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Freeways Are Falling Out of Favor'

In NJ, there was a significant gap in I-78 until 1986, because the proposed route traversed a County Park/animal sanctuary, and various factions couldn’t seem to agree whether to route the highway through that area. The deadlock was finally broken when it was agreed to build two overpasses exclusively for the animals to cross over the road. If you travel on the Union County stretch of I-78, and if you are very observant, you will see two overpasses that look pretty much like a forest.

In Los Angeles, I-105 wasn’t completed until 1993!

When using my small motorcycle to go to work, I usually choose to budget a little extra time for my commute and take the boulevards and streets to my job instead of the interstate. While the interstate is usually faster, the boulevard route is more reliable, seldom making me late because some wreck closed down a freeway lane or two turning the interstate into a parking lot.
The time difference between those two routes is not that large, maybe five minutes or so. What slows it down is not the lower speed limits, but the red lights. Even on the freeway route, my GPS average trip speed is around 35 mph, and that’s when the freeway traffic is moving 70 mph.

I’m quite willing to trade time and distance for less congestion/frustration. I purchased my final motorcycle about 30 miles from home and experienced my first bike trip on an interstate. I was very uncomfortable around tractor trailers and returned to my usual city and rural road riding. Typical L.A. interstate traffic pattern was a couple miles bumper to bumper at 75mph! Then park for about 10 minutes. Rinse and repeat.

My threshold of tolerance for freeways is low but objectively speaking I wonder how much more asphalt will be laid and over passes built before the majority of daily commuters find that they are pushing the limits of their tolerance. I have ridden high speed rails and if I could walk a block to get on and a block after getting off at both ends of a daily commute 30-45 minutes each way might be bearable on a clean, comfortable seat but I’ll never know. I do know that the hour plus of bumper to bumper driving to travel 13 miles in and out of Oakland 40 years ago was more grief than I wanted to deal with. And the San Leandro to Oakland traffic has become considerably more demanding in recent years.

That may be true in a few highly congested areas like LA, but in most of the country they’re still a key a critical part of the infrastructure. They also support economic growth, by helping to provide easy access to companies for, them their customers, and even their employees. Companies with large employee bases consider access when deciding where to put a new facility, as do retail companies… to an even greater extent. Other factors are also variables, but access is one, and highways provide that.

I commuted for most of my professional life, right up until I retired four years ago. Highways made this possible. Highways are an economic boon. Secondary roads tend to prosper when highway access exists. Businesses large and small move to them, and for retailers new customer bases become available.

Yeah, lots and lots and lots and lots of people still actively use and need the interstate highways. Except in a few overpopulated areas.

Good one @B.L.E:


[quote=“Triedaq, post:20, topic:108797”]
If everyone works from home, we won’t have cars and therefore we won’t have any need for mechanics.

What about the infrastructure

Somebody or something has to build that

As far as I know, that’s equipment, which includes automobiles, trucks, heavy machinery, etc. Unless it’s robots operating AND maintaining that stuff, that’s where I come in

I was wondering if someone would catch my post as a paraphrase of one of Yogi Berra’s famous quotes.

Sometimes that works. I’m not sure I want to drive through South Central LA, especially during the evening rush.

I agree that driving on surface streets can be better than the freeways in certain circumstances. During my business trips to LA, I usually stayed west of the 405 and near LAX. As long as I was in the beach communities, using surface streets was always the best way to go. When I went down towards Anaheim, the 405 was always faster, even during rush hour.

As the people who study this have found repeatedly, adding lanes doesn’t decrease travel time.

We spent a lot of money subsidizing the roads.

There used to be commuter trains from NYC to Portland ME. Occasionally someone would make the whole trip (took days) as a stunt.

There were freeways before Interstates.

I did that before the Interstates and after the Interstates, once on bicycle. I didn’t see anything dangerous about it. There aren’t that many little towns up that way; I found them charming.

I absolutely agree with that

In my experience, what it does is keep things from getting worse. But it doesn’t actually improve anything.

