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Author Topic: Rural Freeways That Need Six Lanes  (Read 11648 times)

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Re: Rural Freeways That Need Six Lanes
« Reply #350 on: July 11, 2019, 10:22:04 AM »

My opinion is that widening should occur in step with population growth, until land constraints and acquisition costs make further widening impractical. At that point, high rates of growth are no longer sustainable. Investment in other modes of transport can help, but ultimately, the growth needs to slow down/stop entirely or conditions are just going to keep getting worse and worse.
Exhibit A: Atlanta.  :no:

There are three issues here:
1. Everyone gets funneled on 75/85 unless they're continuing straight on I-20 or are able to go around on I-285.
2. There is no outer beltway.
3. Surface road alternates are slow. Some cities have well-timed signals or semi-expressways in their surface road network, but not Atlanta.
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Re: Rural Freeways That Need Six Lanes
« Reply #351 on: July 11, 2019, 11:10:22 AM »

My opinion is that widening should occur in step with population growth, until land constraints and acquisition costs make further widening impractical. At that point, high rates of growth are no longer sustainable. Investment in other modes of transport can help, but ultimately, the growth needs to slow down/stop entirely or conditions are just going to keep getting worse and worse.
Exhibit A: Atlanta.  :no:
2. There is no outer beltway.
Not anymore, though there probably was when 285 was built . . . speaking of urban sprawl.
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Re: Rural Freeways That Need Six Lanes
« Reply #352 on: July 11, 2019, 01:03:51 PM »

Some cities have well-timed signals
Such a city exists? Definitely not where I live  :-D
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Re: Rural Freeways That Need Six Lanes
« Reply #353 on: July 11, 2019, 04:35:28 PM »

Some cities have well-timed signals
Such a city exists? Definitely not where I live  :-D
Me either. I am constantly annoyed by the timing of the traffic lights around where I live.
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michravera

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Re: Rural Freeways That Need Six Lanes
« Reply #354 on: July 11, 2019, 06:34:55 PM »

Some cities have well-timed signals
Such a city exists? Definitely not where I live  :-D
Santa Clara County in California does a pretty good job especially on San Tomas and Lawrence Expressways. It's not uncommon to be able to maintain speed on San Tomas from US-101 all of the way to CASR-17 hitting lights at just near the beginning, end, and sometimes at El Camino Real. It's a crapshoot as to whether it's faster to take clogged freeways or heavily traveled expressways. Same goes for Lawrence from US-101 to I-280.
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Re: Rural Freeways That Need Six Lanes
« Reply #355 on: July 11, 2019, 08:32:16 PM »

Someone in City A rides the train to work, because traffic is miserable. They own a car, but they consider it a waste of time (and money) to drive; they have relatively easy access to the train via a local bus a few blocks from their home. City A officials then widen a portion of road that was an essential part of their commute; they switch back to driving because their commute now takes about 25% less time. Their fuel economy is now higher as well, reducing their fuel usage (cheaper).

City A officials widened this road, with the hope that it would reduce the congestion. Perhaps it will, short term. But that high-speed road is now a very attractive option for people who never used that road, stopped using it previously, or just moved to the area. Basically, the road will (ultimately) end up serving people that don't currently use the road. But what if we just don't widen the road? What if that road was just a permanently crappy option? We could widen the road, but if the population is growing, and we widened the road as a response to that, at what point is the freeway wide enough? Certainly we can't have 40-lane freeways in keeping with whatever the relevant required population would be.

The road will probably still be less congested, even with the extra cars. If it's not, he or she will switch back.

There isn't a finite number of cars. In a city built around the car (i.e. minimal walking, cycling, and transit infrastructure), the usage of cars usually keeps pace with the population (not a finite number).

But what if we just don't widen the road? What if that road was just a permanently crappy option? We could widen the road, but if the population is growing, and we widened the road as a response to that, at what point is the freeway wide enough? Certainly we can't have 40-lane freeways in keeping with whatever the relevant required population would be.

My opinion is that widening should occur in step with population growth, until land constraints and acquisition costs make further widening impractical. At that point, high rates of growth are no longer sustainable. Investment in other modes of transport can help, but ultimately, the growth needs to slow down/stop entirely or conditions are just going to keep getting worse and worse.

