“We’re a highway department; we’re not a bicycle department.” (The South County Connector)

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SoCoCon2“We’re a highway department; we’re not a bicycle department.” This is how a spokesperson for the St. Louis County Department of Highways and Traffic decided to deride opposition to the proposed South County Connector project. The statement, offered to reporter Michael Calhoun of KMOX, is both revealing and a display of stunning ignorance.

There is no bicycle department in St. Louis County, nor a pedestrian department, nor a quality of life department, though there should be. The Department of Highways and Traffic, however, does exist within an environment that includes these unformalized concerns. Nearly every cyclist is also a motorist. Nearly every pedestrian also travels in a car. The idea that a highway is a highway, nothing more and nothing less, insulated from other concerns is myopic, dysfunctional and untrue.

The statement above reveals that not only is there not a “bicycle department”, but that the Department of Highways and Traffic will refuse to acknowledge the voices of those who it would derogatorily label as such. In its espoused worldview, municipalities and concerns other than level of service (for cars) and traffic throughput are obstacles to be first avoided, then dismissed and likely next attacked.

Those opposed to the South County Connector need to directly attack the flawed premise offered by highway and traffic planning. It’s tempting to use the County’s own findings to combat the project. The draft Environmental Impact Statement predicts that traffic within the study area will decrease in the coming years and that the project will increase congestion at Hanley Road and I-64. This is important to note, but even if the EIS predicted an increase in traffic, the plan is a bad idea. Traffic predictions, and their supposed impact, is pure guesswork. The county highway department is only one component of infrastructure development and clearly needs to be reminded of this fact. What if “level of service” pertained to a community, to a plan’s ability to maximize land use, tax revenue, residential development and quality of life factors such as parks and walkable neighborhoods? What if people started asking who the “improvement” part of “road improvement” served?

Traffic does not increase to a point that is breaks a community. Can anyone name a community that has failed, deteriorated, or become unpopular because there’s too much local traffic? It doesn’t happen because people have a threshold for driving in traffic. In St. Louis it’s rather low. In this way, traffic regulates itself. As a street becomes “too congested” in the judgment of drivers, they choose a different street, a different time to travel, or a different destination. Yet where are the most congested streets found in St. Louis? Precisely where people want to be. A community can build places worth going or places that lack traffic, not both. It’s that simple. No “knowledgeable, talented, experienced, courteous, hard-working (to use the words the department uses to describe their engineers) engineer can build our way out of this fact.

The communities of near South County aren’t bleeding residents, businesses or wealth. They aren’t in need of saving. Not that a highway project has ever “saved” a community, but such a senseless argument has been the justification for urban highways for half a century. What’s truly amazing in the St. Louis County Department of Highway and Traffic Propaganda is charging the City of Maplewood of selfishly looking out for its own interests. How dare they? How dare Maplewood stand up and represent its residents, advocating for what’s best for them? Doesn’t Maplewood know that all municipalities are subservient to the St. Louis County Department of Highway and Traffic Propaganda?

But seriously, who is being served by the South County Connector? Why is the St. Louis Department of Highway and Traffic Propaganda so invested in seeing it built? What is this monster that demands we build ever more and wider roads? Who is Maplewood obligated to accommodate? There’s an amorphous, ethereal call that comes from highway engineers when someone doesn’t like a highway proposal. They shout, “It’s part of the regional highway network that must be served!” But who benefits? Maplewood is being asked to bulldoze businesses, seize homes and pave more of their city so that a select group of people living in another town can pass through more easily. Selfish indeed. If more municipalities were so self-serving, St. Louis County might not have stopped adding population more than 40 years ago. The county might be home to more places people want to live, not travel through. Strong communities compose a strong county and a strong region.

Engineers are capable of building livable streets, roads that accommodate all users and best serve a community and region, but in the context of the St. Louis Department of Highways and Traffic Propaganda, they’re only giving us crap. The self-defeating focus on throughput, level of service (for cars only) and high speed interchanges only serves their drawing boards, some rogue checklist of asphalt goals. We now have nearly 70 years of local history that shows highways do not build better communities. To validate the St. Louis Department of Highways and Traffic Propaganda’s myopic ignorance, it’s perhaps not their job to recognize and correct their own obsolescence.

This is what Maplewood is doing and why its commonsense, yet remarkable, stance is important to the future of St. Louis and should be loudly supported.

