Fast-tracking a slow ride
Plans to revive a failed Twin Cities-to-Duluth train service ignore history.
While driving back to the Golden Valley area from my parents’ house in Wisconsin, I caught the tail end of a Twin Cities traffic update. The report was as expected: car fire here, accident there, traffic congestion from construction everywhere.
But what caught my attention was the announcer’s final comment on the road construction projects currently underway.
RADIO TRAFFIC REPORTER: Construction on Interstate 35W will be around for a while. Prepare for lane closures on both northbound and southbound I-35W starting tomorrow morning (June 18) at 5 a.m. Lane reductions will be in effect through fall 2019. Westbound I-94 will also be reduced to two lanes starting tomorrow through this fall.
I know construction season is necessary and congestion from road construction is inevitable, but why is traffic congestion still a problem even after construction is over? I need more lanes. [Emphasis added]
The announcer is exactly right. We do need more lanes.
Minnesota traffic congestion is not improving, and we now have five out of the top 100 worst traffic bottlenecks for trucks in the United States.
That’s more than Los Angeles and Chicago.
In 2017, the Twin Cities were the 22nd most congested urban area, and congestion costs the Twin Cities metro area nearly $4 billion a year in wasted time and increased business costs.
The underlying problem is unfortunately a political one. We have unelected agencies—like the Met Council—that are more concerned with bike lanes and expensive fixed rail lines than providing adequate traffic lanes to ease bottlenecks.
Without a system fix, traffic congestion and frustrating driving conditions will prevail.
The Center’s summer congestion project is bringing awareness to Minnesota’s poor transportation policy through billboards, radio ads and updated congestion facts at MNCongestion.com.
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