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Author Topic: California Highway Headlines for March 2018  (Read 619 times)

cahwyguy

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California Highway Headlines for March 2018
« on: March 31, 2018, 10:52:40 PM »

I ain't no fool, about California Highways. Here are your headlines:

https://cahighways.org/wordpress/?p=14038

Ready, set, discuss.
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Daniel - California Highway Guy ● Highway Site: http://www.cahighways.org/ ●  Blog: http://blog.cahighways.org/ ● Follow California Highways on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cahighways

sparker

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Re: California Highway Headlines for March 2018
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2018, 12:47:34 AM »

Three topics right off the bat: 
(1)  Temescal Canyon widening:  long necessary; vastly increased housing in the Elsinore-Murietta-Temecula corridor has rendered I-15 all but a dead stop NB in mornings and SB in late afternoon.  The parallel "old road" (old CA 71) down the canyon, mostly 2 lanes, is bearing most of the brunt and, at least the last time I was down there some 6 years ago, pretty well worn out as well as totally inadequate for the traffic load.  Aside from expanding I-15 to 10-12 total lanes (a non-starter), bringing Temescal out to 6 "suburban arterial" lanes, with channelization as needed, would probably provide some amelioration -- but watch out; in that region even tripling the capacity will be only a very short-term fix.
(2)  The Cholame/CA 41/46 junction project seems interesting, if Caltrans doesn't half-ass it!  $261M should provide a decent EB-NB flyover for CA 41 -- let's hope that is the solution being considered -- not just channelization with signals (please!). 
(3)  Re the Richmond-San Rafael bridge conflict:  instead of a constant "that lane's mine -- no, it's mine!" argument between commuters and cyclists/pedestrians, it might behoove Caltrans to engineer and install a set of gates at each end of the bridge (EB at the San Quentin approach and WB between the toll plaza and the high-rise) that let peak-hour commuters use the additional lanes (let's say 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.), with non-motorized traffic blocked off during those hours, but the opposite the remaining 16 hours of the day, with traffic restricted to the 2+2 configuration and the adjoining lane (separated by a barrier) open to cyclists and pedestrians.  Just a thought from a pretty regular bridge user.       
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skluth

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Re: California Highway Headlines for March 2018
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2018, 12:54:52 PM »

Three topics right off the bat:   
(3)  Re the Richmond-San Rafael bridge conflict:  instead of a constant "that lane's mine -- no, it's mine!" argument between commuters and cyclists/pedestrians, it might behoove Caltrans to engineer and install a set of gates at each end of the bridge (EB at the San Quentin approach and WB between the toll plaza and the high-rise) that let peak-hour commuters use the additional lanes (let's say 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.), with non-motorized traffic blocked off during those hours, but the opposite the remaining 16 hours of the day, with traffic restricted to the 2+2 configuration and the adjoining lane (separated by a barrier) open to cyclists and pedestrians.  Just a thought from a pretty regular bridge user.       

As someone who was once a bike commuter (I didn't own a car until I was 29), saying bicycles can only use the bridge during non-rush hours would be a non-starter. Commuters work the same hours as everyone else. They need a lane 24/7, not 16/7, and especially when most of that 16 is between 7PM and 6AM. (Apparently, you think bicycles only need to use the bridge from 10-3 during the day.)

I don't travel that way, so I'm unfamiliar with the bridge's traffic patterns. If one way is busier, make the bike lane on one side during the AM and switch it for the evening commute. This could give an extra lane eastbound for cars from say 1 AM to 11 AM and westbound from 1 PM to 11 PM.

Another possibility is to suspend a pedestrian/bicycle path from the bridge, either cantilevered off the side or suspended underneath. This would be expensive but considerably safer for everyone.

FWIW, adding capacity typically only adds even more cars while congestion remains the same if not worse. Any immediate relief usually lasts at most a couple years. The problem is too many single commuters.
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AsphaltPlanet

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Re: California Highway Headlines for March 2018
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2018, 12:41:17 AM »

I say this as someone who used to cycle very frequently, and did cycle to work everyday for a time.

