It's called the Fundamental Law of Traffic Congestion: If you attempt to relieve congestion by widening a road, you will inevitably end up with more traffic and the same, if not greater, congestion — i.e., roads cause traffic.

So a Daily Progress editorial’s dismay over congestion returning on U.S. 29 North and on Rio Road after they were widened (“Unfixing what was fixed,” June 5) is naive. Widening roads will not solve the problem in Charlottesville/Albemarle, just as it has not solved the problem in Los Angeles or Houston.

Yet, when given the option of supporting alternative transportation options, such as a pedestrian bridge across the Rivanna, The Daily Progress apparently dismisses the idea as applicable to "nature lovers and fitness buffs" (“2nd bridge justified ... but possible?”, May 15).

With the increasing availability and affordability of e-bikes, biking is becoming more realistic as a transportation option for commuting and for other short trips. With our mild climate and relatively compact city, we should be an ideal area for encouraging bicycle use. But it won't happen while most people are terrified to bike on our roads. We need a safe, connected network of protected and off-road biking routes. It costs much less to build a bike path than to build a new traffic lane.

Real biking options, as well as other transit improvements, benefit more than the bicyclists who use them. They benefit people who are dependent on cars as well, by reducing demand for traffic lanes and parking, improving safety on streets and sidewalks, and increasing economic activity in urban areas.

Terri Miyamoto

Albemarle County

References

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