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Old June 15th, 2008, 11:50 PM   #2401
Mateusz
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Welcom to USA
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Old June 16th, 2008, 12:30 AM   #2402
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Originally Posted by Chriszwolle View Post
Don't let yourself get carried away by this kind of statements from the green parties.

Generally, the amount of traffic is generated by the amount of people living in a certain area. In the Netherlands 4 - 7 car trips are generated by a typical suburban home per day. (one way each). In general, congestion takes place because too many people want to commute to work on too few capacity. It is true that adding more lanes increases traffic, because generally, the rushhour is now too long for most people, they'd rather leave somewhat later, but don't do that now because of congestion.

Adding lanes does not increase the number of car trips, however, traffic volumes can increase because of changed traffic patterns. The actual number of car trip increases with the growth of population, and spatial changes.

Lines like "easing the congestion by adding more lanes is like trying to loose obesity by loosening the belt" are bad comparisons.

Do you keep that tiny T-shirt if you grows? No, you replace it with one that fits better to your current size. That's also how it works with roadways.

However, I have to agree that Texan freeways are just plain ugly, especially in Houston.
Here's one argument that I didn't include in my last post. Highways can be a great way to get from place to place, but we shouldn't need concrete rivers. We need rail and other public transportation :] there! haha
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Old June 16th, 2008, 12:34 AM   #2403
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Originally Posted by en1044 View Post
theres not a dire need to make it more efficient. Remember, we drive everywhere, we know what were doing. we might have the most efficient highways in the world. Im not saying that everywhere else has it wrong but im pretty sure that for a country of our size we have the driving thing down pretty well. What we have works for us. We dont really have wide roads with little traffic, if anything it seems most of our roads are too small.
Too quick to speak for the entire USA, aren't you? I have driven in much of Europe before settling down in this country, and I can compare how things done here and there. Let me tell you - for their small sizes, European countries have done really well. There are certain things that Americans can learn from Europeans, and not running an interstate through the centre of a huge city is one of them. Another one would be to learn how to build motorways in a way to make a speed limit of 130 km/h possible on them. Believe me, I have driven some hundreds of thousands of kilometres on American roads, so I can judge from experience. When you drive on a perfectly straight road with smooth pavement in a very sparsely populated area, you can't help but wonder why the speed limit is only 105 km/h (65mph in case you can't convert) when it can be 130 km/h or even faster?
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Old June 16th, 2008, 04:14 AM   #2404
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There are certain things that Americans can learn from Europeans, and not running an interstate through the centre of a huge city is one of them.
I've always wondered, what's the downside to having a freeway running through the centre of a city? Is it too much traffic getting off/on the freeway at that section of the freeway, causing a bottleneck?
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Old June 16th, 2008, 04:25 AM   #2405
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Originally Posted by Alex Von Königsberg View Post
Too quick to speak for the entire USA, aren't you? I have driven in much of Europe before settling down in this country, and I can compare how things done here and there. Let me tell you - for their small sizes, European countries have done really well. There are certain things that Americans can learn from Europeans, and not running an interstate through the centre of a huge city is one of them. Another one would be to learn how to build motorways in a way to make a speed limit of 130 km/h possible on them. Believe me, I have driven some hundreds of thousands of kilometres on American roads, so I can judge from experience. When you drive on a perfectly straight road with smooth pavement in a very sparsely populated area, you can't help but wonder why the speed limit is only 105 km/h (65mph in case you can't convert) when it can be 130 km/h or even faster?
there is a flaw in your argument. if you grew up in Europe then of course youre going to think that its better there than here, thats only natural. You point out that building an interstate through a city is bad. Its not. Being that we drive everywhere it makes perfect sense to build a high traffic road through the city to let people get where they want quickly. Interstates usually travel through downtown, obviously for people to get to work as quickly as possible. Having driven on a lot of the roads here, you should know that is some states the speed limit is 75 or even 80 mph. Many western states have the 75 mph limit. Yes nice straight roads are nice, but you dont find a lot of them here due to space, and where they do have them, the speed limits are higher. Honestly theres no need to drive fast on roads anyway, theres no need to waste the gas.