The problem with cycling infrastructure, particularly when it competes with space for vehicles, is that cycling infrastructure improvements might benefit dozens of cyclists at the expense of thousands of motorists.  I can't see that not being the case for this bridge.

sparker

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Re: California Highway Headlines for March 2018
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2018, 09:16:55 AM »

Three topics right off the bat:   
(3)  Re the Richmond-San Rafael bridge conflict:  instead of a constant "that lane's mine -- no, it's mine!" argument between commuters and cyclists/pedestrians, it might behoove Caltrans to engineer and install a set of gates at each end of the bridge (EB at the San Quentin approach and WB between the toll plaza and the high-rise) that let peak-hour commuters use the additional lanes (let's say 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.), with non-motorized traffic blocked off during those hours, but the opposite the remaining 16 hours of the day, with traffic restricted to the 2+2 configuration and the adjoining lane (separated by a barrier) open to cyclists and pedestrians.  Just a thought from a pretty regular bridge user.       

As someone who was once a bike commuter (I didn't own a car until I was 29), saying bicycles can only use the bridge during non-rush hours would be a non-starter. Commuters work the same hours as everyone else. They need a lane 24/7, not 16/7, and especially when most of that 16 is between 7PM and 6AM. (Apparently, you think bicycles only need to use the bridge from 10-3 during the day.)

I don't travel that way, so I'm unfamiliar with the bridge's traffic patterns. If one way is busier, make the bike lane on one side during the AM and switch it for the evening commute. This could give an extra lane eastbound for cars from say 1 AM to 11 AM and westbound from 1 PM to 11 PM.

Another possibility is to suspend a pedestrian/bicycle path from the bridge, either cantilevered off the side or suspended underneath. This would be expensive but considerably safer for everyone.

FWIW, adding capacity typically only adds even more cars while congestion remains the same if not worse. Any immediate relief usually lasts at most a couple years. The problem is too many single commuters.

With the length of this particular bridge -- and the location of employment centers at either end -- cyclist use of the bridge is largely confined to recreational -- so claiming a need for 24/7 access is a bit presumptuous.  Given the upward gradient to surmount the two high-rise sections it would be difficult to imagine a cyclist (unless they were in spectacular physical shape) doing a bridge run, working eight hours, and then doing it again (and I would hope that the entities employing these folks provided showers!).   However, the idea of separate cantilevered bicycle lanes is certainly doable (this bridge is quite Bauhaus in its design -- the poster child for function over form; extra things hanging off the side wouldn't be an issue aesthetically) and would obviate the lane-sharing problem. 

The capacity of the Richmond-San Rafael bridge has always been there; it was designed as a 3+3 configuration from its opening in the late '50's; it was restriped to eliminate a lane about 25-30 years ago (IIRC) in order to install a pipe for additional water delivery to Marin County over an extended drought period when local reservoirs were tapped out.  That was done prior to the completion of the Knox/I-580 freeway through Richmond, which expedited traffic flow from the East Bay to the bridge (and completed the limited-access connection to Marin County, which up to that time had been interrupted by some degree of surface-street travel along any of its various access points).  But after other projects made the bridge pipe system redundant, the full capacity was never restored -- the anti-automotive Bay Area political sentiment was peaking about that time -- although there were calls from various quarters (mostly from Novato and other northern Marin and southern Sonoma areas) to do so over the years.  So while a "road diet" (as it's often locally termed) was applied to this facility, the reasons for doing so were not specifically capacity-related; arguments to that effect, some coming from cyclists, occurred much later.           
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The Ghostbuster

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Re: California Highway Headlines for March 2018
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2018, 05:39:15 PM »

In reference to the top three stories being about the Interstate 710 expansion plan, my prediction is that in the end, nothing will be done. Well, maybe spot improvements along the corridor, but nothing major, like the proposal to add truck lanes to the corridor.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: California Highway Headlines for March 2018
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2018, 07:57:57 PM »

Geeze...I-710 seems to be the hot topic these days in transportation talk in California.  I might be one of the few people who doesn't have a dog in the fight at all given that I've largely avoiding the urban core of Los Angeles since I stopped working out there in 2013.

