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Author Topic: 🛣 Headlines About California Highways – September 2023  (Read 1287 times)

cahwyguy

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🛣 Headlines About California Highways – September 2023
« on: October 01, 2023, 07:16:37 PM »

Looks like the forum came back just in time. Thanks to A & A for their hard working getting it back. I've worked with both MySQL and MariaDB. Hard to get things right.

That said...

It's that time of the month again: Time for the headlines for the previous month. This month there are a few more than usual, as I've been doing the research for the next season of my podcast, and this means some historical articles relating to the subjects of the research -- in this case, Route 1 in Orange County, Los Angeles County, and Big Sur. Enjoy, and as always, "ready, set, discuss".

Link to the headline post: https://cahighways.org/wordpress/?p=16590
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Daniel - California Highway Guy ● Highway Site: http://www.cahighways.org/ ●  Blog: http://blog.cahighways.org/ ● Podcast (CA Route by Route): http://caroutebyroute.org/ ● Follow California Highways on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cahighways

Max Rockatansky

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Re: 🛣 Headlines About California Highways – September 2023
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2023, 08:09:18 PM »

Right off the bat I don't buy that "82 percent of Americans" don't believe highway expansion to best solution to congestion relief.  The article makes me wonder "who" in the public they are asking/polling?  Given "induced demand" was tossed out as a common term response that doesn't sound like the general public is actually being polled.  (Note: I'm not making a suggestion regarding the theory of induced demand, rather public knowledge of it.)

Fascinating to see PBS take an interest in the pre-1964 US Route System in California. 

I'm always amused to see "Brown Material Road" get some coverage in legitimate press.   :D
« Last Edit: October 01, 2023, 08:16:04 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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Occidental Tourist

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Re: 🛣 Headlines About California Highways – September 2023
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2023, 05:34:10 PM »

This isn't from a news article.  Transportation for America conducted the poll.  It is part of Smart Growth for America, a lobbying non-profit that is very much anti-freeway. 

Clearly these "results" came from push-polling.  From the claimed results in the linked article, you can extrapolate how the question was asked that got that result, e.g., "Do you agree with the following statement: 'It’s more important to protect our quality of life than to spend billions of tax dollars on expanding highways. By removing a few miles of highway and adding more transportation options, like trains, buses, bike lanes, and sidewalks, we can have healthier communities'?"
and
"No matter where you live, you should have the freedom to easily get where you need to go. Almost all government spending on transportation goes to highways. Instead, states should fund more options, like trains, buses, bike lanes, and sidewalks?"

The questions are designed to suggest a correct answer, which allows the non-profit to then generate poll numbers and a press release touting their results and advocating for their preferred position.  But it's not useful at all at measuring what public sentiment on a topic actually is.

Political campaigns do this all the time.  A candidate (or an aligned PAC) will pay a non-profit to have a push poll taken where the questions will be slanted to ask those polled things like: "State Senator Jones helped pass Medicaid reform, brought needed jobs to our district, and authored the most stringent ethics bills ever adopted by the legislature. Assemblyman Bob Campbell was investigated for two ethics violations and directed campaign funds to relatives and friends. Do you agree with the following statement: 'Senator Jones has a track record of serving his constituents honestly and successfully, while Bob Campbell has engaged in questionable transactions that benefit only him and his family'?" Then the campaign will release mailers and TV ads touting the results of the poll that "75 percent of people think Senator Jones is more competent and honest than Bob Campbell," as though these numbers were derived from an independent poll.

