Opinion: Road widening is never the answer (QC Nerve)

Mecklenburg County’s population is growing rapidly, and the transportation system isn’t keeping pace with the needs of the people who live and work here.

With the city pursuing a $13.5-billion transportation plan, there’s been much discussion locally around how that money could be best spent to make the most impact, including through road-widening projects.

However, numerous examples from metropolitan areas across the country tell us that simply widening roads is not a long-term mobility solution. Although traffic congestion may decrease for a few years after a road-widening project, experience both here and in other cities shows that within a few years of widening a road, vehicle traffic volumes increase and soon the road is congested again.

The current pace of incremental investment in the transportation network coupled with rapid population growth puts us on an unsustainable trajectory of high traffic congestion, poor air quality, unattractive economic conditions for attracting and retaining talented workers, and unsafe streets for our most vulnerable residents.

Read the full opinion piece.