-  In regards to Mud Creek I'll be surprised if the project opens as scheduled.  More so, I'm surprised the heavy rains in March didn't do anything really substantial damage wise to CA 1 in Big Sur.  Given my affinity for the Big Sur portion of 1 I'll likely be out that way the week the highway opens, I'd really like to participate in a grand reopening if there is one.

-  Really improvements with the 41/46 junction with Cholame are infinitely WAY over due.  That junction is a completely pain in the ass to navigate with the heavy traffic.  Really 46 ought to be gradually expanded east as expressway from Cholame to CA 99 given the high traffic counts.  41 north to CA 198 also gets a lot of traffic which I would speculate is enough to warrant considering an expressway expansion.

Plutonic Panda

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Re: California Highway Headlines for March 2018
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2018, 10:41:29 PM »

The old “adding capacity doesn’t work” argument well yes it does. What wouldn’t work is not doing anything. Making I-15 10-12 lanes is a good start. I see that project happening. I am worried the 710 won’t see the expansion happen. Traffic will still increase regardless and travel times will be worse off due to the expansion not happening.
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skluth

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Re: California Highway Headlines for March 2018
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2018, 06:04:00 PM »

The old “adding capacity doesn’t work” argument well yes it does. What wouldn’t work is not doing anything. Making I-15 10-12 lanes is a good start. I see that project happening. I am worried the 710 won’t see the expansion happen. Traffic will still increase regardless and travel times will be worse off due to the expansion not happening.

There's ample documented evidence that adding capacity induces more people to drive and fills the available space, sometimes within months but usually within a few years. This is more true as you move further from city centers as more open land becomes developed.
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sparker

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Re: California Highway Headlines for March 2018
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2018, 02:15:18 AM »

The old “adding capacity doesn’t work” argument well yes it does. What wouldn’t work is not doing anything. Making I-15 10-12 lanes is a good start. I see that project happening. I am worried the 710 won’t see the expansion happen. Traffic will still increase regardless and travel times will be worse off due to the expansion not happening.

There's ample documented evidence that adding capacity induces more people to drive and fills the available space, sometimes within months but usually within a few years. This is more true as you move further from city centers as more open land becomes developed.

The chances of I-15 expanding to double-digits in terms of lanes in the affected area are slim & none; commercial development has hemmed the freeway in on the outside (w/frontage roads); the sole expansion possibility would be in the median, which does have room for an additional lane per direction (and north of the Temescal Canyon Road interchange room for 2:  likely one GP lane and one HOV/toll).  In that case, capacity increase would simply be playing "catch-up" with the reality that housing in the Elsinore/Murietta area has been expanding almost exponentially since the early '90's -- no inducement necessary.  It's just the nature of the housing market -- the farther from dense employment centers (O.C., the western Inland Empire), the more affordable the housing -- at least until you get farther out to Temecula, where premium housing on large lots adjacent to SoCal's premium "wine country" prevails and prices tend to skyrocket.  So "infill" is happening northward along I-15, I-215, and even CA 79 toward Hemet, resulting in increased demand on the existing corridors. 

As far as the I-710 situation goes, the conflict is pitting proponents of commerce against advocates for social justice who are portraying the local neighborhoods as victimized by both the situation as is -- including breathing exhaust fumes from hundreds if not thousands of trucks inching their way through 710 congestion -- and the proposed expansion solution, which would require the acquisition of adjacent properties with no guarantee that the living situation of the affected neighborhoods will significantly improve.  But, as iterated elsewhere in this forum, part of the problem is that the practice of moving containers a few at a time to the downtown railyards -- with most of that traffic right on I-710 -- persists even though the Alameda rail corridor was completed 15 years ago.  That can be laid at the feet of the rail entities involved -- UP, BNSF, the port authorities for both L.A. and Long Beach (which own much of the port trackage and the rail-transfer facilities) -- and the fact that the 20-mile port-to-yard drayage employs thousands of drivers who would be largely out of work if the traffic were transferred to rail directly from the port area.  It's not a clear-cut choice in any matter -- no matter what amelioration is implemented, one or more parties will come out on the losing end.  And right now none of the cooks charged with preparing this particular "broth" wants to have to make such an arbitrary -- and politically risky -- choice; expanding 710 -- even by one lane per direction -- is simply kicking the can down the road -- and letting the parties that will have to eventually step up off the hook for the near term.   
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mrsman

