Iâ€™d like to start this off without some kind of clichÃ©. I grew up in NYC. Specifically Staten Island. Itâ€™s an island. And its attached to NYC by the Verrazano bridge and to NJ by the Goethals, Bayonne and Outer bridge Crossing bridges. But I am getting ahead of myself. I grew up on Staten island on a street called Bascom Place. It was a wonderful street full of plenty of kids my age who liked playing outside and there was no traffic. The street was only half full of cars. This street was located by the Staten Island Expressway. Back then in my early years of life no one worried about cars running you down or the next door neighbor was a pedophile or even a criminal. Life was good. We even had the local storm that shut down the island for a couple of days and kids would play outside in the snow. As I grew up I saw more and more changes. More houses were built. More families moved in. More traffic lights were created and more crowed the island became and hence more traffic. Also to meet this demand more stores were built. It was an obvious problem. No matter what you did traffic increased and the quality of life suffered.
Old timers, 1960â€™s pre-Verrazano Bridge people packed up and moved to NJ or even farther away PA. While the post 1970â€™s Verrazano home owners got used to sitting in long lines of traffic. It got bad. Really bad. Where you just went one block and there was a light or traffic coming from a light. It got worse when the traffic from the highway was diverted because of some kind of accident and tied up all the secondary and third way roads. Once it was so bad that people basically were not going anywhere. Let me give an example. A chemical tanker truck broke in two sending its continents onto the highway. They closed the highway down and everybody who was trying to get to Brooklyn went onto the service road. Now because of the way the highway was built the service roads end at a big hill. and You then have to use third way streets to get to the other side and back on to the service road to the bridge. My dad had been visiting that day way the highway was built the service roads end at a big hill. and You then have to use third way streets to get to the other side and back on to the service road to the bridge. My dad had been visiting that day.
And we had just left the house and saw the situation. Because we were already on the opposite side of the accident we were not delayed by the incident. However half way to our destination I realized I left something at the house, so we turned around and went back. We got stuck in this traffic so long that my dad said. â€œGet out. Walk to the house and get what you need. I am not going to be able to get you there!
It was a horrific situation. That the thing that we hold so dear a car can not get you to your destination because of traffic is crazy. It made me think of â€œWhat if there was an emergency and they had to evacuate the island? Could we get off in time? The answer was no. people would be stranded on Staten Island and even Long Island. Millions of people turning to the roads and going nowhere.
It scared me. We have such a dilapidated system of roads in NYC and nothing is being done about the problem! Everybody says, â€œDonâ€™t build it only adds traffic.â€ Well this is really stupid; my answer is, â€œIf you donâ€™t build your going to end up with traffic anyway!. You night as well build but do it in a constructive way.â€ First build toll roads. You only have traffic when the roads are free! You have heard I am sure of the Sunday driver? The guy comes out every Sunday in his car and drives like a maniac? Well what would always drive me crazy is toll roads. If I have to pay to get somewhere and I am out for a Sunday drive. You wont catch me dead on a toll road. Iâ€™ll take the scenic route! Let the guy who has to get somewhere in a hurry pay. And use the money to build more toll roads. Eventually youâ€™ll get good highways with little traffic. And donâ€™t build these highways to go into cities. Leave that for busses and subways. Obviously going to NYC you just canâ€™t drive their anymore. But you could build highways to huge underground parking lots that link up to a bus or subway connection. Now I know we have no new room for highways. So build them underground or under current highways. There is so much room underground. And there are ways of digging that do not disturb the land above. So basically you get up in the morning you hopp into your car and drive the few miles to the local subway which takes you the rest of the way to work. There is also the possibility of driving underground to work and then parking in a huge underground parking lot. But my point is that the use of underground construction projects is just not used affectively in NYC to alleviate traffic. Look at I-Robot the cars all drove underground. People who grew up under Robert Mosses forget how easy he had it to create highways. He had the power to collect tolls condemn land and build highways./ But what Robert Moses never foresaw was the problem of traffic. Its not that there became a lot of it. We forgot how to build out of it. Sure you say look at California with its massive highways and tons of congestion. I have to ask, â€œHow many of them are toll roads?â€ Any shmuck in a hat can get on and the tax payer pays for it all and any new construction. However if we had massive toll roads where a private authority, interested in making money, would find a way to make traffic manageable. The simple reason is the more cars they can get on the road the more money they make and can invest in new construction to make more cars fit and more money for themselves. I know it sounds horrible putting our roads in the hands of private interests but how do you think the NYC subway was created? It was done by a bunch of private companies interested in moving people and getting paid for it. It wasnâ€™t until years later that the public government took it over and decided to run by a public authority.. I know itâ€™s a horrible thought but I think if you make road/highway construction a business and not a government necessity for the public great things can happen.
We have miles and miles of underground land not being used. What would it take for a private company to issue bonds, etc. Whatever it took maybe even tolls on existing roads and just start construction of the biggest network of under ground roads that would in times of emergency be used for free by the public to escape a catastrophe. I think we can see hints of this starting. Bloomberg wants to charge the public tolls for entering lower Manhattan.. This is great but I think it is going to take large private construction companies banding together and being given the rights to dig underground and develop these massive underground roadways. As for me I gave up on Staten Island and moved out to a place where traffic right now is not a problem and may not be for a long time.