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Traffic Congestion and Highway Construction


monsoon

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41 minutes ago, tarhoosier said:

The Roadway Expansion Paradox

Motorists want expensive roadway expansions provided that somebody else foots the bill, but when required to pay directly through tolls, the need for more capacity often disappears. What should planners do?

 

 

Drivers always feel like the must drive. But when the expense of driving begins to approach its actual societal costs  (we have only seen higher gas prices and tolls in a few places, we need a carbon tax too)  they always seem to find another way (usually by making fewer trips).

Subsidized suburbanization (which includes subsidized driving) was the largest social engineering project ever. The massive transfer of wealth from urban residents to suburbanites and rural residents needs to stop. Its time for drivers to pay their own way! 

This experiment in socialism for suburbanites is made worse by our political system which under represents urban voters. Urbanites are being taxed (both explicitly and implicitly via climate change) to finance this suburban ponzi scheme without representation. Its time to rise up!

/rant/ 

/slight sarcasm in order to make a point that no one, including Tarhoosier, asked for/

/I still stand by the broad brush ideas here. Suburbanites are clearly the largest welfare class in the US but that inconvenient truth gets camouflaged behind ‘American dream’ rhetoric/

Edited by kermit
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I take the 77 toll lanes regularly, ESPECIALLY the connector from 85 S to 77 S due to the inherent unsafe design (imo) of that original construction. I have seen little to nothing recently about the change in congestion on 77 N and S due to the toll lanes. I sail along them regularly and consider the charge a small price overall. I use the lanes at non peak times. Any information about use of toll vs free lanes and overall congestion Delta? I am too lazy to research this.

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Drivers always feel like the must drive. But when the expense of driving begins to approach its actual societal costs  (we have only seen higher gas prices and tolls in a few places, we need a carbon tax too)  they always seem to find another way (usually by making fewer trips).
Subsidized suburbanization (which includes subsidized driving) was the largest social engineering project ever. The massive transfer of wealth from urban residents to suburbanites and rural residents needs to stop. Its time for drivers to pay their own way! 
This experiment in socialism for suburbanites is made worse by our political system which under represents urban voters. Urbanites are being taxed (both explicitly and implicitly via climate change) to finance this suburban ponzi scheme without representation. Its time to rise up!
/rant/ 
/slight sarcasm in order to make a point that no one, including Tarhoosier, asked for/
/I still stand by the broad brush ideas here. Suburbanites are clearly the largest welfare class in the US but that inconvenient truth gets camouflaged behind ‘American dream’ rhetoric/

The predicament about the carbon tax specifically in the US is that it often hurts lower income individuals than it does more wealthy individuals. There also needs to be a way that provides alternatives for lower income or implementing it in a more careful manner that mitigates harm to those more vulnerable populations. Wealthier individuals can more easily afford an EV and avoid the carbon tax for example or even more easily foot the bill.
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2 hours ago, JeanClt said:


The predicament about the carbon tax specifically in the US is that it often hurts lower income individuals than it does more wealthy individuals. There also needs to be a way that provides alternatives for lower income or implementing it in a more careful manner that mitigates harm to those more vulnerable populations. Wealthier individuals can more easily afford an EV and avoid the carbon tax for example or even more easily foot the bill.

Meh, just take a portion of the revenue and do a tax credit back to low income folks. Even if all of the carbon tax revenue gets rebated back, it will still succeed in making driving more expensive, thus people will do less of it (which is the whole point).

Edited by kermit
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9 hours ago, NcSc74 said:

Is this punishment from the state for building light rail or did Charlotte choose the blue line over roads?

The federal funds used to build light rail couldn't be used to build highways.  However, the state funding cap for rail transit is politically motivated.

Ultimately, the push for a combined roads and transit tax is more about local politics.   Since the first tax passed last millennium, CATS has still not built any rapid transit outside of one line in the City, and only has a rough plan for a second line to reach landlocked Matthews in another two decades.  At that slow pace of the past two decades, voters aren't exactly jumping at the chance to pay more and still wait even longer for just one more rail line.

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5 hours ago, southslider said:

The federal funds used to build light rail couldn't be used to build highways.  However, the state funding cap for rail transit is politically motivated.

