Sitting in traffic, it’s easy to think â€œbuild more roads.â€ It sure seems logical: More space, less congestion.
But sometimes things aren’t as simple as they seem, at least to alternative transportation proponents.
They are true believers in the â€œif you build it, they will comeâ€ argument. To them, more roads just mean more cars.
The Daily Progress has a good story in yesterday’s paper about alternative methods of transportation in our region and some of the challenges we face. Providing clean, efficient, affordable transportation is a challenge for localities that is further complicated in our region by the fact that the City of CVille and the County of Albemarle get along sometimesabout as well as a couple of two year olds.
County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dennis S. Rooker said he’d be willing to discuss contributing more money if the county played a greater role in CTS planning and decision making and if the county got credit for federal and state funding secured by the city.
â€œWe need to establish a more permanent participation between the city and county,â€ he said. â€œIt’s very difficult for the county to commit to transit if we don’t have any control over the pricing.â€
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Transportation that crosses political boundaries, county and city in this case, is always a complication. I’m definitely an enthusiast for public transportation, but I think the proposals I’ve seen from the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission are more articulated than “build it and they will come.” We have some excellent examples from cities like Portland Oregon that show the value added to communities and real estate through effective public transportation.
I think we are in a pinch because road infrastructure is fairly proven and on the surface it is easier to sell a road widening project than alternatives — even when every traffic science indicator says more and wider roads won’t solve the problem. This is a political and social challenge, made no less difficult by the three legged race known as county and city politics.
Oh boy. No such thing as “affordable” public transit. It costs sometimes 10 times as much to move people in public transit than it does to build roads.
Sure, if you factor in the society costs of automobile use, it gets closer. But hardly.