Monday, March 21, 2005

Relieving Congestion on Orange County Freeways

Steve Vallely wrote a letter to the editor of the Orange County Register, arguing that building more freeways is not the answer to relieving congestion on the freeways. He wants to know why light rail and monorails would not work:

I know the light-rail project has recently been scrapped, and I can see why. Still, it seems to me the $600 million would go a long way toward building a system of quietly running, elevated, Disneyland-type monorails throughout Orange County, alongside, or in the middle of, the freeways, with elevated stations and parking areas every so often.

I am not the first person to think about this way to "fix gridlock." I would like someone at OCTA to explain why it would not work.

If people ride the freeway in a motor vehicle, why wouldn't they ride it in a monorail? I would, if given the opportunity.
First, mass transit doesn't offer convenience. The train doesn't stop at your house; you have to drive your car to the depot. If you're driving your car to the depot, you may as well drive the rest of the way.

Second, cars offers personalization. You can't smoke on a bus. You can't play your radio loud on a train. If you're riding the train, you can't make a quick stop at Home Depot to pick something up.

Third, mass transit is more expensive than driving a car. Assuming you're driving an average sized automobile, you'll spend less money on fuel than if taking a train. This is mainly because when driving a car, you'll take the quickest route.

The only way you can get the average commuter to take a train, is if the train stops at their block, and drops them off a block from their work, and if the train can be summoned immediately after pressing a button.

Otherwise, you can't change peoples' habits. It's like that old saying, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." Just because you build a commuter train, doesn't mean people will ride it.

My solution is to build more freeways, and build them wider. Go ahead and build more toll roads.

Another thing I'd like to see are fewer laws on motorcycles. For example, I'd like to see the State eliminate registration fees for motorcycles, as an incentive for buying motorcycles. Motorcycles are highly fuel efficient, getting 40-60 MPG, and take up less room on freeways. I'd like to see the State eliminate the "Class M" licensing for motorcycles with 650cc engines or smaller, as a way to encourage people to drive them.


  1. Surely you don't really mean all of this.

  2. Can't, Can't, Can't!
    I am tired of hearing this.
    I can ride the bus for $3 a day, to and from work. Or I can drive my van, and spend $9 - $12 a day. So, Mass transit costs more? The commute is about the same time too, considering how congested the freeways are. If I want an easy and quick drive home, I would have to wait till after 7PM to drive!
    I would love the Monorail over a light rail any day. A monorail uses less space than a light rail, and can be very fuel-efficient. No wires to string up in the air. Look at all the places that Monorails are in place. Las Vegas even.

    Can't, Can't, Can't... Just means not even going to try, or consider.


    It is easy


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