National links: Widening highways doesn’t work, but US transportation leaders keep doing it

Dulles Toll Road express lanes under construction in 2012 by Virginia Department of Transportation licensed under Creative Commons.

Why do transportation leaders keep widening highways if it doesn’t work? Colorado governor to tackle housing affordability by reducing sprawl. Car culture leaves Britons in transport poverty.

Why do transportation leaders keep widening highways if it doesn’t work: After widening the 405 Freeway, Los Angeles transportation leaders learned the hard way that widening highways only leads to more traffic and congestion. Same with the Katy Freeway in Houston. A new 710 expansion in LA would have widened another highway in the region but was canceled in part because the Environmental Protection Agency said it would violate the Clean Air Act.

With so much funding coming to states from the infrastructure bill, it is hoped that these lessons are realized and money is spent not on highway widening, but transportation access. (Eden Weingart | New York Times) Colorado governor to tackle housing affordability by reducing sprawl: Speaking at a legislative policy breakfast, Colorado governor Jared Polis said that he wants to focus on the state’s housing affordability issue by changing the way cities in the state grow. By moving away from sprawling development that creates longer commutes and lowered quality of life, the governor hopes to focus on more compact development and access to transit. (Nathaniel Minor | Colorado Public Radio)

Car culture leaves Britons in transport poverty: An extreme focus on automobility doesn’t just affect people in the United States. In other countries like Great Britain where car infrastructure has been emphasized, many are suffering from transport poverty. Those who own a car spend 13% of their gross income on it.

And because of those car investments, biking is seen as an unsafe alternative. (Peter Walker | The Guardian) Copenhagen’s controversial climate change project: To protect the City of Copenhagen in Denmark from rising seas, officials have started construction on a wide 271-acre artificial island that would absorb waves and storms. Architects hope an adaptive design will be much more resilient than a seawall and will become a natural part of the environment.

However, environmentalists in opposition believe that the project is already messing with wildlife habitat and saline balance in the area. (Leah Dolan | CNN) Quote of the Week “The more I thought about it and looked at the grades going into the structure and going out, and how much land would actually be opened up and the way you could reduce the freeway impacts downtown, it started to seem so obvious that yes, this is the right thing to do.”

Christian Lenhart in Salt Lake Weekly discusses his 60-page proposal for rethinking the Rio Grande district.

This week on the podcast, we’re joined by Sarah Kaufman of the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation.

Jeff Wood is the Principal of The Overhead Wire, a consulting firm focused on sharing information about cities around the world.

He hosts a weekly podcast called Talking Headways at Streetsblog USA and operates the daily news site The Overhead Wire.