Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tolls and HOT Lanes and real usage

We went up to Philadelphia to do something (more about that later) and on the way back yesterday, we commented about all the freeway construction north of Baltimore, where HOT--high occupancy toll--lanes are being constructed up to about White Marsh.
The I-95 Express Toll Lanes project
Flickr photo by Gary Hymes.

I said something about Republican ideology, Bob Ehrlich (the former governor of Maryland, who approved the project), and lack of real demand (see this 2003 article from the Baltimore Sun, "Highway planners revisiting HOT lanes: Solo drivers could pay to avoid congestion"). Suzanne opined what will happen when the lanes are constructed and enough revenue isn't generated and the bills for construction have to be paid?"

The Takoma Park Patch (an AOL e-publication), reports in "Commuters Flee Intercounty Connector After Toll Charges Begin," that as the tolls have kicked in for the Inter County Connector in Upper Montgomery County, usage of the road has dropped as much as 62% during peak hours.

Granted usage will rise over time, and as the project is completed. But toll roads are a tough sell when most roads don't have tolls.

Ideology doesn't always pay the bills.

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