You cannot stop growth. It is inevitable. Places like China and South Africa have attempted to stop it, but they failed. Never mind that, in the US, individual cities are generally not permitted to develop comprehensive growth plans that specifically disallow growth. You can make it hard, by limiting building permits, but that makes real-estate prices skyrocket (and all the bad things that come along with that).
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Re: Rural Freeways That Need Six Lanes
« Reply #356 on: July 11, 2019, 08:57:17 PM »

Part of this is that we, as a nation, have somehow decided to favor packing everyone into mega-cities.  This isn't "inevitable" as many claim, but rather due to political choices favoring this development pattern.  The smaller and mid-sized cities could use some love.

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/11/cities-economic-fates-diverge/417372/

Quote
Throughout most of the country’s history, American government at all levels has pursued policies designed to preserve local control of businesses and to check the tendency of a few dominant cities to monopolize power over the rest of the country. These efforts moved to the federal level beginning in the late 19th century and reached a climax of enforcement in the 1960s and ’70s. Yet starting shortly thereafter, each of these policy levers were flipped, one after the other, in the opposite direction, usually in the guise of “deregulation.” Understanding this history, largely forgotten today, is essential to turning the problem of inequality around.
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JREwing78

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Re: Rural Freeways That Need Six Lanes
« Reply #357 on: July 11, 2019, 11:07:26 PM »

I got caught in a traffic jam on US-127 southbound yesterday north of St Johns in the stretch where it goes down to a divided highway. I was on M-57 and went to turn south and by the time I saw the traffic was backed up I was already coming down the on ramp. That stretch is the only stretch of US-127 north of Jackson that isn't freeway. It's freeway from Jackson to Grayling.
Any plans to finish the gap? Traffic counts look around 20,000 AADT with around 10% large trucks. It's probably not a big priority - but with that amount of traffic it could be necessary in 10-20 years.
It was suppose to be part of Michigan's section of I-73 but that highway will probably never happen at least in Michigan.

It's not horrible in that stretch but it goes down to 65 mph use to be 55 mph which wax even worse than it is now. Most traffic still does about 70 through there too. The lanes remain the same too. I think they should just make it 75 mph all the way through. It doesn't really cross too many major roads and has an interchange at M-57 with M-57 crossing it on an overpass.

MDOT is continuing with its effort to remove cross traffic on the US-127 stretch, but a full freeway rebuild is decades away. The traffic you experienced (Sunday after Independence Day) is a worst-case scenario and likely was congested only because of an accident. There's more conflict points that provides potential for a congestion-causing accident, but traffic is still low enough that it's not generally a problem.

There's other places where US-127 needs 6-laning much more - namely, the stretch between I-69 and I-96 in Lansing.
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Re: Rural Freeways That Need Six Lanes
« Reply #358 on: July 11, 2019, 11:19:41 PM »

My opinion is that widening should occur in step with population growth, until land constraints and acquisition costs make further widening impractical. At that point, high rates of growth are no longer sustainable. Investment in other modes of transport can help, but ultimately, the growth needs to slow down/stop entirely or conditions are just going to keep getting worse and worse.
Exhibit A: Atlanta.  :no:

There are three issues here:
1. Everyone gets funneled on 75/85 unless they're continuing straight on I-20 or are able to go around on I-285.
2. There is no outer beltway.
3. Surface road alternates are slow. Some cities have well-timed signals or semi-expressways in their surface road network, but not Atlanta.

Originally, issue 1 was not supposed to be a problem. I-675 was supposed to continue north past 285, roughly to the Carter library where it would have met I-485. 485 would have served as a southern continuation of GA 400, but turning west at the I-675 junction back to 75/85 along GA 10. In addition, the US 78 freeway east of 285 was planned to continue west to the interchange with 675 and 485. Unfortunately, freeway revolts killed all of these proposals, and we are stuck with the hopelessly congested Downtown Connector as a result.

As for what we have today, the Perimeter is indeed faster than the Connector in typical conditions, but hazmats and large loads are prohibited inside I-285. As a result, 285 is often congested with heavy truck traffic, and one accident on it might eat up the time you saved by avoiding downtown.
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Re: Rural Freeways That Need Six Lanes
« Reply #359 on: July 12, 2019, 02:25:13 AM »

Maybe US 64 where Rocky Mount is? Traffic is increasing there. But I think a rural freeway with six lanes should be at least 60,000 vpd.
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jakeroot

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Re: Rural Freeways That Need Six Lanes
« Reply #360 on: July 12, 2019, 03:54:55 AM »

Part of this is that we, as a nation, have somehow decided to favor packing everyone into mega-cities.  This isn't "inevitable" as many claim, but rather due to political choices favoring this development pattern.  The smaller and mid-sized cities could use some love.