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Re: California Highway Headlines for March 2018
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2018, 04:15:59 PM »

I especially liked the article and podcast about the Thomas Bros. guide.  It brought back memories.
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sparker

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Re: California Highway Headlines for March 2018
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2018, 02:53:06 AM »

I especially liked the article and podcast about the Thomas Bros. guide.  It brought back memories.

They're genuinely missed.  I'd take a current issue of the Guide over any iteration of GPS any day of the week! 
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: California Highway Headlines for March 2018
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2018, 04:43:40 AM »

The old “adding capacity doesn’t work” argument well yes it does. What wouldn’t work is not doing anything. Making I-15 10-12 lanes is a good start. I see that project happening. I am worried the 710 won’t see the expansion happen. Traffic will still increase regardless and travel times will be worse off due to the expansion not happening.

There's ample documented evidence that adding capacity induces more people to drive and fills the available space, sometimes within months but usually within a few years. This is more true as you move further from city centers as more open land becomes developed.
The "evidence" that I've seen is often flawed by not taking into account several variables that could prove that the widenings did in fact improve traffic flow by showing not just the freeway section that was widened but traffic in the area such as local traffic or regional traffic. If induced demand real, why isn't the section of I-40 that was widened and opened to traffic here in OKC to the tune of 10 lanes around 7 years ago not bumper to bumper? I am sure that would have magically created new trips for people to go eat hot dogs at some store they wouldn't have otherwise, right? Or could it be the demand was already there? I'm not buying into the induced demand theory especially since it is only applied to road construction and no other industry. I never see people using that argument against transit expansion. People want to drive. Most people live in the suburbs. No one if forcing it. Blame good schools all you want, but it comes down the suburbs offer a superior choice of living and you aren't serving the low density(one of the main selling points of the suburbs and equates to more privacy)nature of suburbs with transit. Likewise, you have to build massive freeways through urban centers to give those people access to the city like anyone else. They and I haven every right to drive our cars into the city(I make it sound like I live in the suburbs but unfortunately I live in the heart of Hollywood) and have the adequate infrastructure to keep up with the demand to move at a reasonable pace.

Who are you or I to say that enough is enough because more people want this lifestyle? Saying a freeway has enough lanes? No. You keep adding lanes to keep up with demand. Build freeways smarter. Build expanded transit lines to give people an alternative. Great and I support it. But what I don't, is blocking expansion of freeways like the recent crap going on with the 710. Traffic will continue to get worse and air pollution will do the same. If the rail alternative will help with freight, than great. But let's not act like if the trucks were reduced through this area this freeway wouldn't need to be widened. It's like every other freeway in SoCal, it needs to be widened. I can't think of a single freeway in LA that doesn't need at least 3 additional lanes in each direction added other than maybe parts of SR-2 and the 210 freeway between Pasadena and Glendale. That section tends to keep flowing somewhat decent for the most part.