Not sure why an anti-highway advocacy group's push poll ended up as this month's "news."  There are probably a dozen advocacy non-profits out there bankrolled by contractors who have published similar push polls which show the exact opposite, e.g., "Do you agree with the following statement: 'Given the current economic situation in the US, having infrastructure that promotes commerce and helps deliver goods is vital to Americans' economic well-being. Making sure we invest in updating our nations' roads and highways to avoid wasteful gridlock is important to keeping America competitive'?"
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cahwyguy

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Re: 🛣 Headlines About California Highways – September 2023
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2023, 05:56:53 PM »

Not sure why an anti-highway advocacy group's push poll ended up as this month's "news."  There are probably a dozen advocacy non-profits out there bankrolled by contractors who have published similar push polls which show the exact opposite, e.g., "Do you agree with the following statement: 'Given the current economic situation in the US, having infrastructure that promotes commerce and helps deliver goods is vital to Americans' economic well-being. Making sure we invest in updating our nations' roads and highways to avoid wasteful gridlock is important to keeping America competitive'?"

Probably because the article, based on the headline, caught my eye and I saved it to come back to as highway related. Sometimes these provoke discussion on the headlines (which isn't a bad thing), and occasionally I find a nugget of interest when I come back to read it a second time. Sometimes it is useful background to understand other broad changes we see in the California transportation landscape -- whether we agree with it or not.

And, much as I hate to say it, an increasing number of "pro-" highway articles are behind paywalls, and I can't get to them anymore. Whereas advocacy groups like this keep their sites open. Paywalls influence the news we read.

Yes, I'm looking at you, Bay Area News Group, and the folks behind the SLO Tribune. I'd love to read Mr. Roadshow on a regular basis, but the Mercury News (BANG) has a really annoying paywall.

« Last Edit: October 02, 2023, 05:59:29 PM by cahwyguy »
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Daniel - California Highway Guy ● Highway Site: http://www.cahighways.org/ ●  Blog: http://blog.cahighways.org/ ● Podcast (CA Route by Route): http://caroutebyroute.org/ ● Follow California Highways on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cahighways

Quillz

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Re: 🛣 Headlines About California Highways – September 2023
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2023, 02:23:11 AM »

CA-90 may be short but it still gets a large amount of traffic between Marina del Rey and the 405. It's always a heavy congestion point. I'm not sure removing it and replacing it with parks is going to help anyone.
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cahwyguy

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Re: 🛣 Headlines About California Highways – September 2023
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2023, 09:01:34 AM »

CA-90 may be short but it still gets a large amount of traffic between Marina del Rey and the 405. It's always a heavy congestion point. I'm not sure removing it and replacing it with parks is going to help anyone.

I actually got a call from a report from the Argonaut yesterday about the Marina Central Park. I don't think anyone would object of the 90 W of Centinela became a park. That's really low traffic. But I'm less sure about the Centinela through Fox Hills portion. I can see a need for that to support Playa Vista and the extra traffic; plus the portion right by the freeway is more industrial, and I can't see a park built on the interchange. As usual, the answer is somewhere in the middle, I think. But nothing is going to be immediate.
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Daniel - California Highway Guy ● Highway Site: http://www.cahighways.org/ ●  Blog: http://blog.cahighways.org/ ● Podcast (CA Route by Route): http://caroutebyroute.org/ ● Follow California Highways on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cahighways

gonealookin

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Re: 🛣 Headlines About California Highways – September 2023
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2023, 11:55:50 AM »

Yes, I'm looking at you, Bay Area News Group, and the folks behind the SLO Tribune. I'd love to read Mr. Roadshow on a regular basis, but the Mercury News (BANG) has a really annoying paywall.

Huh.  I've never been a paid subscriber, but several years ago I signed up for Jon Wilner's free college sports newsletter, the "Wilner Hotline" (or the "Pac-12 Hotline" then), and somehow that seems to have made me a Subscriber For Life.  I have free access to all the "Subscriber Only" stuff.  Today people are complaining to Mr. Roadshow about lousy lighting in the #1 bore of the Caldecott Tunnel.  I get about one e-mail per week from that.
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SeriesE

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Re: 🛣 Headlines About California Highways – September 2023
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2023, 01:51:16 PM »

Really tired of the anti-highway folks stalling any kind of highway improvements. Lots of roads/bridges are in bad shape and not up to modern standards. It would be great to have improvements done to them even if there are no additional capacity added - such as adding shoulders to freeways missing them, improving bridge clearance, replacing cloverleaf interchanges in urban areas.