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/11/cities-economic-fates-diverge/417372/

Good article! But it doesn't speak negatively of public transit or density, nor does it encourage car-use.

I am totally for public policy changes to favor new development in less "popular" cities. But there's a couple things that need considering:

(1) Policies that favor population growth in "underdeveloped" regions don't necessarily go hand in hand with wide freeways and dead-end suburbs. In Vancouver, there's been big developments in areas that are now connected to the SkyTrain network (Brentwood Town Centre, South Vancouver, Richmond). Having that connection (half a million people walking around stations) is potentially as, if not more, important than freeway access.

(2) Policies may favor development in new regions, but you cannot stop people from "longing" to live in iconic places: San Francisco, Seattle, Miami, New York City, etc. Living in cities like these are landmark achievements for some. No one who grew up in rural Nebraska, longing for the day when they could catch a glimpse of the Space Needle on the daily, is going to be super-happy when they end up in Tacoma for 20 years (the point was to live in Seattle!) Companies that headquarter themselves in these cities, benefit from being in places that people want to live. It's a sound business decision, to locate somewhere attractive. "Attractive", 60 years ago, was the suburbs. That's just not the case anymore.
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Re: Rural Freeways That Need Six Lanes
« Reply #361 on: July 12, 2019, 08:18:54 AM »

But what if we just don't widen the road? What if that road was just a permanently crappy option? We could widen the road, but if the population is growing, and we widened the road as a response to that, at what point is the freeway wide enough? Certainly we can't have 40-lane freeways in keeping with whatever the relevant required population would be.

My opinion is that widening should occur in step with population growth, until land constraints and acquisition costs make further widening impractical. At that point, high rates of growth are no longer sustainable. Investment in other modes of transport can help, but ultimately, the growth needs to slow down/stop entirely or conditions are just going to keep getting worse and worse.

Since this thread is about rural freeways, it isn't population growth that should cause the need for widening, but traffic growth.  Urban traffic is the result of population growth, but in rural areas like this thread is about, are linking urban areas that are too far apart for the area between to be infilled for a long period of time.  Many are major freight arteries, which for lack of a more efficient route, have filled with truck traffic.  The alternative for many isn't to limit the lanes to force alternate modes of transportation, as in rural areas, there aren't any alternatives.  The only alternative would be to build an alternate route that bypasses some of those urban areas that straightens out the routing that the freight and passenger car through traffic currently has to take.
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Re: Rural Freeways That Need Six Lanes
« Reply #362 on: July 12, 2019, 09:26:57 AM »

But what if we just don't widen the road? What if that road was just a permanently crappy option? We could widen the road, but if the population is growing, and we widened the road as a response to that, at what point is the freeway wide enough? Certainly we can't have 40-lane freeways in keeping with whatever the relevant required population would be.

My opinion is that widening should occur in step with population growth, until land constraints and acquisition costs make further widening impractical. At that point, high rates of growth are no longer sustainable. Investment in other modes of transport can help, but ultimately, the growth needs to slow down/stop entirely or conditions are just going to keep getting worse and worse.

Since this thread is about rural freeways, it isn't population growth that should cause the need for widening, but traffic growth.  Urban traffic is the result of population growth, but in rural areas like this thread is about, are linking urban areas that are too far apart for the area between to be infilled for a long period of time.  Many are major freight arteries, which for lack of a more efficient route, have filled with truck traffic.  The alternative for many isn't to limit the lanes to force alternate modes of transportation, as in rural areas, there aren't any alternatives.  The only alternative would be to build an alternate route that bypasses some of those urban areas that straightens out the routing that the freight and passenger car through traffic currently has to take.

It is a shame that the plan to build the freeways didn't incorporate (more generally) thru roadways that largely bypassed city centers, with cities only connected with spur routes.  I know some of the earlier plans (FDR toll road plan) had this as their philosophy.

For example, it is great that the OH Turmpike gets close to Cleveland, but doesn't go thru Cleveland.  It forms an effective bypass for thru traffic (and doesn't add mileage).
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webny99

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Re: Rural Freeways That Need Six Lanes
« Reply #363 on: July 12, 2019, 11:28:06 AM »

But what if we just don't widen the road? What if that road was just a permanently crappy option? We could widen the road, but if the population is growing, and we widened the road as a response to that, at what point is the freeway wide enough? Certainly we can't have 40-lane freeways in keeping with whatever the relevant required population would be.
My opinion is that widening should occur in step with population growth, until land constraints and acquisition costs make further widening impractical. At that point, high rates of growth are no longer sustainable. Investment in other modes of transport can help, but ultimately, the growth needs to slow down/stop entirely or conditions are just going to keep getting worse and worse.
You cannot stop growth. It is inevitable. Places like China and South Africa have attempted to stop it, but they failed. Never mind that, in the US, individual cities are generally not permitted to develop comprehensive growth plans that specifically disallow growth. You can make it hard, by limiting building permits, but that makes real-estate prices skyrocket (and all the bad things that come along with that).

