Thursday, June 1, 2017

Minnesota Traffic (again)

"It was bad when I was working, but this is insane. Our motto to St. Paul needs to continue with ever louder voices, 'Lanes, not trains!'" 

Today we took our grandson to Como Park. We are in the middle of a short work week, so we thought this might be a good adventure for the boy. We took him last year, but for a two year old, a year ago is half his life. Time for a renewal with the Como Park experience! 

We took a different route over, as we wanted to avoid some traffic (not that at 10 in the morning we expected that much). I was floored with the stop and go traffic we found ourselves in. Plus, there was also a butt load of road construction - all over the place.

Once we got to Como Park, we found a place to park in the overflow. Why the overflow? We forget this is the last day of school. For many districts, last day field trips are common. There must have been a hundred buses and eight zillion kids at the park. Ahhh!

When we left in early afternoon, I told my wife I had it with traffic. We were going to take different way home - the way I would use when I worked in Bloomington. Much to my surprise and disappointment, the traffic going home (I-94 through the tunnel) was worse mid-day than it was during rush hour in the 1980's! And (to put salt on the wound), on the way to getting on I-94, we had to wait at an intersection for a LRT to pass. I watched the LRT cars as it went by. They were way less than half full. Meanwhile, traffic on the roads was going nowhere fast.

I need someone a whole lot smarter than I to explain something to me. I think we are rapidly becoming another Chicago or Atlanta with our traffic issues. Rush hour is no longer an event - it is a continuum. And please - don't tell me traffic would be better if more folks rode the choo-choo train.

How do I know? I was observing many of the vehicles on the road today. Many, many common carrier trucks. Plus, there were buses, pick-up trucks, vans, motor homes, and on and on and on. There is a whole lot of traffic out there which is not suitable for trains. Sorry - that is just the way it is.

Here is the bottom line. The average Joe and Josephine don't want nor care about Southwest Light Rail (or any other rail centered boondoggle). Not a bit. What we do care about is more lanes - lots and lots of additional lanes. And where it makes sense, additional and new highways and bi-ways. That is what America wants. That is what Minnesotans want. We are not Europe, damn it! And we don't care to be!. 

When we finally drove into our driveway after a very long and tiring (due to traffic) ride home, I told my wife a simple fact. If I was still working, I could not handle driving in this crap every day. It was bad when I was working, but this is insane.

Our motto to St. Paul needs to continue with ever louder voices, "Lanes, not trains!" Yes, it really is as simple as that.

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