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And You Thought Your Commute Sucked

August 23, 2010
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Wow. Check out this article about China’s recent nine-day traffic jam. Nine days!!! Even in the worst LA traffic I’ve never been stuck for nine days. This article struck a chord with me. Recently I’ve been thinking a lot more about urban planning, and the whole traffic issue has come up over and over again. How do we fix vehicular congestion, and how do we fix it considering that the concept of everyone driving their own independent gas driven vehicles proves to be more and more ill-fitted towards an increasing global population? 

In Seattle they’re currently trying to figure out how to replace the Alaskan way viaduct once it’s taken down. For those who don’t know the viaduct is an elevated roadway that holds the WA-99, a major North-South route in Seattle. It’s also a very shoddy piece of workmanship, and apparently will crumble under the first major earthquake (which is due any day now). See the video below:

So considering that video it’s clear that a replacement is needed. But what? Right now the city of Seattle of toiling over whether they should build a tunnel,expand the I-5, or something else. Regardless what solution they choose it should look ahead, and when I say look ahead I’m talking much farther forward than a few decades.

This world has a finite number of resources, and whether it’s fuel or the metals we use to construct our vehicles the age of the individual car owner is going to come to an end at some point. Don’t get me wrong, I love my car. It has taken me on many adventures, allows me freedom to explore my hobbies whenever I want. But as fuel becomes more scarce and population growth becomes more  prevalent I think it’s clear that the model of transportation needs to be redesigned. Bike lanes should be added to more roads, more rail lines need to be created between large cities, and publicly owned vehicles like zip cars should be more available. While expanding highways may be a nice temporary fix we need to consider allowing space so that they may be retrofitted with energy efficient trains that offer transportation to many when the time comes.

I just think it’s so ironic that Seattle is redesigning a rail system that was removed from the city fifty some years ago for the car. I think that shows history is indeed cyclical. Consider that when we’re all riding horses to work, telling our kids stories of the good old days when we still had fuel for cars.

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