Comment 52659

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted December 04, 2010 at 12:40:53

The issue here is that the methods used to optimize auto mobile traffic aren't good for other aspects of urban space. It's no surprise that stretches of Main, Cannon and other streets like them tend to be largely devoid of any businesses which require steady foot traffic, while streets like King and James are filled with small shops and restaurants. Nor is it any surprise that the stretch of King where this happens ends quickly once the narrowed part ends (going to Hess or Queen before it looks like a stretch of Main).

I drive through cities, small towns, industrial areas and major highway junctions all the time. None move fast enough for my tastes, though most could with enough expropriations and added lanes. But would it be worth it? How much of the rest of our life and geography needs to be permanently sacrificed to ensure the fast movement of cars? At what point are we simply cutting commute times (barely) by sacrificing enormous amounts of space? Roads, especially "efficient roads", are not good neighbours. All they do is 'induce demand' (a process well understood by urban geographers) since they make driving a more attractive option, and walking and cycling less attractive.

It's not a matter of whether we're willing to sacrifice our urban freeways, it's a matter of what we're sacrificing for our urban freeways.

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