Traffic

For most Californians, the “freedom of the road” is nothing but a sad memory. And with the state’s population continuing to grow as tenaciously as a tumor, this sad memory is fast morphing into a cruel joke.

Home to five of the nation’s 20 most congested metro areas and 8 of the worst bottlenecked traffic corridors,1 California’s traffic problems are legendary. and Los Angeles is the most congested city in the world where commuters spent 104 hours a year in traffic jams in 2016.This congestion cost drivers in Los Angeles $2,408 each and the city as a whole $9.6 billion from direct and indirect costs.

Traffic experts agree that there is neither enough money nor enough time to build the roads and highways needed to meet California’s current demands. The cause? Too many cars and too many people.

Consider the problem faced by California during one of its highest immigration periods, from 1984 to 1997. During that time at least 26,000 lane-miles of streets and highways were added to the entire road network statewide; the Interstate highway system grew by five percent; freeways and expressways off the Interstate system increased by 26 percent; principal arterial streets grew 13 percent; and minor arterial streets increased 26 percent. Over that same period California’s population grew 28 percent and the amount of driving increased by 45 percent.

The conclusion? Building roads doesn’t solve our problems, controlling our state’s population does.

1INRIX National Traffic Scorecard. 2017. http://scorecard.inrix.com/scorecard/ 
 

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