It is safe to say that with the booming economy, the Bay Area is seeing some of the worst traffic congestion in its history. I-80 is regularly voted the the region’s worst commute and carries 270,000 cars each day.
Caltrans is doing its best to improve the commute by activating the I-80 Smart Corridor project which will make use of the electronic signs that were installed on the freeway two years ago. They will display traffic conditions, accident alerts, and even suggest alternative routes. This system will begin operation next week and will slowly get more and more advanced as drivers get used to the change. It is recognized that this is not going to solve the traffic issues, but it is the most sophisticated system of its kind in the United States and is intended to stop secondary accidents from sudden traffic slow-downs and increase traffic flow overall.
The traffic congestion doesn’t just affect everyday drivers, but also the commercial movement of goods. The Governor gave an executive order to put together the Sustainable Freight Action Plan which is meant to improve the movement of goods, reduce emissions, increase inefficiency, and maintain competitiveness with the rest of the world. However, this was being created with only the issues on land in mind.
Container ships are facing similar issues as daily drivers in the Bay Area. Since the channels are not dredged to the necessary depths, ships have to be light-loaded with goods so that they can enter the Bay and make it to the ports. This means more ships are necessary to get us the goods we need, which leads to congestion in the waterways. The Bay Planning Coalition believes that improvements on the the water are critical to the Governor’s plan and can be done with relatively little money. See last week’s blog for more information.
The good thing to take away from all of this is that it is a result of the booming economy. Better to have traffic and jobs than clear roads and unemployment. All we can do now is work together to solve the problem.
— “The Bay Planning Coalition is a non-profit organization well known for its advocacy and credibility in the San Francisco Bay Area corporate and environmental community. When we speak about an issue, legislators and regulators listen.”