The “South County Connector” was called out as crazy two years ago on this. Click here for more on the draft EIS and Maplewood’s letter detailing its opposition to the project. Click here for the project website.

The Draft EIS will be available for review and comment from May 3, 2013 until July 19, 2013. Written comments on the Draft EIS must be postmarked or received by email or mail no later than Friday, July 19, 2013. Written comments should be submitted to:

Mail: St. Louis County Department of Highways and Traffic Attention: South County Connector 121 S. Meramec Avenue Clayton, Missouri 63105

Email: [email protected]

Fax: (314) 615-8532

South County Connector Draft EIS Volume I – April 2013, St. Louis County Department of Highways and Traffic… by nextSTL

City of Maplewood South County Connector Public Comment Letter by nextSTL

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  • Presbyterian

    I posted a simple and classic City solution on the Forum:
    Place Schoemel pots across River Des Peres Blvd just inside the city limit.

  • Jim

    I’ve done a lot
    of digging on this project, including going through the DEIS, all it’s appendices,
    and even the supporting documents it was conceptualized from. Aside from all of
    the issues being brought forward concerning cost, actual need, alternatives TO
    building (not build alternatives), etc is another very critical piece that few
    are talking about…

    Even critics to
    the project tend to agree that a full/improved interchange at I-44 is a good
    idea and the lynch pin to the entire project. Without the new interchange,
    every other component to the project becomes completely useless (as opposed to
    mostly useless…). It’s well known that the project is “unfunded” currently, but
    that just means it might take 5 or 10 years to be fully designed and built,
    right? Wrong, it’s closer to 20 if we are lucky.

    (link at the end)
    The interchange was identified in East-West Gateway’s Regional Transportation
    Plan 2040 (a planning document that outlines the regions priorities and goals
    for federal transportation dollars through 2040), but isn’t expected to be
    funded until 2031-2040…! Giving them the
    benefit of the doubt, construction will start ON THE INTERCHANGE in 2031, call
    it 3 years until the whole project is open and functional…

    How is the DEIS
    even relevant? Gathering public input, evaluating outcomes and project impacts now
    is ridiculous. Even if one grants the County their proposed needs and agrees
    that the project is a good idea, conducting the DEIS a full 20 years before
    funding might be available is reckless and an affront to the residents of the
    future.

    http://www.ewgateway.org/pdffiles/library/trans/rtp2040/lrtp2040.pdf
    (I reference page 28 of the document/page 34 of the PDF)

  • Jay Dee

    The article says it all. The drive between South County and Clayton is unbearable. And, it needs to stay that way. We need to stop being enablers. If people want to conduct business and work in Clayton, they should live nearer Clayton. No one’s tax dollars should be spent to enable someone to live that far from where they work. If they want to do that, one of the prices they should pay is a miserable commute. I’m not saying we have to discourage people from moving out from the city’s core, but we certainly shouldn’t encourage it and most definitely shouldn’t fund it.

  • Brian
  • Ian Storm

    Thanks for writing about this. As a Maplewood resident, I will continue to comment and give my opinion, but I do fear that the County doesn’t care one bit and will plow through with this regardless of opposition.

    • guest

      Here’s the screwy part. The Environmental Impact Statement and related public comment is the only opportunity for the public to weigh in on projects like this, pro or con.

      So apparently it makes no difference if the public opposes this project or it’s opposed by municipalities directly in the path of the project. The “higher ups”, in this case our government highway planners, have the power to push this through regardless of community opposition.

      Something is very wrong here. Government should not have the power to force projects down the throats of citizens at taxpayer expense. These bureaucrats and elected officials behave as if these projects and public dollars are theirs to decide and theirs to spend, regardless of public comment.

      This sort of “planning” and government decision making is more akin a dictatorship than representative democracy. The degree of ugly here is just amazing. This whole thing is really just flat out un-American.

  • greencat

    People should* be fired over this. I’m appalled that a department with so much power to destroy (or enhance) the fabric of our community could display this level of ignorance about its role in serving the public with no official consequence. Given that public hearings on and petitions against this project seem to be largely ignored and ineffective, can legal action be taken? In the article the question is asked but there is no answer given to why the Department of Highways AND Traffic is so hell bent on pushing the connector project through. How does it benefit them to force a short-sighted project through despite public concerns? There are plenty of other legitimate projects they could be focusing on.

    *In a perfect world. Yes, I know: People who should be fired are instead promoted in all realms of our society on a regular basis. I still reserve the right to be outraged by it.

