Caltrans Still Claims 5 Freeway Widening Reduces Congestion, Improves Air

How road widening works. Cartoon via @BrentToderian Twitter
How road widening works. Cartoon via @BrentToderian Twitter

Caltrans District 7 is at it again. Similar to a misleading 2016 video, in this new promotional video Caltrans District 7 inexplicably proclaims that widening the 5 Freeway will (starting minute 3:30) “reduce congestion and improve air quality.” The $1.9-billion widening is funded by Metro’s Measure R.

It appears that Caltrans actually believes the results of studies based on the discredited Level of Service metrics. Freeway construction and expansion projects keep promising to take congestion off of L.A. County roads. After spending hundreds of billions of dollars, those roads remain congested, the air is foul, kids get asthma, and there is plenty of noise, disconnected neighborhoods, obesity, and other problems – all accompanied by budget-breaking infrastructure maintenance costs passed along to California’s children.

See this earlier SBLA article outlining the well-known flaws inherent in Caltrans’ outdated self-defeating thinking. Since the 1960s it has been clear that adding capacity to roads does not reduce congestion. Some day Caltrans might get the memo.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

New Caltrans Video Claims Widening 5 Freeway Is Good for Air, Congestion

|
In this new promotional video, Caltrans District 7 inexplicably proclaims that widening a stretch of the 5 freeway in southeast L.A. County will “reduce congestion” and “improve air quality.” The video, shown at Metro’s board and committee meetings recently, further boasts about “better safety” and how outsized new bridges over the freeway will each “dwarf the […]
Does anyone outside of Caltrans still think that widening freeways will reduce pollution and minimize congestion? Image: screen capture from Caltrans video

Another Caltrans Lie: Video Claims Widening 5 Freeway Reduces Pollution, Congestion

|
It is jarring that nearly two decades into the twenty-first century, California’s transportation department is still making claims that freeway widening will somehow curb pollution and reduce congestion. These are false claims–lies. Past experience and research show that widening freeways worsens congestion and air quality, yet Caltrans repeatedly claims the contrary. In a new video […]
Still from Caltrans April 2019 video showing the $1.3B cost of cost of 5-Freeway North

Caltrans Lies Again: Widening 5 Freeway Will “Minimize Congestion… Reduce Pollution”

|
At this week’s Metro Roads Committee, Caltrans presented another misleading video claiming that their 5 Freeway widening projects will “reduce pollution” and “minimize congestion.” Given the past 80 years of highway building have resulted in massive congestion increases and climate-threatening pollution increases, it is clear that Caltrans is lying. The false claims appear at minute […]
Metro lukewarmly approved the $6B 710 Freeway widening, though expediting only early action projects for now. The top image is the existing ("no-build") configuration. "Preferred alternative" 5C would add two new general purpose lanes to most of the 710 Freeway between Long Beach and the City of Commerce. Image via Metro staff report

Metro Board to Vote on $6 Billion Lower 710 Freeway Widening

|
This week Metro board committees are considering approving a distinctly backward-looking $6 billion project to widen the 710 Freeway through southeast L.A. County. It is difficult to believe that, in the 21st Century, Caltrans and Metro are still seeking to spend billions widening a highway in order “to improve air quality, mobility, and quality of […]
STREETSBLOG CALIFORNIA

PIRG: Proposed 710 Freight Highway Tunnel Among Country’s Worst Projects

|
Yesterday, the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), a national non-profit with state chapters throughout the country, released a report detailing the “12 biggest highway boondoggles” under study in the country. Not surprisingly, a California highway project made the list, the I-710 Tunnel Project in Los Angeles County. PIRG explains the project. San Gabriel Valley Route […]