Yesterday's Courier-Journal headline painted a scary picture of Louisville's future traffic congestion. "Congestion rife on Louisville highways; Louisville among worst US cities its size with 38 hours lost yearly." Interesting timing considering that Metro Council will be asked to approve the creation of a tolling authority in the coming weeks.
But for readers who actually read the article, they found the headline to be misleading. For example, congestion has "stayed relatively constant from 1997 to 2007". This begs the question,
Why would we toll our bridges and triple the size of Spaghetti Junction when congestion hasn't increased over the past decade?
The article also acknowledges that "the report's backers include road building and public transit interests." Road builders like to build roads. In fact, that's one of the ways they suggest we get out of this mess of congestion that hasn't increased in a decade, by building more roads. But we all know Barry Barker is correct when he says, "you can't build yourself out of congestion."
The other interesting fact about this hot-off-the-shelf 2009 report is that it didn't include any traffic data from 2008. As we've noted in other posts, Louisville's congestion is reported to have declined by 39% in 2008. This data is from INRIX, a privately held corporation founded by former Microsoft executives, not road building interests.
Did we mention that traffic on the Kennedy Bridge went down 15,000 cars/day last year? Look for a future post regarding the region's actual traffic counts.