  • Sook Deek

    Note to the St. Louis County Department of Highways and Traffic: You are the lowest of the low. You make St. Louis a worse place everyday. Like all government transportation agencies, you destroy communities, you encourage sprawl and you don’t get a DAMN about it. You are a bunch of clown acts.

  • guest

    Here we go again…

    At the Arch, over 90% of comments said “remove the highway in front of the Arch.” What happened? MODOT and the NPS ignored the public comments.

    This time around…

    Public opposition is mounting the South County Connector, including a strong protest from the town at ground zero – Maplewood. And what’s happening? The County Highway Department is digging in its heals, forcing its will, making it clear this project is a priority of theirs and they will do it.

    The planning process is apparently nothing more than a sham to meet federal regulations. Actual public sentiment apparently means nothing to this government agency. They say they want to hear from the public, but they have no intent to slow down this train.

    So are we really owned by these highway agencies? Is this a function of the fact that government has such a hard time doing anything creative or progressive, so it builds roads and calls it “progress”?

    Isn’t it ironic that the very poster child of community revitalization in our region, Maplewood, the place where creative placemaking has really worked, where the quality of life has made dramatic improvements, is now under the gun of a highway department hell bent on having its way through the charming town.

    Outrageous. Outrageous and sad.

  • guest

    Today on KMOX the County Highway Planner said the South County Connector will go through a “fragment of the city”. That “fragment” happens to be a city park, but who cares?

    Apparently not the County Highway Department, because they haven’t even given city residents the courtesy of holding one public meeting on this project within the City of St. Louis, even though that’s where all the traffic is being diverted.

    Forget extending 170; that won’t work. So let’s concentrate all the traffic onto River Des Peres Boulevard, and then not include city neighborhoods in the planning process!

    • Alex Ihnen

      Any chance you know if the Aldermperson for the areas affected have pushed to be involved?

      • guest

        Other than Ogilivie, those would be Baringer, Vacarro, and Arnowitz. Has any voiced a position on the issue? Maybe only Alderman Ogilvie.

  • Chippewa

    I don’t know why everyone is acting suprised, its MODoT, fer Chrissakes. This behavior is expected.

    This connector has to be a bone of contention with them. They’ve wanted this (in various forms) for the better part of 50 years. Webster, Shrewsbury, Brentwood, Maplewood, all have stood up at one point in time and stopped it. A bully doesn’t like being told “NO”.

    • Alex Ihnen

      Sentiment is true, though technically this is the St. Louis County Department of Highways and Traffic.

      • Marielle

        It’s more than just technically. The St. Louis County Department of Highways and Traffic is driving the project. I called MoDOT, who is a co-sponsor on the DEIS, with a question about the project and the person who answered the phone told me MoDOT had nothing to do with it.

        Clearly, MoDOT vetted and signed the DEIS, but it’s the County who is planning the project and drafting the DEIS.

        • John R

          Right. And although it still has work to do, MODOT has made some good progress on bike/ped issues in recent years. But it took a lot of advocacy to achieve that. I have a feeling the County will be hearing more from bike/ped folks as well!

          • dempster holland

            bike folks would receive more sympathy if they did not
            ride side by side or down the middle of the lane, thereby slowing the vast majority who drive cars

          • John R

            Riding in the middle of a lane is legal and often the safest (e.g. when there are parked cars). Of course, as riders are people, some are bound to be jerks just as some motorists are, but what is unacceptable — especially from govt. officials — is the mentality that drivers own the road.

          • Alex Ihnen

            I’m guessing it’s not immediately apparent to some just how asymmetrical this statement is. The vast majority of people are also pedestrians – should there not be better accommodation for them, say on Big Bend? Why are we required to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to primarily serve people who choose to drive their cars from 8-9am and 5-6pm?

          • guest

            Again, Alex nails it. Hundreds of millions of dollars and untold disruption to some of the best places to live in our region to accommodate a one-hour rush hour and subsidize a sprawl lifestyle. This is truly insane.

            St. Louis already is one of the most sprawling, per capita highway subsidized regions in the country, and we’re getting ready to do $110,000,000 more.

            And do so amidst the protests of those directly impacted by the plan. Incredible.