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Old June 16th, 2008, 06:05 AM   #2406
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Originally Posted by Alex Von Königsberg View Post
Too quick to speak for the entire USA, aren't you? I have driven in much of Europe before settling down in this country, and I can compare how things done here and there. Let me tell you - for their small sizes, European countries have done really well. There are certain things that Americans can learn from Europeans, and not running an interstate through the centre of a huge city is one of them. Another one would be to learn how to build motorways in a way to make a speed limit of 130 km/h possible on them. Believe me, I have driven some hundreds of thousands of kilometres on American roads, so I can judge from experience. When you drive on a perfectly straight road with smooth pavement in a very sparsely populated area, you can't help but wonder why the speed limit is only 105 km/h (65mph in case you can't convert) when it can be 130 km/h or even faster?
Here's the thing. When European roads were being built post WWII, there was no racial component. There were no Black neighborhoods that were intentionally drilled through with an interstate because the local and state gov'ts used federal funds to keep the blacks and Hispanics down by destroying their neighborhoods and effectively ghettoizing it. Yes I know things are different in Europe now but when your roads were being built in the 50s and 60s like in the USA, there was not the same racial component that we had over here(or South Africa for that matter).
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Old June 16th, 2008, 07:44 AM   #2407
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Here's the thing. When European roads were being built post WWII, there was no racial component. There were no Black neighborhoods that were intentionally drilled through with an interstate because the local and state gov'ts used federal funds to keep the blacks and Hispanics down by destroying their neighborhoods and effectively ghettoizing it. Yes I know things are different in Europe now but when your roads were being built in the 50s and 60s like in the USA, there was not the same racial component that we had over here(or South Africa for that matter).
Thats very true, and something i totally forgot about. If you go to most major cities in the US theres a good chance that you would be able to see just that, although people not from here would probably have a tough time understanding the concept fully.
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Old June 16th, 2008, 02:22 PM   #2408
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Thats very true, and something i totally forgot about. If you go to most major cities in the US theres a good chance that you would be able to see just that, although people not from here would probably have a tough time understanding the concept fully.
It would be like going into Western Europe today and effectively dividing a ghettoized area occupied by Pakistanis(UK) or North Africans(France) by plowing a Motorway or even express rail line down the middle of their neighborhood and doing it intentionally from a xenophobic point of view.
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Old June 16th, 2008, 05:27 PM   #2409
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I guess I should have expected some reactions on my post in this forum. I guess some of the reason is a difference in approach. Although it in many ways probably will benefit my own country, I believe that global climate change is the largest challenge we face today, and we should try to act accordingly to decrease energy waste. Although there are many other (and often forgotten) sources of CO2, there is not doubt that all countries should try to reduce their emissions from transportation, and city planning is a very large part of it.
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Originally Posted by Chriszwolle View Post
I'm not talking about malls here, they have nothing to do with the fact if you widen freeways or not.
Why not? The desire to go across town by car had of course gone down if you had spent two hours rather than one
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Originally Posted by Chriszwolle View Post
In the Netherlands, all buses are on a total strike for 2 weeks, meaning they don't drive at all. No single effect on traffic jams. Public Transportation vs road traffic is such a large scale difference, the first one can never be a solution to road traffic issues. The growth of the traffic in the last 2 decades alone was more than 2.5 times the total volume of public transportation transported today. In many cases, but not to all, public transportation is not a good way to reduce traffic jams. Only in very dense cities, like Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong or New York, they can make a difference, but traffic is jammed there as well.
I must confess that I do not know very much about Netherlands transport infrastructure. However, from what you and others write on these forums it sounds like your PT system is very much underinvested compared with the road infrastructure (US-style, if you wish). You don't need very dense or huge cities for PT to work. In most major Nordic cities, like Stockholm, Helsinki and Oslo, but also cities in the 150 - 300k range, like Trondheim or Bergen, the fraction of work travels by car is around 50 %. Neither of these cities are particularly dense or huge.
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Originally Posted by Chriszwolle View Post
Spreading work locations creates a situation where there are less dense flows to one job location, and more lighter flows to multiple locations, which ease the traffic jams. I don't see why these would be less efficient to PT. Instead of zero passenger returndrives, you have more passengers both ways. That means less train cars have to be operated, which is cheaper.
A more spread out city structure may of course ease traffic jams, if you heavily invest in roads at the same time (as most US cities have done). However, the traffic (measured in km/person) certainly increases, as proven by numerous studies.