Trains are great transportation alternatives, but planners keep planning to build slow at-grade light rails and operators don't bother keeping the trains safe and clean
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ClassicHasClass

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Re: 🛣 Headlines About California Highways – September 2023
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2023, 05:24:10 PM »

Yes, I'm looking at you, Bay Area News Group, and the folks behind the SLO Tribune. I'd love to read Mr. Roadshow on a regular basis, but the Mercury News (BANG) has a really annoying paywall.

They might fix it one of these days, but uBlock + Firefox seems to get around that just fine.
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jdbx

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Re: 🛣 Headlines About California Highways – September 2023
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2023, 04:44:20 PM »

Not sure why an anti-highway advocacy group's push poll ended up as this month's "news."  There are probably a dozen advocacy non-profits out there bankrolled by contractors who have published similar push polls which show the exact opposite, e.g., "Do you agree with the following statement: 'Given the current economic situation in the US, having infrastructure that promotes commerce and helps deliver goods is vital to Americans' economic well-being. Making sure we invest in updating our nations' roads and highways to avoid wasteful gridlock is important to keeping America competitive'?"

Probably because the article, based on the headline, caught my eye and I saved it to come back to as highway related. Sometimes these provoke discussion on the headlines (which isn't a bad thing), and occasionally I find a nugget of interest when I come back to read it a second time. Sometimes it is useful background to understand other broad changes we see in the California transportation landscape -- whether we agree with it or not.

And, much as I hate to say it, an increasing number of "pro-" highway articles are behind paywalls, and I can't get to them anymore. Whereas advocacy groups like this keep their sites open. Paywalls influence the news we read.

Yes, I'm looking at you, Bay Area News Group, and the folks behind the SLO Tribune. I'd love to read Mr. Roadshow on a regular basis, but the Mercury News (BANG) has a really annoying paywall.


Obviously it depends on your locality, but I know that through my local library (Contra Costa County), I get free access to BANG, New York Times, and a lot of other news sources that are otherwise paywalled.  You may want to check through your local library.  All I have to do is authenticate using my library card details, and I can read it on my computer, phone, or Kindle.  I figure that my tax dollars are paying for it anyway, might as well make use of the resources available to me.
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pderocco

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Re: 🛣 Headlines About California Highways – September 2023
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2023, 02:12:50 AM »

It sounds like the repaving of the remaining 2-lane portion of CA-14 was a really high-quality job, with a long planned service life. Yet this stretch is the location of the remaining two-thirds of the Freeman Gulch Widening Project, which will turn it into a four lane divided expressway just like the rest of it down to Mojave. Anyone who has driven it knows that Caltrans will not be adding a new roadbed to one side (east most likely) and calling it a day. This stretch really needs to be vertically straightened. The US-395 widening through the Owens Valley, for the last two or three decades, has built a new more level roadbed, routed all the traffic onto it, and then replaced the old roadbed. This means that this paving job was at least partially a waste of money, because it will probably be ripped up in the next decade or sooner.

Or, it's a clue that Caltrans would like to beg off the rest of this project. I really hope not. It's a really dangerous road.
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pderocco

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Re: 🛣 Headlines About California Highways – September 2023
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2023, 02:35:23 AM »

VMT is a "concern"? What sort of mental gymnastics does it take to interpret the number of miles driven on a road as a "cost"? It is the very definition of a "benefit". Roads are build for people to drive on. The benefit of the road is people driving on it. If people drive on it more, they benefit more. VMT is the simplest numerical way to express the benefit of a road.

Now there are costs involved, too, obviously. But VMT isn't the cost; it's what those costs must be weighed against. You can't argue that road designers should attempt to reduce VMT without arguing that the costs outweigh the benefits. But they obviously don't. The costs that the drivers see, e.g., congestion, they already pay for by continuing to drive. The externalities, when divided by the number of drivers are worth less to the drivers than the ability to drive.
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