          • dempster holland

            people use streets mostly in rush hours because we
            are in a 9 to 5 economy, because that is somewhat
            related to when the sun rises and sets. As to pedes=
            trians, they cross at corners, and do not walk down the
            middle of the street

          • guest

            And that explains why MODOT says there will always be rush hour backups on the $500 million dollar rebuild of Highway 40. Highway departments really aren’t accountable to relieve congestion. In fact, they are the first to say we will always have more of it.

          • samizdat

            Cyclists have every right to ‘own’ the lane. It’s encouraged, in fact, for their own safety. Frankly, I’m rather tired of this delusional and outdated notion that only cars can occupy roadways. As for rude and stupid behavior, as I drive around this town, I’ve encountered more such behavior from fellow motorists. And that’s just the cops. Take in civilians, and that number increases ten-fold. And a typical car weighs in at 3000#, whereas a typical modern bike (not one of those clunky Scandinavian throwbacks), comes in at about 25#.

            Somehow, the automakers early in the 20th century convinced the various levels of government to build roads for them, and them only, not taking into account the other forms of transportation at that time. Even streetcars were pushed aside. Bikes? Pffft. It’s time that other forms of transportation are favored (yes, favored) over the auto. What with the dwindling supplies of easily-attained oil running out (and the toxic nightmares of the Alberta tar sands and the BP Gulf spill crime against nature and humanity fresh in mind), it’s long past time that the bicycle be given more room on the roadways, in separate and safely navigable lanes.

            This project is nothing more than a boondoggle, and a worthless busy-work project. If the county wants to make a bigger impact on traffic, perhaps if they attempted to design a roadway which took cars OFF the road, and put people on bikes on it, maybe we might have a plan. This turkey should have been aborted thirty years ago. It’s like a zombie roadway, except you can’t just shoot it in the head to kill it.

  • Rhonda

    It would be great to coordinate this effort and direct people to Trailnet’s sign on letter. We are arranging further advocacy efforts around SCC – much easier to do if we can track signatures. http://trailnet.org/advocacy/south-county-connector

  • Deborah Wolfe

    I have not yet read the document, but I do know that Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), who approves EISs, considers all modes of transportation. “Highway” is an antiquated name for a department such as this. Even MoDOT changed their name years back to exclude the word. FHWA should not approve a document that disregards other modes, especially bicycle and pedestrian. MoDOT should know this and have advised the County. Mayor White I look forward to reviewing the document! Thank you nextSTL for publishing this well-written and well-researched article.

    • John R

      While you raise good points, I wouldn’t put too much hope in Federal Highway to not approve the EIS. I do hope it looks closely at this, though, especially as much of the planning $$ came from a fed DOT/HUD grant designed to foster community livability

  • samizdat

    Wow, these guys are even bigger a**h**** than I thought. What a jerk.

  • guest

    “The New I-64”: 10.5 miles, $535 million, $51 million per miles

    “The South County Connector”: 1.5 miles, $110 million-plus, $73.3 million per mile.

    For this kind of money, there could be a boulevard in place of the I-70 elevated lanes downtown between the new bridge and Washington Avenue.

  • Scott Ogilvie

    Alex nails it in this article. What does the future of our neighborhoods and communities look like? Is there really nothing more than maximizing traffic capacity that local government should pursue? Our own local history perfectly writes the story of what happens when thru-put is the only metric that counts. Its no coincidence that the areas that have avoided highway construction (Lindenwood Park, St. Louis Hills, Shrewsbury, Webster Groves, etc) are the most intact, original neighborhoods in the region. They’ve held up while others have suffered. Put your foot down. Live in the County? Let Charlie Dooley know. Live in the City? Let Francis Slay know. The message is the same, our communities, our region, are already over-served by highways. We’re better without this project. It only takes one of them to say no – projects aren’t built under their own force, people in office choose them. Let your representatives know what the right choice is.

    • wump

      Right on. Can we get a good project too? Got anything good in the works in the City? Maybe a north-south metrolink, or street car, or bike share, or anything?

    • 24thWardArchitect-to-be

      I’d like to see you work with the department than try to fight against them. I am certain that you could add that new connector and meet the needs of citizens / pedestrians. I’m sure we can add trails to connect the river des peres to the deer creek trail, make pedestrian friendly streets and rebuild an urban fabric where none exists.

      I find there are a lot of egos in the political scene and instead listening to each other we fight hard to be heard.

      Certainly there is common ground. I am letting my representative know right now.

      Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.
      Henry Ford

      • guest

        Basic question of 24thWardArchitect-to-be:

        Highway planners say the cost of the South County Connector will be $110,000,000. Maplewood thinks it will be even more.

        In these days of scarce public dollars and cutbacks to essential services, is this investment of public spending the best choice to improve the quality of life within the study area? Shouldn’t every public dollar spent be expected to meet that test?

        Put another way, if Maplewood, Shrewsbury, Webster Groves, St. Louis City and St. Louis County had an extra $110,000,000 to spend on public improvements, would building a highway project through established communities be the first choice?

      • samizdat

        Why should Mr. Ogilvie work with the STL County Highway Dept? His constituents, actual human beings, don’t want the connector. Their needs have been clearly stated through Mr. Ogilvie: WE DON’T WANT IT.

        And why should I listen to anything Henry Ford said. He was a fascist (kinda liked Hitler), and a known anti-Semite. The only good he did was when he tweeked Walter P. Chrysler’s nose and gave his workers a pay increase in spite of common practice at the time.

    • samizdat

      Truly with this kind of money, the County could install separated bike lanes on a significant number of arterials in the county.

    • dempster holland

      Interstate 44 goes right through the middle of Shrewsbury and
      Webster Groves It makes downtown about 18 minutes away–so
      the highway did some bad, some good. Such is life

      • guest

        How does that information relate to the proposed South County Connector? What point are you trying to make?

        • dempster holland

          This is in response to a prior statement that Webster
          Groves and Shrewsbury had avoided highway con-
          structuin and thus retained cohesive communities

          • guest

            So then it doesn’t make the point that because of this, more highway construction is a good thing. Just wanting to be clear.

          • dempster holland

            A good point about a highway as opposed to local streets is that you can get somewhere faster and thus
            spend less time commuting and more time on the job
            or family. Another good benefit of highways is that
            it takes through traffic off local streets. A bad part is
            that it tears up some neighborhoods. So some good
            and some bad. such is life.

          • Alex Ihnen

            But this isn’t true. The latest study about traffic in St. Louis showed that congestion is down, but average time spent driving is up. Why? Because more and bigger highways allow people to liver farther and farther from work, school, etc. This is a highly subsidized lifestyle choice. Highways also do not take traffic off local streets per se, but concentrate traffic on certain local streets as many are severed by the highway itself. Those local streets then become inhospitable for any use other than cars, further dividing communities.

            https://nextstl.com/transportation/less-congestion-more-sprawl-a-lot-more-time-in-the-car-in-st-louis

          • And a counterpoint is that an ever-expanding regional highway network only encourages residents to move away from job centers or, alternatively, job centers to move away from residents. And everyone ends up the worse for it.

            The billion dollar highways you advocate save you a little commuting time and let you spend more time with family, you say? I can get to my office in pretty much the same amount of time on surface streets/sidewalks (by bike, bus or – gasp! – foot) because I’ve elected to live near where I work.

            You’ll say that we don’t all have the luxury of living where we work, and you’re right. But I’d posit that the biggest culprit for that truth is the regional highway system and the stretching and spreading of population/job centers that resulted.

            This is a bit of hyperbole, sure, but maybe those who claim to value family time shouldn’t be condoning a lifestyle where they strap themselves into a two-ton vehicle twice a day and wing it down a highway at 75 miles an hour with thousands of other two-ton vehicles. Vehicular accidents, after all, consistently rank high as Avoidable Causes of Death.

          • dempster holland

            The biggest culprit of sprawl is that the working class of
            sixty years ago became the middle class and wanted to
            move out of their small city apartment and house to lar-
            ger quarters with a back yard. Combine this with popu-
            lation increase in the metro area and you have sprawl
            With that, more people have to travel further to work. Perhaps you don’t remember the traffic jams of the 1950s, but they were real. Without the interstates of today, imagine the traffic on Lindbergh, Kingshighway.
            Manchester, Gravois, Lindell, etc/

          • guest

            Maplewood has back yards. Shrewsbury has back yards. Webster Groves has back yards. The neighborhoods of SW City have back yards.

            These are some of the most desirable communities in the entire region. So how is it this project serves them if it is intended to make it easier and faster to drive through them? It makes no sense. No sense at all.

            The fact is, these are historic areas (averaging about 100 years old), and they have thrived without more highways and limited access roadways going through them.

            So why would we want to damage the environment by building a $110 million dollar road right through the heart of the area?