The reason that urban areas with multiple bussiness areas are more difficult for efficient Pt is that there are too many possible routes from residential to bussiness areas. Thus, PT frequencies will be too low on each line, or you have to change lines several times to get to your final destination. This of course make PT both expensive and unpractical.

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Originally Posted by Chriszwolle View Post
In many countries, the car usage is indeed lower, but not that much. The total mileage in California, for instance, is only 20% higher than in the Netherlands, (compared). Unless the city is very dense, there is no way PT is a good solution to all traffic problems.
Not that much?
Here are some 2004 stats from some major industrialized countries of the world, including Norway, of course , based on data from the UK and the US . Numbers are given as 1000 km/person and percentage of the US numbers :
UK: 6.8 73%
France: 5.7 61%
Italy: 3.1 33%
Germany: 7.0 76%
Norway: 6.3 69%
Japan: 4.1 45%
USA: 9.2 100%

See comment about Netherlands above, there were unfortunately no Dutch 2004 numbers on the British site.

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Originally Posted by Chriszwolle View Post
You can see that very good in New York. In Manhattan, 75% of the households does not own a car, and uses PT as their main transportation mode. However, outside the densest area's of New York, it's overwhelmingly suburban in nature, still creating heavy road traffic in and around New York.

So that's also why PT doesn't work in the lower density huge urban areas like Houston or Los Angeles. It's not dense enough. And that's why it does work in Manhattan, Tokyo or Hong Kong. It's dense enough.

Everything stands or falls with the way an urban area or country is build. There is no such thing as calling Public Transportation or the car THE solution in all situations.
You are biting yourself in the tail. If Houston and Los Angeles had a centralized structure like NY the need for car would be significantly less. Of course, to make the cities more energy efficient (and btw nicer) is a long term project, but building new satelite centers is certainly not a move in the right direction.

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It won't make difference.
Land occupied by roads and railways is very small proportion of surface of most of the countries. (exception might be Singapore or Vatican) Of that surface wide median takes even less.
Assuming a median width of 20 m and a length of 75 000 km, it adds up to a total of 1500 km2. I do not think that is insignificant, in fact it is a sixth of the total farmed area of my own country. Of course, there is no point in reconstructing the freeways of the US, but what we are discussing is whether the American solution was the best one, and an example for other countries to follow. I believe not.
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Originally Posted by geogregor View Post
It won't make difference.
I disagree. Wide median makes crossing easier for animals because they can cross one carriageway at the time. Especially when the median is really wide and forrested
I think I chose to trust the biologist rather than you on this one....

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Originally Posted by geogregor View Post
It won't make difference.
Wide median doesn't need lawn mowing, they have to do it just at the edge of carriageways. In the middle even trees might grow and often do.
Then there definately should be a barrier. In any case, trees reduces the line of sight, and conceals wildlife that at any moment could jump onto the road.

