wait…you mean we DON’T have to widen the road?

Posted on February 7, 2012


The 2-lane road in the photo below is a U.S. Highway. According to the state DOT, it carried 16,000 vehicles per day in 2010. The communities along the corridor wanted a main street through their towns, not the high-speed/grade-separated arterial that was on the shelf. They happened to have well-connected advocates and won the battle to keep their road narrow. Segments between towns and villages are posted at 55 MPH; segments approaching and towns and villages are calmed down to 25 MPH.

Other communities aren’t as fortunate.

The American public is aware of our ongoing financial disaster. Meanwhile, political leaders who preach about fiscal responsibility are assigning funds to widen roads that (a) don’t need to be widened and (b) are often considered “main streets” within the limits of rural towns and villages. We’re spending money where it isn’t needed or wanted.

State DOTs are clamoring to spend federal funds on wrong-headed projects. Ironically, federal agencies are the most vocal advocates of smart spending: community-oriented design, safer intersections, connected networks, etc.