Then there are tons of extremely deficient interchanges like the 101 interchanges of the 405, 134, and the 170. Awful interchanges that if fixed could do wonders for traffic. Sprawl isn't going anywhere and most people don't want to live stacked over each other in concrete jungles. That is a fact of life you need to accept. Unless some law is made that goes against the will of the people, freeways and sprawl will likely continue to expand indefinitely and it's nothing more complex than growth. Call it induced demand all you want, but at the end of the day the freeway lacks capacity and simple math can determine the proper number of lanes needed to stop traffic back ups. Forcing, or if you want to put it nicely, 'encouraging' people to use transit isn't the way to go. Giving them the option to, I can get behind. There is a huge difference between the two. It isn't hard to figure out which category Portland, OR falls into.
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: California Highway Headlines for March 2018
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2018, 04:59:19 AM »

The old “adding capacity doesn’t work” argument well yes it does. What wouldn’t work is not doing anything. Making I-15 10-12 lanes is a good start. I see that project happening. I am worried the 710 won’t see the expansion happen. Traffic will still increase regardless and travel times will be worse off due to the expansion not happening.

There's ample documented evidence that adding capacity induces more people to drive and fills the available space, sometimes within months but usually within a few years. This is more true as you move further from city centers as more open land becomes developed.

The chances of I-15 expanding to double-digits in terms of lanes in the affected area are slim & none; commercial development has hemmed the freeway in on the outside (w/frontage roads); the sole expansion possibility would be in the median, which does have room for an additional lane per direction (and north of the Temescal Canyon Road interchange room for 2:  likely one GP lane and one HOV/toll).  In that case, capacity increase would simply be playing "catch-up" with the reality that housing in the Elsinore/Murietta area has been expanding almost exponentially since the early '90's -- no inducement necessary.  It's just the nature of the housing market -- the farther from dense employment centers (O.C., the western Inland Empire), the more affordable the housing -- at least until you get farther out to Temecula, where premium housing on large lots adjacent to SoCal's premium "wine country" prevails and prices tend to skyrocket.  So "infill" is happening northward along I-15, I-215, and even CA 79 toward Hemet, resulting in increased demand on the existing corridors. 

As far as the I-710 situation goes, the conflict is pitting proponents of commerce against advocates for social justice who are portraying the local neighborhoods as victimized by both the situation as is -- including breathing exhaust fumes from hundreds if not thousands of trucks inching their way through 710 congestion -- and the proposed expansion solution, which would require the acquisition of adjacent properties with no guarantee that the living situation of the affected neighborhoods will significantly improve.  But, as iterated elsewhere in this forum, part of the problem is that the practice of moving containers a few at a time to the downtown railyards -- with most of that traffic right on I-710 -- persists even though the Alameda rail corridor was completed 15 years ago.  That can be laid at the feet of the rail entities involved -- UP, BNSF, the port authorities for both L.A. and Long Beach (which own much of the port trackage and the rail-transfer facilities) -- and the fact that the 20-mile port-to-yard drayage employs thousands of drivers who would be largely out of work if the traffic were transferred to rail directly from the port area.  It's not a clear-cut choice in any matter -- no matter what amelioration is implemented, one or more parties will come out on the losing end.  And right now none of the cooks charged with preparing this particular "broth" wants to have to make such an arbitrary -- and politically risky -- choice; expanding 710 -- even by one lane per direction -- is simply kicking the can down the road -- and letting the parties that will have to eventually step up off the hook for the near term.   
I only assumed I-15 would be expanded due to what happened further south. They did a great job with that freeway. I still don't know enough about California to make educated opinions about whether such an expansion will happen in that regard and my outlook any expansion is becoming bleaker by the day. I've only lived here for around 3 years now and my primary focus is in acting and music, my obsession with infrastructure is merely but a hobby... one I spend too much time one lol

I get the concerns regarding the 710 situation, but they need to recognize the situation as it is. If they really care about their health then move. There are options. I get it isn't always easy to just pack up and move, but if it absolutely, positively isn't an option or you just have such a passion for the area in which you reside, then more power to you. But don't block progress and hinder traffic for hundreds of thousands of other drivers. Again, they need to recognize the situation as it is. Is this freeway going anywhere? No. Will the traffic continue to get worse and will the fine particulates such as brake dust and exhaust fumes continue to increase as a result of increased stop and go traffic? Yes. Could those things also increase as a result of an expansion? Yes. Could an expansion move traffic better, however, and contribute to a more vibrant economy driven by multiple factors with one being more time saved as a result of reduced congestion due to increased infrastructure investment? Yes. Could that better economy drive even more breakthroughs in clean energy which can help these people long term? Don't discount the positives that result from a region where commuters and people move faster from point a to point b. The more time saved from people sitting in traffic is more time those people can work towards solutions to move even faster and produce even more innovations.

