In a sad decision, the agency responsible for planning out the Bay Area's use of $218 billion in transit projects over the next 25 years, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, has given the majority of the money to autos and toll roads. Most of the money goes to upkeep on our roads, highways and bridges.
The new idea they are floating is a bad one. Converting existing carpool lanes into "express lanes" that single occupant vehicles could use, paying an electronic toll via a fast trak box. Put aside for a moment the regressive nature of these lanes (rich people get to drive somewhere faster) and the impact they will no doubt have on traffic as even the carpool lanes get gummed up. Consider instead the fundamental reason for carpool lanes, to reduce the number of vehicles on the road.
Carpool lanes do not exist to reduce traffic or make life easier for people. Those are just nice side effects. Their raison d'etre is to make fewer people use cars. That they do this through incentivizing should please our Libertarian friends. Alarmingly, the MTC's new plan would allow single vehicles to use these lanes. It is actually incentivizing single car travel, especially for the well off.
The sad aside to all this is how little the MTC's plan does for public transit. Even in the crunchy Bay Area, public transit is pretty woeful. This plan calls for some extension of BART, but it ignores that every transit provider in the Bay Area is reducing runs due to budget cuts. Again, we are incentivizing people to drive by making public transit less effective.
Ideally, the MTC (and America in general) would put aside our ridiculous sense of "rugged individualism" and force people to consider public transit more. Ideas like shutting the main drag in San Francisco, Market Street, to everything but busses and bikes or car taxes in the City are steps that I believe should be taken. We need to realize that our infrastructure was not made to handle 2 or 3 cars per household.
Last 5 posts by Ezra
- Yogi Berra for Governor - December 7th, 2010
- BGGCon 2010 - Day 0 - December 6th, 2010
- Your Friday Afternoon is Happy to See the Name World B. Free - December 3rd, 2010
- Boardgamegeek Con - Year 2 - November 15th, 2010
- The Games We Played: Alexander Hamilton - AntiFederalist - November 12th, 2010