Finally, a Cheap Way to Reduce Traffic

Learn how to drive.

You can always count on Harmon Shay to provide much-needed perspective on the political issues of the day. Every morning, KUOW’s traffic reciter reports on where your various stalls and injury accidents are, as well as their attendant backups (which inevitably go both ways—one side from the obstruction, the other from the staring). His reports offer an incisive critique of our transportation policy. Because oddly enough, in all the discussion of how much we suffer on account of traffic congestion, and all the time we’re “losing” to it, there’s never any mention of this fact: The problem isn’t a lack of highways; it’s people’s crappy driving on the ones we have.

Proposition 1, for instance, would spend $7 billion on highway construction, plus another $11 billion or so on expanding Sound Transit. The result of all this building, according to the Regional Transportation Investment District’s “Blueprint for Progress,” would “reduce total delay by 25 percent.” Which is a happy coincidence. Because according to recent figures from the Federal Highway Administration, accidents are what cause 25 percent of highway congestion.

So what would be even cheaper than RTID is if all you nice folks listening to Harmon Shay didn’t also weave in and out of lanes while chewing on a Big Eats. That’s a plan we could fully endorse.

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