What these people ought to be doing is working with Metro and Caltrans by designing a better freeway with more ways to keep the fine particulates confined. Adding more landscaping and green space to offset any increased emissions. Adding wider bridges to accommodate shops and stores along the bridges to increase walkability and better connectivity(see this example in Columbus, OH: https://www.columbusunderground.com/caps-planned-for-high-and-third-street-bridges-south-of-downtown-bw1). Building more caps in certain areas. Advocating for the more expensive and intrusive, yet likely smarter and better long term option such as the elevated zero emission truck lanes. Talk about implementing express lanes(adding two in each direction) and using those funds to go towards rail extensions or outright including the rail extensions as a requirement to build as a single project in conjunction with the freeway expansion. But instead it seems like none of these things are considered and any improvements are just shot down by the minority even though the majority would benefit.
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djsekani

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Re: California Highway Headlines for March 2018
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2018, 11:44:20 PM »

The old “adding capacity doesn’t work” argument well yes it does. What wouldn’t work is not doing anything. Making I-15 10-12 lanes is a good start. I see that project happening. I am worried the 710 won’t see the expansion happen. Traffic will still increase regardless and travel times will be worse off due to the expansion not happening.

There's ample documented evidence that adding capacity induces more people to drive and fills the available space, sometimes within months but usually within a few years. This is more true as you move further from city centers as more open land becomes developed.
The "evidence" that I've seen is often flawed by not taking into account several variables that could prove that the widenings did in fact improve traffic flow by showing not just the freeway section that was widened but traffic in the area such as local traffic or regional traffic. If induced demand real, why isn't the section of I-40 that was widened and opened to traffic here in OKC to the tune of 10 lanes around 7 years ago not bumper to bumper? I am sure that would have magically created new trips for people to go eat hot dogs at some store they wouldn't have otherwise, right? Or could it be the demand was already there? I'm not buying into the induced demand theory especially since it is only applied to road construction and no other industry. I never see people using that argument against transit expansion. People want to drive. Most people live in the suburbs. No one if forcing it. Blame good schools all you want, but it comes down the suburbs offer a superior choice of living and you aren't serving the low density(one of the main selling points of the suburbs and equates to more privacy)nature of suburbs with transit. Likewise, you have to build massive freeways through urban centers to give those people access to the city like anyone else. They and I haven every right to drive our cars into the city(I make it sound like I live in the suburbs but unfortunately I live in the heart of Hollywood) and have the adequate infrastructure to keep up with the demand to move at a reasonable pace.

Who are you or I to say that enough is enough because more people want this lifestyle? Saying a freeway has enough lanes? No. You keep adding lanes to keep up with demand. Build freeways smarter. Build expanded transit lines to give people an alternative. Great and I support it. But what I don't, is blocking expansion of freeways like the recent crap going on with the 710. Traffic will continue to get worse and air pollution will do the same. If the rail alternative will help with freight, than great. But let's not act like if the trucks were reduced through this area this freeway wouldn't need to be widened. It's like every other freeway in SoCal, it needs to be widened. I can't think of a single freeway in LA that doesn't need at least 3 additional lanes in each direction added other than maybe parts of SR-2 and the 210 freeway between Pasadena and Glendale. That section tends to keep flowing somewhat decent for the most part.

