Skip this post if you are not interested in Austin transportation issues

It's pretty frustrating to watch the city try to grapple with traffic issues. On the one hand, the city seems somewhat committed to progressive solutions to the problem. But they turn right around and screw it up so badly that it just discredits the whole enterprise.

The latest example is the new plan for MoPac Expressway. I may not grok the whole thing as of yet, but it seems to include adding a fourth, tolled lane whose price can vary based on congestion.

This is a great idea on paper. I support congestion pricing (just like I support all polices for pricing in negative externalities). But take a look at this map:

The red box shows the location of the fourth toll lane. But southbound congestion isn't caused by the lack of lanes in this area. It's caused by the bottleneck at Ladybird Lake (red arrow), where the vast majority of afternoon southbound commuters are forced from three lanes down to two.

Adding a lane to the bridge (by widening the bridge, preferably) would have a powerfully positive effect on the flow of traffic. Adding a fourth lane to be filtered down to two lanes at the bridge seems like it will just cause more problems.

Finally, a loosely related update to my post about the commuter rail from awhile back. I posited that there would be a lot of demand for the trains to run on the weekend. Cap Metro decided to run the train one weekend, and it was a total disaster... because way more people showed up than the train schedule could support.


  1. Anonymous8/7/10 19:22

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  2. Yeah, but they're going to put up the sound-reduction fencing along the toll lane corridor like they promised a couple of years ago when we voted to create the bonds to pay for them. That should make you happy.


  3. Should it? Do they work?


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