Homeowners Rail Against 405 Expansion

3_5_09_schwarzenegger.jpgA bi-partisan collection of officials celebrate the destruction of air quality around Encino

The Daily News printed a rare opinion piece yesterday that dared challenge the orthodoxy that adding lane capacity to the 405 is somehow going to improve quality of life for the people living near the widening area in Encino.  The I-405 widening project is one that the city hopes will receive stimulus funds and they have long argued that by encouraging carpooling you can better manage car growth because more people per car will lead to less cars.  Thus far, there has never been a study that has shown this to happen, but there is plenty of evidence that wider highways lead to more cars.

In the Daily News, Gerald A. Silver, president of Homeowners of Encino, argues that the city and state are dead wrong.  Instead of improving the environment, a wider 405 will lead to worse air quality and poor health for those living near it.

It is not reasonable to expect that residents
living near the freeways should now be subjected to freeway expansion
causing more noise, congestion, glare and air pollution for the
convenience of commuters. At what point is enough is enough? After the
405 Freeway is widened, and later winds up with the same congested
lanes, will people still say want to keep expanding and add even more
car-pool lanes?

People who live near the 405 Freeway are affected
by increased lung cancer rates due to automobile exhaust. Do drivers
think it is OK to subject people to increased cancer rates for their
commuting convenience? 

Oh, lung cancer, shmung cancer.  People need to get home and they deserve a wide freeway!

All sarcasm aside, the problem with Silver’s argument, is that California transportation officials still argue that increasing highway capacity is actually good for the environment.  The argument goes that more pollution is caused by cars sitting in congestion than cars moving quickly through less congested highways.  The idea that there is a latent demand to drive and that the wider highway will bring out more cars isn’t something that California Highway officials recognize.

In other words, while Silver lives in reality and is going to have to live with the increased pollution a wider 405 will bring to Encino; highway officials and politicians can dismiss that argument because they still believe that wider highways are the environmentally sound way to build a transportation network.

Photo: Congressman Brad Sherman

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Schwarzenegger Proposes Making the 405 a Double Decker Freeway

|
To the casual observer, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger seems like an environmental crusader.  He signs anti-sprawl legislation, he sues the federal government over emission standards for automobiles, he flies around the world to attend greenhouse gas conferences. But to those of us that live here and have been working to clean and green our transportation system; […]

Damn the Gas Prices, Full Road Widenings Ahead

|
Despite concerns from residents living adjacent to the highway that a highway widening of Route 57 would ruin their quality of life, officials from the Orange County Transportation Authority and Caltrans will not change their plan to widen five miles of highway in Orange County.  The transportation officials pushing the project argue that reducing congestion […]

Ten Reasons L.A.’s Mobility Plan Needs to End Road Widening

|
The City of Los Angeles is updating its primary transportation plan, something it hasn’t done since 1999. The new Mobility Plan 2035, authored by the City Planning Department (DCP), will be before the city’s Planning Commission tomorrow. There is some welcome stuff — especially in the vision statements — in the latest draft Mobility Plan. It […]

Today’s Headlines

|
CICLAVIA! (HuffPo, Curbed, LA Weekly, Intersections, LAist, NBC4) Feds Give Thumbs Up to Regional Connector (Downtown News) Of Course Californians Will Ride High Speed Rail… (Atlantic Cities) …If They Ever Get the Chance (Daily News) I-405 Widening Project Wins Award for Being Ahead of Schedule (Press Release) Expo Updates: Motor Ave. Bridge Comes Down, Construction […]

For Goodness’ Sake, Stop Widening the 405

|
Albert Einstein says that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I have bad news for transportation planners at OCTA and Caltrans. You’ve gone insane. And the disease is spreading. The Orange County Transportation Authority and Caltrans are banding together for another 1950’s style environmental disaster, […]