Originally Posted by 65MAX
You're absolutely right, this is a no-brainer. Anywhere else in the country would have already built this by now (or their local equivalent). And they would have done it without rail transit. Or bike and pedestrian access. The CRC has all of that and people STILL get bent out of shape. For them, only the status quo will do, anything new or improved is evil. Just build the damn thing.
Another thing these anti-car people fail to realize is that automobiles will not always be internal combustion. They will be alternatively-powered; electric, liquid hydrogen, fuel cell, nuclear fusion, whatever. There will STILL be millions of cars on the roads and highways even after gas and oil are no longer used to power them.
I agree, to a limited extent. And as someone currently who doesn't own a car and someone who supported the President Elect, I guess I am a card-carrying member of the "anti-car left" brigade. Although I strongly support alternatives to automobile use, I do think some sort of personal transport will always be around.
That being said, I've seen the drawbacks of a car-based lifestyle, even excluding carbon from the equation.
I lived most of my life in the leafy suburbs of the deep south surrounded by fresh, ever-expanding black-top. We had no other options but automobile travel, so when gridlock arrived, it generally took about 15 years to widen 10-15 miles of interstate, just in time to - you guessed it - begin widening it again!!
And for some stubborn reason, sprawl kept following the path blazed by that fresh black top. For the new transplants to outlying counties, what was once a 10 minute commute became 30, 40, 50 minutes.
At some point, by spending an increasing fraction of our lives in cars commuting longer distances to work, don't we deprive the economy the productivity it needs to keep growing?
Also, as pasture lands are gobbled up by the exurbs, you get an exacerbated runoff problem, a greater urban heat island effect and worse air quality.
And of course, the deep south has quite a prodigious appetite for the federal subsidies that make all those highways possible. In contrast, some places like Portland have used the federal money available to build transportation that doesn't take 15 years to scale up if necessary.
Not that Portland is perfect in its land use and transportation allocation decisions, but I do admire the fact that they tried something different and it seems to have paid off handsomely.
So in sum, I think the bridges need replacing, but it won't solve the problem of gridlock elsewhere on I-5. I also think a robust transit network should be developed alongside any road replacements or upgrades so that we have established right of way for greater scalability in the future!
Hopefully, along the way, we can avoid the fates of Atlanta or DFW. (Although, even they have now come to their senses and are busy developing alternatives to expanding highways exclusively)