Friday, May 29, 2015

More lanes in Houston, and longer traffic times

Here's a great example to buttress the point I made earlier today, in "Highways, congestion and a power broker's lessons." Which was this: Since at least the 1930s planners have known that adding highway lanes does not reduce congestion, but rather counter-intuitively seems to increase it.

As reported by Thursday by Angie Schmitt in Streetsblog.net,  a Houston Tomorrow analysis of driving time on the I-10 Katy Freeway found it took 51 percent more time to get from downtown to Pin Oak on the newly expanded, 23-lane freeway than it did in 2011 right after the new lanes opened. An expansion project that ended in 2010 cost $2.8 billion-with-a-B which was $1.17 billion-with-a-B more than its original price tag.

Coincidence: The Federal Highway Administration's 2012 list of projects that details the cost of the Katy Freeway also lists the Monroe Bypass, with a due date of 2016. Better get hopping on that one, guys. Or better yet, don't.

Jay Crossley of Houston Tomorrow concludes: "Traveling out I-10 is now 33% worse - almost 18 more minutes of your time - than it was before we spent $2.8 billion to subsidize land speculation and encourage more driving."

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