Building Roads to Improve Air Quality

By Jason Leach
Published April 08, 2006

This may be the first time I've ever read a report studying pollution that actually encourages more road construction and lane widening.

Perhaps idling cars pollute more than free-moving cars, but the solution is not to build new roads and highways while timing stoplights to create streets like Main and Cannon in Hamilton.

The solution is to drive less and have fewer cars on the road. Hamilton's urban neighbourhoods and commercial districts have already been sacrificed at the altar of speed, speed and more speed.

People walk in downtown Toronto and most other urban cities because it is more convenient and cheaper than driving. Transit and bicycles are well used in properly built cities.

But not in Hamilton. We've allowed cars to speed along and ruin the livability of neighbourhood streets in our city for too long, driving people out to suburs where they have no choice but to drive. The answer is fewer lanes, slower traffic, wider sidewalks, bike lanes, bus lanes and fewer cars - not more.

If adding traffic lanes and new roads was the answer to solving traffic congestion and pollution then Los Angeles would have the least traffic jams and most pristine air of any city in North America.

The science behind this article may be technically accurate in a narrow sense, but is applied incorrectly to real life.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

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By Krem (anonymous) | Posted April 11, 2006 at 12:00:23

Well, you should know - being a youth pastor and all.

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