I get that. All I'm saying is that at a certain point, it isn't sustainable, so there's no use complaining about the inevitable issues that come along with that, and there's no use blaming things on induced demand when it's easy to see the demand was already there.
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Re: Rural Freeways That Need Six Lanes
« Reply #364 on: July 12, 2019, 03:00:05 PM »

You cannot stop growth. It is inevitable. Places like China and South Africa have attempted to stop it, but they failed. Never mind that, in the US, individual cities are generally not permitted to develop comprehensive growth plans that specifically disallow growth. You can make it hard, by limiting building permits, but that makes real-estate prices skyrocket (and all the bad things that come along with that).
I get that. All I'm saying is that at a certain point, it isn't sustainable, so there's no use complaining about the inevitable issues that come along with that, and there's no use blaming things on induced demand when it's easy to see the demand was already there.

Oh, I see. So the whole system is going to fail anyway, so who cares?

Like I said, cities can't "check-out". They have to plan for the future. Their comprehensive plans can't say "we're fucked". They have to outline a growth plan for sustainability. Lately, this has meant moving away from cars (which are physically too large to make sense in cities), and towards cities that are designed to encourage literally anything else. Tokyo is a remarkable example of this style of planning. Largest metro area in the world; virtually no traffic jams.
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Re: Rural Freeways That Need Six Lanes
« Reply #365 on: July 13, 2019, 03:50:57 AM »

You cannot stop growth. It is inevitable. Places like China and South Africa have attempted to stop it, but they failed. Never mind that, in the US, individual cities are generally not permitted to develop comprehensive growth plans that specifically disallow growth. You can make it hard, by limiting building permits, but that makes real-estate prices skyrocket (and all the bad things that come along with that).
I get that. All I'm saying is that at a certain point, it isn't sustainable, so there's no use complaining about the inevitable issues that come along with that, and there's no use blaming things on induced demand when it's easy to see the demand was already there.

Oh, I see. So the whole system is going to fail anyway, so who cares?

Like I said, cities can't "check-out". They have to plan for the future. Their comprehensive plans can't say "we're fucked". They have to outline a growth plan for sustainability. Lately, this has meant moving away from cars (which are physically too large to make sense in cities), and towards cities that are designed to encourage literally anything else. Tokyo is a remarkable example of this style of planning. Largest metro area in the world; virtually no traffic jams.

OTOH, transit traffic in Tokyo has long been such that their subway employs station attendants called 'pushers', whose sole job is to get the people onto the train cars such that the doors can be closed.

 :-o

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jakeroot

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Re: Rural Freeways That Need Six Lanes
« Reply #366 on: July 13, 2019, 01:43:28 PM »

OTOH, transit traffic in Tokyo has long been such that their subway employs station attendants called 'pushers', whose sole job is to get the people onto the train cars such that the doors can be closed.

It's really quite remarkable. From what I've learned, that's the exception, but you can only run so many trains per hour, and demand is strong for their clean, on-time trains. But the busiest line in the system, the Tozai line, still manages to carry 1.6M passengers per day...not sure there's any freeway out there with that capacity (unless every car on Ontario's 401 is a 4-person carpool!)
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Re: Rural Freeways That Need Six Lanes
« Reply #367 on: July 14, 2019, 10:48:07 AM »

OTOH, transit traffic in Tokyo has long been such that their subway employs station attendants called 'pushers', whose sole job is to get the people onto the train cars such that the doors can be closed.

It's really quite remarkable. From what I've learned, that's the exception, but you can only run so many trains per hour, and demand is strong for their clean, on-time trains. But the busiest line in the system, the Tozai line, still manages to carry 1.6M passengers per day...not sure there's any freeway out there with that capacity (unless every car on Ontario's 401 is a 4-person carpool!)

