No! New! Roads!

Urban Albuquerque has a well written and clearly explanatory blog up, arguing for no more new roads in Albuquerque, and particularly not the new plan for the Paseo del Volcan project, which, as you can see if you click on the link, is considered REALLY important by the city government, cause it is going to solve lots of transportation issues on the West Side. 

It seems obvious that when you’ve got a lot of traffic congestion, opening up new highways and expanding the lanes on the ones you’ve got will help the situation.  Urban Albuquerque argues that the evidence shows that indeed that obviously good method does not work:

“New and widened roads are subject to an economic rule known as “induced demand.” It works like this:

  • Road is built
  • Road becomes congested with traffic
  • Road is expanded
  • Once expanded, road fills up and becomes congested again
  • The Sisyphean cycle continues

New road space encourages more drivers to drive more often. In the meantime, lanes are expanded by sacrificing bike lane width, sidewalk width and, ultimately, quality of life on or around the road.”

Here’s the Paseo del Volcan project, making the list of the 12 worst highway boondoggles in America

The entire project is all about expanding Albuquerque further out to the west of the city, despite the issues we’ve got with water supply.  Which are fairly serious, on account of being in the desert.

And it’s at the expense of maintaining the roads we’ve got.

And making the bicycle network safe and useable and connected.

And improving the transit network.

And, in general, ceasing to stupidly grown further on out into the desert, necessitating more and more driving around.

Now, I grew up here, and driving around, and then more driving around, are foundational parts of life.  It’s hard for us to give up our cars, in the southwest. 

But just cause we’ve got the space to move out doesn’t mean we have to.  We need to build up.  And be a proper city.

I’m convinced.  Here’s the link to StrongTown: No New Roads.