Carmaggeddon (Lack of): the Counterintuitive Nature of Traffic and Why St. Louis Has Nothing to Fear

There are very encouraging signs that at least St. Louis City is choosing to accommodate pedestrians on at least equal footing as cars along some major streets, South Grand south of Arsenal and Manchester Avenue in The Grove are two such examples. Traffic lanes and car-prioritization is a policy choice and not a traffic study. For too long we have remade our St. Louis streets for cars and for cars only.

The carmaggeddon predicted by the complete closure of six-mile portions of the metro area’s central traffic spine didn’t materialize. Yes, some people spend more time in traffic, some people had to adjust their commute, but a 20-mile, 25-minute commute is not a right that we all must pay for. Want more evidence that decreasing traffic lanes in a select few commercial zones will not be cataclysmic? We can all agree that traffic is worse in NYC right? Well, what happened when a major thoroughfare was recently completely closed to traffic?

The book to read is “Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)” by Tom Vanderbilt. He’s set up a blog that expands and illuminates much of the material in the book. Check it out at How We Drive.


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