Another thing that is hard about Tokyo is the workaholic culture.  If they worked more American schedules (8 hour days), they could probably encourage spreading out the rush hour more, some people work 6am-3pm, others 8am-5pm, others 10am-7pm.  But if everyone is working 12 hour days, they will all be coming and going at the same time so that they can go home and get some sleep. At that schedule, you wouldn't say, hey I'll wait an hour to avoid the crowding - you simply can't.
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Re: Rural Freeways That Need Six Lanes
« Reply #368 on: July 15, 2019, 05:59:13 AM »

I got caught in a traffic jam on US-127 southbound yesterday north of St Johns in the stretch where it goes down to a divided highway. I was on M-57 and went to turn south and by the time I saw the traffic was backed up I was already coming down the on ramp. That stretch is the only stretch of US-127 north of Jackson that isn't freeway. It's freeway from Jackson to Grayling.
Any plans to finish the gap? Traffic counts look around 20,000 AADT with around 10% large trucks. It's probably not a big priority - but with that amount of traffic it could be necessary in 10-20 years.
It was suppose to be part of Michigan's section of I-73 but that highway will probably never happen at least in Michigan.

It's not horrible in that stretch but it goes down to 65 mph use to be 55 mph which wax even worse than it is now. Most traffic still does about 70 through there too. The lanes remain the same too. I think they should just make it 75 mph all the way through. It doesn't really cross too many major roads and has an interchange at M-57 with M-57 crossing it on an overpass.

MDOT is continuing with its effort to remove cross traffic on the US-127 stretch, but a full freeway rebuild is decades away. The traffic you experienced (Sunday after Independence Day) is a worst-case scenario and likely was congested only because of an accident. There's more conflict points that provides potential for a congestion-causing accident, but traffic is still low enough that it's not generally a problem.

There's other places where US-127 needs 6-laning much more - namely, the stretch between I-69 and I-96 in Lansing.
It was due to a state cop having someone pulled over on the left side and everyone was slowing down around it and the traffic was already heavy heading towards Lansing from up north. The stretch between I-69 and I-96 isn't really that congested I would say it needs 6 lanes between I-496 and I-96.
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Re: Rural Freeways That Need Six Lanes
« Reply #369 on: July 15, 2019, 02:14:58 PM »

Any road with an AADT of 50,000 or more should be on the High Priority - Immediate Need list for six-laning.

In Upstate NY, that includes the following:

I-87 between Exit 16 (NY 17) and Exit 17 (I-84)
I-87 between Exit 21A (Berkshire Connector) and Exit 23 (I-787)
I-90 between Exit 50 (I-290) and Exit 49 (NY 78)
I-190 between Exit 16 (I-290) and Exit 21 (NSP/NY 384)
I-490 between Exit 25 (NY 31F) and Exit 27 (NY 96)

The first three would be relatively easy to widen; the last two not so much, especially the Grand Island Bridges.
If you move the threshold to 40K instead of 50K, almost all of I-87 from NY 17 to Albany, and almost all of I-90 from Buffalo to Syracuse, make the list.

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Re: Rural Freeways That Need Six Lanes
« Reply #370 on: July 16, 2019, 03:54:45 PM »

My suggestions:
I-90, from Boston to Buffalo
I-90 is already 6-lanes between I-84 in Sturbridge & I-93 in Boston.  Note: the short lane-drop (to 4-lanes) within the I-95 interchange in Weston at the former-toll plaza location is relatively recent.  Personally, I'm not too fond of this change but I can see the reasoning/rationale behind such.

I-84, Waterbury, CT to Scranton, PA
I-84 through Danbury, between Exit 2 (US 6/202) and Exit 7 (US 7 North/202 East), is already 6-lanes.  A recent widening project in Waterbury itself, east of CT 69, to 6-lanes was recently completed.
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webny99

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Re: Rural Freeways That Need Six Lanes
« Reply #371 on: July 16, 2019, 11:16:38 PM »

My suggestions:
I-90, from Boston to Buffalo
I-90 is already 6-lanes between I-84 in Sturbridge & I-93 in Boston.

But I-84 is still a long ways from Buffalo.
A lot of it could use six lanes, but probably not Utica to I-88 or the western Mass Pike.
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Rothman

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Re: Rural Freeways That Need Six Lanes
« Reply #372 on: July 16, 2019, 11:18:44 PM »

My suggestions:
I-90, from Boston to Buffalo
I-90 is already 6-lanes between I-84 in Sturbridge & I-93 in Boston.

But I-84 is still a long ways from Buffalo.
A lot of it could use six lanes, but probably not Utica to I-88 or the western Mass Pike.
Meh.  I'd settle for three lanes from NY 13 west into Syracuse.
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