          • dempster holland

            As I have previously pointed out, these areas have
            interstates going through them: hw 44. Yes, they have back yardds and represented the start of our
            suburban development starting as far back as 1870.
            As time went on, more people could afford houses
            houses and so suburbia expanded further out–to
            South webster and crestwood and west kirkwood
            in the 1930s and 1940s; then even further out as
            people could afford it, to Ballwin, Ellisville . Similar
            develments occured in all parts of st Louis county.
            By the 1950s, the home to work traffic became so
            that only highways could alleviate it. It is true that many of the results have been unfortunate=the old
            city neighborhoods had much more cohesion than the new suburbs. And it was a planning mistake to
            seperate residential totally from retail, which demanded the use of a car. But overall, if you ask
            someone who grew up in a city apartment without
            a yard, he would probably tell you he prefers the
            suburbs
            I do not mean to imply that the redvelopment and
            reuse of the old city neighborhoods should not be
            encouraged. Diversity of life styles and optional way
            of living are one of the benefits of a thriving city. But
            I do say that central city residents should not unduly
            criticize suburbanites, just as suburbanites should
            not unduly criticize city residents And each should
            take pains to understand the needs and goals of the
            other.

          • Alex Ihnen

            What’s odd is the if you ask a young person who grew up in the suburbs with a yard where they want to live, they’ll say “the city”. Times changes. But more to this issue, your reading of the history of suburbanization is deeply flawed. A lot of good books and studies have been published recently. If you read only one make it “Mapping Decline” by Colin Gordon. nextSTL should probably put together a suggested reading list on various topics for reference.

          • dempster holland

            my reading of the history of suburbanization is to
            large degree based on the analysis of cenus tract
            household and population changes over time. It is
            not based on the conventional wisdom of highwats,
            FHA, rascism, etc/ It is also based on the common
            sense fact that as people incomes allow them to
            move from apartments to single family houses, the
            need for more land space requires development of l
            land outside generally constrained city boundaries.
            Take two families livingon a 30 x 150 lot, in a traditional two-family city fltat and the have each of
            them buy a single family house on a 30 x 150 lot–
            and you have doubled the amount of land needed to accomodate them. Multiply that by hundreds of
            thousands of families in a metropolitan area and you
            have urban sprawl.-Now get them all to work on sur-
            face streets with eight intersections per mile and you
            have traffic gridlock. Hence highways.
            Perhaps in no aspect of American life does the
            intellectual elite differ from average Americans more
            than the issue of central city vs suburbs. The thought that young people are moving from the
            suburbs to the cities is refuted by simply comparing
            growing suburban school populations with deeclining
            urban school populations., not to mention comparing
            census fugure growth which show suburban ane ex-
            urban growth far exceeding central city growth
            I too miss the old city/. But for many people it
            was raising three kids in a four room walk up apart-
            ment. It was not renovating an old house with
            spacious rooms and great woodwork, and spending
            idle hours at a trendy restaurant.

          • Alex Ihnen

            In this case you would be better served by sticking with your noted “conventional wisdom”.

          • guest

            Homes in Webster and Kirkwood are way more valuable than those in Ballwin and Ellisville, and Maplewood is one of the fastest appreciating communities in the entire region.

            I guess that connector is all about making it easier to get drivers from South County and JeffCo to Webster, Kirkwood and Maplewood? Ya think?

            Ya think the people in Webster, Maplewood and Kirkwood are really thinking about the South County Connector as a marketing strategy? Ya think they are counting on the County Highway Department as being their salvation?

            Hmmm. Why do ya think Webster an Kirkwood wanted no part of the SCC going through their ares?

            Ya think at all???

          • samizdat

            So, if it’s bad for someone else, that’s good for you.

            Got it.

  • marigolds6

    “Can anyone name a community that has failed, deteriorated, or become unpopular because there’s too much local traffic?”

    Branson. But that is a very extreme case that shows just how the traffic situation has to deteriorate to cause problems. There are also a few inland empire cities in California you could make that case for as well. Their case is different from Branson, since their traffic is directly discouraging residents whereas in Branson’s situation the traffic is discouraging economic activity (i.e. tourism).

    • dempster holland

      As in “there is so much traffic no one goes there anymore”?

      • marigolds6

        More like “traffic is so bad that people are stuck in traffic for hours at a time instead of visiting tourist attractions”. Their traffic situation has paradoxically become worse as their tourism has declined, though I am not sure how.