Ultimately, the push for a combined roads and transit tax is more about local politics.   Since the first tax passed last millennium, CATS has still not built any rapid transit outside of one line in the City, and only has a rough plan for a second line to reach landlocked Matthews in another two decades.  At that slow pace of the past two decades, voters aren't exactly jumping at the chance to pay more and still wait even longer for just one more rail line.

The tax is/was also used to dramatically expand bus services, it was not intended for just rail. 

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19 hours ago, NcSc74 said:

I'd say there is a fine line to straddle; road building vs transit.  IMO, NC has many horrible interatate planning.  I get it,  when they were planned our cities were small.  Now growth has caught up to the top 5 metro's and NCDOT is still stuck in the 1960's.  Example, why does Goldsoro have a signed 795 spur and Charlotte doesnt have a a signed interstate spur east toward Wilmington.  Anoher thing that drives me nuts is the 77/85 and 77/277 interchanges.  Somebody please explian  hwo they are still in operation in 2022.  Is this punishment from the state for building light rail or did Charlotte choose the blue line over roads?

I can't wait for urban areas in this state to out-populate rural ones. 

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I'm more concerned about the managed/express lanes network being built correctly so that more regional express buses and bus rapid transit can begin. I-77 widening with express lanes between I-277 and NC/SC stateline should be done first. Then a total redo of US 74 from I-277 to I-485 into a totally limited access freeway with managed lanes & access roads directly parallel to the general purpose lanes allowing the businesses and activity centers to remain along the corridor, and grade-separated interchange slip ramps to/from the main corridor. The access roads only be 2 lanes in 20' in width should be limited to 35 mph with sidewalks on both sides. 

Edited by kayman
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9 minutes ago, kayman said:

I'm more concerned about the managed/express lanes network being built correctly so that more regional express buses and bus rapid transit can begin. I-77 widening with express lanes between I-277 and NC/SC stateline should be done first. Then a total redo of US 74 from I-277 to I-485 into a totally limited access freeway with managed lanes & access roads directly parallel to the general purpose lanes allowing the businesses and activity centers to remain along the corridor, and grade-separated interchange slip ramps to/from the main corridor. The access roads only be 2 lanes in 20' in width should be limited to 35 mph with sidewalks on both sides. 

74 is much further in design for express lanes from 485 to 277 and will almost certainly get built out first. 

I was searching for this the other day and can't find it - several years ago there was a preliminary analysis of I-77 south of Uptown and how it's capacity could be increased. Suggestions included an elevated 4 lane section above the ground. Does anyone remember where this lives? (and also 77 south of uptown could be NC's most expensive road project ever)

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1 minute ago, tozmervo said:

74 is much further in design for express lanes from 485 to 277 and will almost certainly get built out first. 

I was searching for this the other day and can't find it - several years ago there was a preliminary analysis of I-77 south of Uptown and how it's capacity could be increased. Suggestions included an elevated 4 lane section above the ground. Does anyone remember where this lives? (and also 77 south of uptown could be NC's most expensive road project ever)

US 74 is further along in design and engineering process but NCDOT is attempting to value engineer this out of existence of happening though.  However, the current design is trash as it put pedestrians in danger with these sidewalks and curb cuts next to a current expressway along with interchange exit ramps. That's why I said it needs to be totally grade-separated interchanges with parallel access roads similar to the expressways with access roads in Louisiana and Texas. We can restrict the speeds on the access roads to 35 mph. At least pedestrians and cyclists will be able access to the areas along the corridor without fear of our lives do to high speed vehicles along Independence.  

US 74 should be upgraded to an interstate designation as a spur of I-85, I-77, or I-74 from Uptown to I-40 in Wilmington. This is an imperative as well so that we have an adequate Southeast freeway and direct access to Wilmington. 

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56 minutes ago, kayman said:

US 74 should be upgraded to an interstate designation as a spur of I-85, I-77, or I-74 from Uptown to I-40 in Wilmington. This is an imperative as well so that we have an adequate Southeast freeway and direct access to Wilmington. 

I-174 from (uptown) Charlotte (or at least 485?) to Rockingham?

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6 hours ago, tozmervo said:

74 is much further in design for express lanes from 485 to 277 and will almost certainly get built out first. 

