Saturday, June 25, 2011

is it time to stop widening exurban roads like Western Reserve?

"just say NO."

Nancy Reagan taught us well.

And this same mentality can be applied to the practice of local government spending local dollars on adding more and more lanes to existing roads.

More lanes mean more future money needed to maintain them.

More lanes mean exacerbating sprawl even with a shrinking population.

More lanes mean turning existing commercial areas into emptiness.

But are the points above the right perspective?

While one of the local newspapers reads: "[Western Reserve Road] which is 10 feet wide on each side, will be widened to 12 feet on each side and will have 4-foot paved shoulders," I've heard from others just how nice it would be if Western Reserve Road was additionally widened to four lanes.

Maybe now is the time to question the wisdom of expanding more and more streets in what used to be the exurbs. (now increasingly the suburbs)

some questions:

When money is taken from the general fund (which it is) to widen roads, does that result in existing roads in your neighborhood not being maintained?

When the labor and time of county employees is used to widen roads, does that mean your issues compete with road widening?

When a two-lane country road becomes a four-lane dragstrip, does that make the situation more of less safe?

When the government subsidizes sprawl in a region that is shrinking, do your personal property values go down?

When these roads are built and the grocery stores and shops move, are you going to have to drive further and further just take care of basic necessities?

- - -

what do you think?


Anonymous said...

I've driven on Western Reserve a lot. It's never seemed congested. Sure, when you get off of 680, but that happens at a lot of big intersections anyway. For the people who have the power here, it will never be enough.

The Vindy article said that widening the road from Tippecanoe to 46 was 10 years in the making...10 years ago there wasn't much out there. Is there anything out there now?

ArroyoLover said...

These silly highway widening projects happen because of the ridiculous federal highway fund rules that tie money to specs, even if those specs make no sense (like 12 feet wide lanes).

If I could just figure out how to transfer all those highway funds into river restoration (rivers, after all, were the first roads), then we could get the Mahoning River and its tributaries healthy again, a much wiser way to make the Mahoning Valley both healthy and attractive to those Silicon Valley types who are used to play in nature.

Eric P said...

I believe it is absolutely neccessary. There is significant traffic on these roads, and in occassions such as bad weather, nighttime driving, etc., the widening means a slight bit more safety. Every time I drive on Tibbets-Wick to my house, I recognize the margin for error is too low.

Your argument may be on the use of cars in general - but the reality is is that people will be using cars as primary transportation for many years to come. Therefore they should be made as safe as possible.

Anonymous said...

Whenever Federal money is used on a township project the matching funds come from the county. So when the widening of Western Reserve Road happens it is done with taxes collected from people in Youngstown, Struthers, Boardman, Austintown, etc...
Widening these roads allows them to build more houses out in Beaver, Green, Goshen, etc...
Since the whole county is losing population this means when a new house in built another goes empty - so we're paying to have our neighborhoods and property values decline - not very smart!

Anonymous said...

All of the used car dealers that moved out there from Market St and South Ave will be the only ones that benefit from the project. That will be the most valuable 12 feet of real estate in the Valley.

Peggy Gurney said...

YES it is most definitely time to stop widening these roads! When my tax-payer dollars are spent to widen roads in the suburbs, rather then fixing the potholes that are on MY street and right in front of my house, some so deep they can wreck a car - no exaggeration - it really upsets me.