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Originally Posted by en1044 View Post
stop trying to act like you know anything about the United States, every one of your arguments are flawed, especially the one about spreading out work places.
Stop characterizing someone you know nothing about. I have lived in almost all corners of the world, including two years in the Twin Cities area. If I did not know so many Americans, your way of communicating would be a perfect occacion to strengthen the stereotype about the ignorant and arrogant average pal....
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Originally Posted by en1044 View Post
and you completely forgot the most of the US's interstates travel through very sparse places. The midwest doesnt have a whole lot of traffic, neither does much of the southwest. Would you rather spend the money to build barriers for hundreds of miles or just widen the road to prevent a crash?

Think about it
In most places, building roads with wide medians is significantly more expensive due to the need for landscaping than setting up a guard rail.

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Originally Posted by Chriszwolle View Post
Don't let yourself get carried away by this kind of statements from the green parties.

Generally, the amount of traffic is generated by the amount of people living in a certain area. In the Netherlands 4 - 7 car trips are generated by a typical suburban home per day. (one way each). In general, congestion takes place because too many people want to commute to work on too few capacity. It is true that adding more lanes increases traffic, because generally, the rushhour is now too long for most people, they'd rather leave somewhat later, but don't do that now because of congestion.

Adding lanes does not increase the number of car trips, however, traffic volumes can increase because of changed traffic patterns. The actual number of car trip increases with the growth of population, and spatial changes.
Setting up new lanes in an urban area does not increase congestion, but all available research shows it certainly increases traffic volumes. You don't have the same effect to the same degree in rural areas, though.
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Old June 16th, 2008, 05:55 PM   #2410
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However, from what you and others write on these forums it sounds like your PT system is very much underinvested compared with the road infrastructure (US-style, if you wish).
Actually, PT is highly overinvested, but largely on megalomanic projects. They invest the same amount of money annually in PT as in roads, yet PT carries 10 times less traffic. A major problem here are the high peaks in PT that lasts a few hours per day, and lower ridership the rest of the day, resulting in higher operating costs.

In a country like the Netherlands, which is dense in nature, though mostly semi-rural, the only effective way to get around is by car. You CAN reach all towns with PT, but that can take up over twice the time. However, PT has a high modal split share between city centers, however, it might look a lot on central stations, that's not where the majority of the traffic comes from or goes to. Except some retail, most jobs are not located in the historic city centers, but on office parks and industrial area's, usually around downtown, or on the outskirts of the cities. However, urban planning is just very bad, for example in North Holland, nearly all new suburban developments take place north of Amsterdam, while most of the jobs are located south of Amsterdam (The Northseacanal to be precise). This creates unnecessary large traffic flows, which our dated capacity cannot handle.

In American cities, perhaps except some city propers like New York, the car is the main mode of getting around. PT has a marginal share, meaning a huge scale difference. That's why PT can never be a solution to traffic problems in most of the US cities. They can relieve it somewhat, but the growth of urban area's immediatly overtops that.
Besides that, walking and cycling is not very popular in US cities due to large distances, climate, humidity and geography. And last but not least, the infrastructure in US cities is not made for cyclists, in contrast to many (but not all) European cities.

I believe that when an urban area is mostly flat, not too large and climatologic circumstances are favorable, cycling is the best alternative to cars. For instance, Dutch people travel more miles on a bicycle than on trains of any kind. The actual share is even higher, since most bike trips are only like 3 - 5 miles, while the average train trip is nearly 25 miles.
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Old June 16th, 2008, 07:46 PM   #2411
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Originally Posted by 54°26′S 3°24′E View Post
I must confess that I do not know very much about Netherlands transport infrastructure. However, from what you and others write on these forums it sounds like your PT system is very much underinvested compared with the road infrastructure (US-style, if you wish). You don't need very dense or huge cities for PT to work. In most major Nordic cities, like Stockholm, Helsinki and Oslo, but also cities in the 150 - 300k range, like Trondheim or Bergen, the fraction of work travels by car is around 50 %. Neither of these cities are particularly dense or huge.
PT isn't that bad here. In fact, we have one of the busiest PT systems in europe with eg europe's busiest bus line and 2 stations with >150.000 travellers a day. Don't underestimate that. But traffic flows between cities and smaller towns are simply too big, and work locations generally too spread out (however, not comparable to american standards) for a bigger amount of commuters to take PT. But instead of this, a big part of people commute on bike, which is much better for the environment than PT and of course MUCH cheaper.
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Old June 16th, 2008, 10:27 PM   #2412
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I posted this in the Los Angeles forum, however I think it fits here aswell.