I was searching for this the other day and can't find it - several years ago there was a preliminary analysis of I-77 south of Uptown and how it's capacity could be increased. Suggestions included an elevated 4 lane section above the ground. Does anyone remember where this lives? (and also 77 south of uptown could be NC's most expensive road project ever)

Feasibility Study 0810A (page 31/figure 2)

The I-26 connector in Asheville will probably take the most expensive "honor" if/when it starts in a few years (already estimated at $1 billion+), and the project is only five miles long (well, there's a bunch of ramps and bridges). I-77 in southern Mecklenburg will likely take the crown after that since it isn't scheduled to start for another decade and already estimated at over $1 billion, but it's about double the length.

Edited by cowboy_wilhelm
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15 hours ago, tozmervo said:

I was searching for this the other day and can't find it - several years ago there was a preliminary analysis of I-77 south of Uptown and how it's capacity could be increased. Suggestions included an elevated 4 lane section above the ground.

I liked that plan.  I might be wrong, but I vaguely remember this idea being similar to the Selmon Expressway in Tampa.  It's an elevated four lanes above the median of the existing road below from downtown heading east towards Brandon which is a suburb comparable to our Rock Hill.  The lanes are reversable with all lanes inbound in the AM and then outbound in the afternoon effectively doubling capacity in the right direction at the most needed times.  I believe it has been pretty successful. 

Edit:

I just looked it up and Brandon actually has a population greater than Concord now (114,000) and a pop density higher than Charlotte (3,400/sq. mile). I didn't realize it had grown that much. 

Edited by go_vertical
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19 hours ago, kayman said:

The bus rapid transit ... a pretty good deal for an express/rapid bus corridor

True, BRT would have more frequency and cost less per rider, but sadly, North Towns only see the broken promise of commuter rail.

Political will matters for successful transit. This is largely why prospects look so dim now for the Charlotte region.  Trust has been greatly exhausted, and at the very worst time, when many fear traveling in enclosed spaces with strangers.  It will take time to heal and prove credibility with an improved performance record, instead of rushing expansion plans.

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3 hours ago, southslider said:

True, BRT would have more frequency and cost less per rider, but sadly, North Towns only see the broken promise of commuter rail.

Political will matters for successful transit. This is largely why prospects look so dim now for the Charlotte region.  Trust has been greatly exhausted, and at the very worst time, when many fear traveling in enclosed spaces with strangers.  It will take time to heal and prove credibility with an improved performance record, instead of rushing expansion plans.

That's a state matter with the Red Line as they are the negotiators with Norfolk-Southern and it's usage of rights of way.  There's not much the much anyone can do except Governor Cooper mandating these negotiations resume over the railroad rights of way between Charlotte and Greensboro in exchange for the N-S  O-Line usage

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8 hours ago, go_vertical said:

Edit:

I just looked it up and Brandon actually has a population greater than Concord now (114,000) and a pop density higher than Charlotte (3,400/sq. mile). I didn't realize it had grown that much. 

Brandon is a census designated place, not an incorporated municipality. Services are delivered by Hillsborough County. By convention it is known by the historic name but has no legal definition as such. Weird.

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1 hour ago, kayman said:

That's a state matter with the Red Line as they are the negotiators with Norfolk-Southern and it's usage of rights of way.  There's not much the much anyone can do except Governor Cooper mandating these negotiations resume over the railroad rights of way between Charlotte and Greensboro in exchange for the N-S  O-Line usage

Sure, the State may have more influence over Norfolk Southern, but the local transit agency faces the political consequences for pretending as if the Red Line were ever realistically probable. 

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1 hour ago, southslider said:

Sure, the State may have more influence over Norfolk Southern, but the local transit agency faces the political consequences for pretending as if the Red Line were ever realistically probable. 

It WAS realistically probable

Edited by tozmervo
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20 hours ago, cowboy_wilhelm said:

Feasibility Study 0810A (page 31/figure 2)

The I-26 connector in Asheville will probably take the most expensive "honor" if/when it starts in a few years (already estimated at $1 billion+), and the project is only five miles long (well, there's a bunch of ramps and bridges). I-77 in southern Mecklenburg will likely take the crown after that since it isn't scheduled to start for another decade and already estimated at over $1 billion, but it's about double the length.

To be fair about I-26, being in the mountains increase costs for engineering and construction already due to complexity and environmental considerations. 

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