Better World Club

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Once Again, AAA Doesn't Get That More Cars = More Congestion

AAA Blasted Security Plans for Obama Inauguration

Last month, AAA roundly criticized plans for President Obama's inauguration ceremony, specifically the closing of several Potomac bridges to individual auto traffic (but keeping them open for mass transit and pedestrians). Predictably, an AAA spokesperson was trotted out to rail against "security impinging on mobility". Apparently, they think mobility would have been improved if millions of people were all allowed to drive their individual cars into the city on inauguration day.

Remember all the post-event news articles about how event planners dropped the ball, and how traffic procedures were horribly mishandled? No? That's because it all went relatively smoothly. Sure, there were traffic snafus, and getting to the event was a pain. How could it not be, with over two million people attending, plus all of DC's regular commuters coming into the city to work?

How much worse would this have been if all of these people had been allowed to drive into the city? This comment (which is posted on greatergreaterwashington.org) sums it up nicely:

"Think of it this way: 1.3 million people commute to Manhattan daily, and most of them don't drive because, if they did, the traffic and parking would be insane. Now imagine almost twice that many people cramming into a space the size of Central Park. Still, AAA thinks that everyone should be able to drive their own car to downtown DC, if they wanted to."

Automobiles are an important part of our nation's transportation system, but they're not the only part. Blindly "advocating on behalf of the motorist" as AAA continues to do is not helping anyone (except AAA, the highway lobby, and the automobile industry). Complex transportation problems need complex solutions, which include a combined use automobiles, mass transit, and (gasp!) cycling and walking.

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