Then there are tons of extremely deficient interchanges like the 101 interchanges of the 405, 134, and the 170. Awful interchanges that if fixed could do wonders for traffic. Sprawl isn't going anywhere and most people don't want to live stacked over each other in concrete jungles. That is a fact of life you need to accept. Unless some law is made that goes against the will of the people, freeways and sprawl will likely continue to expand indefinitely and it's nothing more complex than growth. Call it induced demand all you want, but at the end of the day the freeway lacks capacity and simple math can determine the proper number of lanes needed to stop traffic back ups. Forcing, or if you want to put it nicely, 'encouraging' people to use transit isn't the way to go. Giving them the option to, I can get behind. There is a huge difference between the two. It isn't hard to figure out which category Portland, OR falls into.

You've seen what happened after the 405 widening was finished a few years ago. That's a textbook example of induced demand. Freeway widening only improves traffic if traffic volume doesn't increase, otherwise it's a Sisyphean game of catch-up. Los Angeles has reached a combination of sprawl, density, and political opposition that has made freeway widening mostly pointless. Even if they could double the capacity of all freeways, traffic would still just back up onto the major off-ramps near job centers. Adding extra lanes to the Santa Monica Freeway, for example, wouldn't make the 4th Street exit any less of a pain in the ass.

That being said, there are a few chokepoints, particularly at interchanges, that could stand to be improved. The Diamond Bar interchange is pretty high on that list. The multiple weird interchanges along the Ventura Freeway are also poorly designed given current traffic patterns.
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: California Highway Headlines for March 2018
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2018, 04:59:22 PM »

The old “adding capacity doesn’t work” argument well yes it does. What wouldn’t work is not doing anything. Making I-15 10-12 lanes is a good start. I see that project happening. I am worried the 710 won’t see the expansion happen. Traffic will still increase regardless and travel times will be worse off due to the expansion not happening.

There's ample documented evidence that adding capacity induces more people to drive and fills the available space, sometimes within months but usually within a few years. This is more true as you move further from city centers as more open land becomes developed.
The "evidence" that I've seen is often flawed by not taking into account several variables that could prove that the widenings did in fact improve traffic flow by showing not just the freeway section that was widened but traffic in the area such as local traffic or regional traffic. If induced demand real, why isn't the section of I-40 that was widened and opened to traffic here in OKC to the tune of 10 lanes around 7 years ago not bumper to bumper? I am sure that would have magically created new trips for people to go eat hot dogs at some store they wouldn't have otherwise, right? Or could it be the demand was already there? I'm not buying into the induced demand theory especially since it is only applied to road construction and no other industry. I never see people using that argument against transit expansion. People want to drive. Most people live in the suburbs. No one if forcing it. Blame good schools all you want, but it comes down the suburbs offer a superior choice of living and you aren't serving the low density(one of the main selling points of the suburbs and equates to more privacy)nature of suburbs with transit. Likewise, you have to build massive freeways through urban centers to give those people access to the city like anyone else. They and I haven every right to drive our cars into the city(I make it sound like I live in the suburbs but unfortunately I live in the heart of Hollywood) and have the adequate infrastructure to keep up with the demand to move at a reasonable pace.

Who are you or I to say that enough is enough because more people want this lifestyle? Saying a freeway has enough lanes? No. You keep adding lanes to keep up with demand. Build freeways smarter. Build expanded transit lines to give people an alternative. Great and I support it. But what I don't, is blocking expansion of freeways like the recent crap going on with the 710. Traffic will continue to get worse and air pollution will do the same. If the rail alternative will help with freight, than great. But let's not act like if the trucks were reduced through this area this freeway wouldn't need to be widened. It's like every other freeway in SoCal, it needs to be widened. I can't think of a single freeway in LA that doesn't need at least 3 additional lanes in each direction added other than maybe parts of SR-2 and the 210 freeway between Pasadena and Glendale. That section tends to keep flowing somewhat decent for the most part.

