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Traffic Planning Begets More Traffic

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An Urban & Environmental Planner friend of mine in New York City believes that when you build bigger and beefier streets, all you do is build increased traffic congestion. "Build it and they will come," he would say. Today, Steve Hymon in his weekly Road Sage column explores the subject by extension of the Pico/Olympic plan, where city officials are planning to begin adjusting the two busy arteries to act like one-way streets starting March 8.

While Hymon suggest that acting now on the issue is a good thing in some ways, he also questions "what is the role of our streets? Do they exist to move a lot of traffic? Or should they be the spine of refurbished, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods? Can they do both?"

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He then later contrasts the quick move by the city with City Planning head Gail Goldberg, who seems less than enthused about the project: "One way you can move toward less congestion is if you provide people better accessibility and walkability and more pleasant streets. But as a city we're not ready for that conversation yet."