffic engineer and I was basing my traffic and policy analysis on the plot of a movie, I don't believe I would choose "Field of Dreams" (although I love that movie). Instead I believe I would choose the movie "Singles" wherein one of the main characters gets an audience with the Mayor of Seattle to pitch his idea for "light rail." The Mayor's response is concise and rational: "People love their cars."

I disagree that building more bike lanes will appreciably reduce traffic congestion but building more roads will increase traffic congestion.

I do however agree with you that it's too bad some people can't look beyond their own self-interest...although I don't think stupidity has anything to do with it.


This thread is about I-985 which under the single issue rule pertains to "transportation." The Initiative includes more than just traffic signal synchronization. But sticking to the traffic signal portion; please explain to me how synchronizing automobile traffic signals in such a way as to primarily serve modes of transportation that are unable to maintain the posted speed limit will somehow improve traffic flow for the automobiles? By that rationale we should time the lights (and crosswalks) for foot traffic. But then that wouldn't work because people walk at different speeds and if we choose a speed that's too quick we'll discriminate against slow walkers and if we choose a speed that's too slow will discriminate against speed walkers. Cripes...this alternative modes of traffic planning is hard! Perhaps the easiest answer is to plan for the modes of transporation for which the roads and lights were developed: vehicles.

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