Then there are tons of extremely deficient interchanges like the 101 interchanges of the 405, 134, and the 170. Awful interchanges that if fixed could do wonders for traffic. Sprawl isn't going anywhere and most people don't want to live stacked over each other in concrete jungles. That is a fact of life you need to accept. Unless some law is made that goes against the will of the people, freeways and sprawl will likely continue to expand indefinitely and it's nothing more complex than growth. Call it induced demand all you want, but at the end of the day the freeway lacks capacity and simple math can determine the proper number of lanes needed to stop traffic back ups. Forcing, or if you want to put it nicely, 'encouraging' people to use transit isn't the way to go. Giving them the option to, I can get behind. There is a huge difference between the two. It isn't hard to figure out which category Portland, OR falls into.

You've seen what happened after the 405 widening was finished a few years ago. That's a textbook example of induced demand. Freeway widening only improves traffic if traffic volume doesn't increase, otherwise it's a Sisyphean game of catch-up. Los Angeles has reached a combination of sprawl, density, and political opposition that has made freeway widening mostly pointless. Even if they could double the capacity of all freeways, traffic would still just back up onto the major off-ramps near job centers. Adding extra lanes to the Santa Monica Freeway, for example, wouldn't make the 4th Street exit any less of a pain in the ass.

That being said, there are a few chokepoints, particularly at interchanges, that could stand to be improved. The Diamond Bar interchange is pretty high on that list. The multiple weird interchanges along the Ventura Freeway are also poorly designed given current traffic patterns.
There are several factors why the 405 hasn't seen much traffic relief, but that project did a lot of good. Removed over 25 percent of congested local traffic back onto the freeway or otherwise, shortened the rush hour window by 3+ hours or much more, I can't remember. If you want I'll go find the stats for that.

There are other things if you read my post I pointed out. Didn't factor or study any other corridor that would serve as a relief to the 405 for seeing a reduction in traffic. Didn't look at how many new potential cars would have been added as the the LA area saw a population increase from the time the project started to when it ended. They didn't use mathematics to determine the proper number of lanes that should be added. Simple math will give you that answer which obviously more lanes were needed than what was added and hopefully down the road we will see more lanes added here.

A subway will help and give people another option but won't do much to reduce traffic and doing nothing is not the answer, which telling people driving is bad and trying to encourage them to use alternative transportation by letting congestion reach nightmarish levels is doing nothing. But hey, it's cheaper for cities, so until drivers have enough and this bullshit, which I think will be soon, you'll have your way of freeway expansions slowing down around SoCal.

If they doubled the capacity of all freeways it do a world of good. Though you make good points that solutions are needed on the local level, but removing car lanes and adding bike lanes that few people use doesn't help. They need to get serious about building subways. This would be a rare situation where I'd agree with using funds produced from tolls on freeways or HOT/Express lanes provided that traffic flows are maintained to proper target levels which would include getting commuters to and from their entry and exit points traveling at least 50MPH on freeways at the worst traffic flow. Capacity can be increased at ramps and a new system of 6 lane elevated freeways over existing ones to accommodate that along with a minimum of 2 GP in each direction added every freeway.

Get the freeways flowing again and let people figure out the horrid traffic on local streets and then let them figure out a solution which most will realize new grade separated rail is best. However, that does not include neglecting needed car infrastructure like parking and added lanes where possible. As for bike infrastructure, again, I support it as long as it doesn't interfere with traffic flow much or any at all and needs to be kept to separated paths as much as possible.

Induced demand is such bullshit and no reason to not expand freeways. If any such thing exists, go tell the business owners who see new money due to widened freeways how bad they are. Shall I scream induced demand when new rail lines or expansions for rail are proposed?

I am sure we can at least agree that interchanges need to be replaced/modernized and rather quickly at that as widening freeways surely won't do a bit of good if there are continued bottlenecks along the routes. I think with bad driver habits along the stretch of the 405 Sepulveda pass that plague that freeway like drivers slowing down for seemingly no reason at all but in reality limited sight due to the hills, the 101 interchange is another big culprit. I don't know what can be done about the driver habits, but the 101 interchange needs a billion dollar overhaul and I don't see it happening anytime soon or just stupid improvements like adding lanes through it which, ironically enough, I DON'T think will help here.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2018, 05:04:22 PM by Plutonic Panda »
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