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Nashville and Kansas City have approximately double the equivalent freeway lane miles of Los Angeles, and traffic congestion is under control in both locations.
First of all, Nashville and Kansas City don't have geographical boundaries, like Los Angels has in the Pacific Ocean and various mountain ranges. Cities along coastlines or in mountainous areas tend to suffer from more congestion, since the population is less evenly distributed. Look at New York for instance.

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This did not have to be the case. Decades ago, the California Highway Department planned to build freeways four miles apart that would have provided close access to virtually the entire community.
I'm sure those freeways would have destroyed the neighborhoods. However, Los Angeles lacks some (short) freeways at crucial points. I think a collector/express setup might be able to relieve some congestion. Like 4 through and 2/3 collector lanes per direction.

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Had all those freeways been built, there would be considerably less traffic congestion in Los Angeles today.
Perhaps, but Los Angeles (and the metropolitan area) is growing like hell. It means new traffic will be generated. However, it's clear more has to be done to accomodate this population growth.

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There was also a lot of wishful thinking that didn't materialize. Policy wonks believed the public would abandon their cars in droves and hop on buses or subways. They didn't.
True. Not only in America, but also in Europe. (not exactly the same though). Europe can be an example to the U.S. to show how an increased population but stable road capacity did not decrease road traffic.

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No amount of transit expansion or rail construction is going to change that.
Also true. transit expansion will only relieve the roads for a marginal amount, and that will be eventually filled up because of the population growth. However, it's wise to invest in mass transit in LA. A lot of area's are dense enough to support a subway.

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Practically speaking, adding capacity isn't a problem. For example, in Tokyo, a city that has more people but fewer cars, double-deck freeways are being constructed in the middle of major surface streets, while major downtown streets are double decked. Little additional right of way is required by these approaches.
That might be true in Tokyo, but with the low taxes on road usage and fuel, there is no way Los Angeles can afford it.

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The last thing Los Angeles needs is higher densities. It may seem ironic, but at the end of the 20th century, Los Angeles faces the nation's most severe traffic congestion because it has become too dense and has too few freeways.
I don't agree on this one. Density is a great way to support and justify a subway system expansion. In my opinion, subways are the most efficient way of transportation in denser cities. Los Angeles has potential here to become less dependent from cars.
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Old June 16th, 2008, 11:34 PM   #2413
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Is Tokyo more dense than Los Angeles? If it is, then whoever wrote that article is missing out on some big points. Lost Angeles can ease traffic congestion. They just don't want to pay for it.
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Old June 17th, 2008, 11:53 PM   #2414
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Being that we drive everywhere it makes perfect sense to build a high traffic road through the city to let people get where they want quickly.
Yeah, we do drive everywhere. There's usually very little choice. I wouldn't continue making arguments like you have that things here in the US are the way "we" like them. Unless you're an urban planner or a transportation big-wig chances are you just deal with the cards you've been dealt. It's not like we all voted to have the current transportation system we have now. I know I wouldn't have voted for the present setup.
I mean, you don't think Europeans need to get to the middle of large cities to go to work or to shop? Of course they do- but many will do so using some sort of transit OR (horrors) drive on surface streets.
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Old June 18th, 2008, 12:02 AM   #2415
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Actually the number of Europeans working in the real (historic) city centers is much lower than in the US, except maybe some cities that were totally destroyed during WW II. For instance, in Paris or Madrid, most office jobs are not directly into the historic city center, but around it. In the United States, every city with a population of 200,000 or higher has some sort of skyline with office buildings.

