Thursday, October 6, 2011

How local governments force you to waste gas.

The by-pass. It is one of my pet peeves. Drive down a busy thoroughfare and every big box store, every chain restaurant and every corner gas station has to have it's own traffic light. Our town calls their main commercial thru street the by-pass. It's nothing of the sort. All that remains of the street moniker is a nod to good intentions of a day long gone by. Hoping to decongest downtown traffic by rerouting thru traffic, they built a new road; the by-pass. Every Soul with an ounce of commerce sense wanted to capture that traffic. Today, downtown is dead and by-passing the town has become an energy gulping, exhaust belching, traffic nightmare. The town next over to the west, Kokomo, IN is adding a by-pass around their by-pass. Do local government officials take the blue pill, ala The Matrix, with their oath of office. Do they not know they are creating a new venue for commerce and consequently traffic lights, congestion and wasted gas? How do they think they're going to stop it? It will just cause the business on the old by-pass to struggle, just like downtown.

Freeways- the oxymoron of fast auto travel in the U.S. Put one near a city and every town street that can see the freeway with 35X binoculars wants an exit ramp to lure traffic. If that's not half bad, what is bad is that local traffic climbs on the freeway and uses it as a local thoroughfare w/o speed limits or traffic lights. That is how rush hour got invented. Wasting your gas sitting still on a freeway with a 70 mph speed limit because everyone going from one end of town to the other wants to get on the "freeway". Thru traffic should be stopped or shunted from an hour either side of the rush hour. It's too late to stop local traffic. I kid. It's a nightmare. Indianapolis and Chicago are bent on creating more of them. Of course, having taken the blue pill they're oblivious.

Leading me to, freeway construction. In the summer gas prices go way up to capture the increased demand due to summer vacation travel. So what do the blue pill eaters do? Dig up miles and miles of good freeway to put down miles and miles of good freeway when everyone in the country is on them. At least the color and the stripes look nice for the winter driving crowd, which are the locals, who it wasn't meant for in the first place. We get to squeeze in, slow down, sometimes to a crawl for hours so that my taxes can go to a paving construction company who causes me to spend more on gas so he can recycle some of my taxes to a campaign kitty for the blue pill eaters in Washington, D.C. Makes perfect sense.

Country lanes- I try to get around downtown and the by-pass by taking the county lanes. The blue pill people at county government have me covered. It seems like every intersection has become a four way stop. Nine times out of ten, no one meets me at the country lane intersection. Obeying the law demands I stop, wasting precious time and gasoline. For what? One excuse is to deter speeding. When I was a teen, the race was the quarter mile. You'd be stopped by the half mile. Stop signs every mile do nothing to deter that. If one wanted to go many miles that fast they could go to the freeway. Oh, wait. Scratch that.

I have read this excuse after an accident suffering a tragic death, usually a pretty teen girl or young mom, never for a geezer. The extra two stop signs are to prevent another tragic accident. Actually the fact that this logic doesn't disqualify a person from ending out their term as an elected official or employ as a street maintenance person signifies we are, none of us, too smart for allowing it to go on. The two stop signs that were already there when the accident happened didn't prevent the accident. A person didn't look who was stopped or was supposed to stop. Another sign won't prevent that from happening again. Four way stops and traffic light corners have accidents all the time. People being stupid, distracted or plain old not paying attention cause accidents. Not a lack of a four way stop.

Commercial traffic in thoroughfares should be routed to frontages that dump out on the by-pass at fewer locations, giving thru traffic a freer reign and less wasting of gas. Freeways should have every other exit ramp in city jurisdictions shut down to keep local traffic off. Country lanes should allow the naturally used thru streets to travel in relative unobstructed flow except where a naturally used cross roads or State highways intersects it.

We waste tons of gas and money with traffic flow plans that have nothing to do with traffic flow or safety. They are about commerce and feel good responses to grieving relatives of dead drivers. The future governments should eat the red pill. Get real. They should modify these wasteful patterns. Roads should be repaired when they need it, not on a schedule or when the budget can be plumped up. STOP signs should enhance flow. Exit ramps should only be for intersecting major State highways and a few select city accesses.

The government considers energy self-sufficiency a national security priority. They can help us help them achieve it by designing traffic flow patterns that accomplish that objective.

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