What SOMETIMES helps is an entirely new freeway. But that only lasts so long, until “the word” gets out, and that new freeway is now just as crowded as all the rest

An example of public transit done badly is in the recent Boston Back Bay to Logan Airport bus service they put in. Before that, you had to take 3 subways and a short bus loop to go a few miles. The new service does that with one bus ride, and costs only a few dollars. Leaves every 15 minutes.

I’ve used it a few times and it works fairly well, with one exception. But the bus goes by where I frequently eat at an outdoors café and I also see the buses while walking around.

These are large buses, but I have never seen one with more than 6 passengers. Typically zero to 4. So this is a losing proposition. They could have used small jitneys instead and still been running half full at the most.

And the funny thing is the route they follow. They get on the MA pike OUTBOUND, make a U turn on the MA pike at Allston, and then follow the pike to the airport.

The I-93 expansion has made an enormous difference in both usability and safety.
Improvement to the Everett Turnpike also made an enormous difference.
And Rt101… man, memories of the “old road” seem like we were taking Conestoga wagons before the new highway was built.
I used to commute Rt3 in NH and Mass many years ago too. The expansion of the road in both southern NH and Mass made a huge, huge difference.

I contend that how much of a difference highway expansion makes is highly, highly dependent upon the area and the highway under discussion. I contend that you cannot make a statement either way that applies to more than specific locales.

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Every April I take a trip from Austin, TX to Wichita Falls,TX The orthodox route, the one that Google Earth and my GPS suggests is to take I-35 north to Fort Worth and then take some highway from Fort Worth to Wichita Falls, 307 miles and a 4:40 estimated travel time. OH HELL NO!!!
I take 183 to Lampassas and then 281 north instead for a trip that’s 26 miles shorter and has only a nine minute longer estimated time of travel.
The advantage of the second route is that there is almost a zero chance of hitting a bottleneck that turns the highway into a parking lot. On I 35, it’s almost a certainty, especially when you consider the fact that the Texas World Speedway hosts a huge NASCAR event in Fort Worth that weekend, and I 35 East goes right past that race track.
Even late at night it’s not safe to assume the traffic will be free flowing on I 35, that’s when they close lanes for maintenance.
Also, the second route takes me through a lot of charming and historical towns. It’s just a much less stressful trip and likely faster too when you consider the congestion on I 35.

GFS and Google, etc seem to base drive times on ideal conditions at ideal times but fail to mention that when they insist on recommending the Interstate routes through urban areas such as D-FW. Austin to Shreveport is a much more enjoyable and quicker trip on Highway 79 compared to I-35 and I-20.

Google bases its drive times on traffic at the time you check. And it re-routes you if the freeway option is clogged up enough to make a different route faster. If you want to avoid freeways there’s an “avoid highways” option.

Companies are actually moving away from that.

That’s hasn’t been approved yet. Not sure I want to see it.

And they still have a long ways to go. But what they’ve done so far has had a huge impact.

I drove that road for 2 years from Manchester to Portsmouth. It was a nightmare. Crosses every 2-3 miles that someone put up indicating that a loved one died there.

There are times I’ve taken the back roads to work because of an accident on either 495 or 93. Light after light after light. Heavy traffic. I’m not a big fan or MA interstate system, but it’s far better then the alternative. I can’t imagine when rt 28 was the preferred travel from Manchester to Boston.

I’m not comfortable with that idea either. Perhaps if it ever becomes ubiquitous I’ll get used to it, but not now.

@MikeInNH I hope you are right that companies are moving away from having people work from home. The only people I would encourage to work from home are university administrators. We had some that “worked” from home a couple of days a week. It was wonderful. We got more accomplished when they weren’t around.

I don’t know if I will see delivery by drones in my lifetime. Mrs. Triedaq would probably like that as she hates to go shopping and wants to make a quick purchase of an item and get out of the store. She does a lot of shopping online. We had a local grocery store chain close and the stores have been taken over and are being remodeled by a bigger chain. She would love to have groceries delivered by drones. We have a Walmart about a half mile away and she doesn’t like the store, so I make the grocery run. I have found the personnel pleasant and helpful. What I don’t understand is why people line up to use the self checkout lanes. I have found the manned checkout lanes much faster to get through and the women running the lanes are always friendly.