Monday, January 07, 2008

Build a Tunnel Under the Sound and It's Just a Matter of Time Before the Traffic Will Arrive to Fill It

Vincent Polimeni, the real estate developer who wants to build a for-profit tunnel under Long Island Sound, from Syosset to Rye, implies that anyone who doesn't seen the benefit of his proposal is being obtuse:

The benefits to the region's environment can be summed up, he said, in "simple mathematics." Whereas it takes a 45-mile trip to go from point A to point B, the tunnel would cut the distance to 16 miles.

"So just that savings alone is huge, in terms of gas consumption, in terms of pollutants put in the air and all that means," he said.

Right. More transportation infrastructure results in less traffic. That's why Los Angeles has high air quality and no traffic jams. That why's Staten Island, where I grew up, is as quiet and bucolic as it was before Robert Moses built the Verrazanno Bridge and the Staten Island Expressway.

Sorry, Mr. Polimeni. It's pretty much an iron-clad law of road building that when a new highway or bridge or tunnel opens, it eases traffic congestion for a while -- a relatively short while. But soon drivers realize there's a new highway or bridge or tunnel where the traffic isn't so bad, and the vaccuum gets filled.

Polimeni's quote comes from Phil Reisman, in the Journal News, here, who lets the history of other grandiose traffic projects convey his skepticism. Background and other opinions here.



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