However, you tend to see a difference in the US, there are more and more suburban office parks, or secondary downtowns, like in Houston. Besides that, a great deal of the low tech jobs are located in suburban environments.
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Old June 18th, 2008, 12:27 AM   #2416
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Okay, I just checked the New York City traffic.

Most problems seem to occur on the outbound tunnels and bridges, as well as on the northbound expressways in Manhattan, and various parkways and expressways in Brooklyn and Queens.

As of 17.20 EST there were 140 miles of traffic jam in the New York metropolitan area.

I really hope they can make some kind of fully electronic tolling on the bridges and tunnels, the current toll booths are responsible for too many traffic jams and delays. However, I'm afraid the NY government sees it as a way to disencourage more people coming to Manhattan or Brooklyn by car, which is understandable. By creating 30 minutes delays per rushhour direction for commuters, they hope not more people are coming into Manhattan / New York by car.

Aren't those bridges and tunnels already payed by the tolls? Most of them are quite old.
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Old June 18th, 2008, 02:19 AM   #2417
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I-80 at the IL/IN border

[IMG]http://i31.************/x22h04.jpg[/IMG]
That satellite photo is old. That stretch of highway is 3+1 in Indiana from the state line to I-65.

Do you honestly think those auxiliary lanes just disappear at the state line?
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Old June 18th, 2008, 02:34 AM   #2418
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Perhaps, but Los Angeles (and the metropolitan area) is growing like hell. It means new traffic will be generated. However, it's clear more has to be done to accomodate this population growth.


Also true. transit expansion will only relieve the roads for a marginal amount, and that will be eventually filled up because of the population growth. However, it's wise to invest in mass transit in LA. A lot of area's are dense enough to support a subway.



That might be true in Tokyo, but with the low taxes on road usage and fuel, there is no way Los Angeles can afford it.

You really are wrong when it comes to freeways. Atlanta, Houston, Dallas and LA have decentralized commercial and office districts and all have horrific traffic congestion. Do you realize how large a freeway network would be needed to service all of these office districts suitably? One that is cost and land prohibitive.You can't all of a sudden develop a whole new freeway network to serve new office parks that were built after the interstates were constructed.



And of course you fail to mention that freeway use causes severe air pollution which LA and Houston suffer from- it shortens the lives of its residents and decreases quality of life.

Freeways consume large ROWs, promote energy inefficent and wasteful sprawl, and destroy the environment.

Mass transit doesn't work as well as it could because it does not receive anywhere near the level of funding as highways. And land use in the US is autocentric and forces people to use their cars to get anywhere. It doesn't have to be that way.
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Old June 18th, 2008, 03:41 AM   #2419
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I could not have said it better, hoosier.
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Old June 18th, 2008, 03:54 AM   #2420
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Originally Posted by Chriszwolle View Post
Actually the number of Europeans working in the real (historic) city centers is much lower than in the US, except maybe some cities that were totally destroyed during WW II. For instance, in Paris or Madrid, most office jobs are not directly into the historic city center, but around it. In the United States, every city with a population of 200,000 or higher has some sort of skyline with office buildings.
There is a huge difference in how the roads are laid out in Europe though. Most cities, aren't gridded, and they follow these sort of "circular" pattern. So going back to a comment about how L.A. originally had plans to build highways four miles apart, many European cities sort of follow this concept. You have city streets in a "circular" pattern, then every couple miles or so, there's a route with relatively limited access. Major intersections on these routes are spaced out and there are often "mini on/off-ramps." A majority of intersections that happen on these routes do not cut across the route, but they only allow traffic to turn right onto the route. And eventually there are routes that become freeways. So it's like...a spider web. Of course, please correct me if I'm wrong.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=e...,0.601501&z=11

Last edited by HAWC1506; June 18th, 2008 at 04:08 AM.
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