Boston traffic, 9:26 on a typical weekday morning, going into the Central Artery, the result of the $15 billion Big Dig:
Bostonians generally say, of the project, “It was expensive, but worth it.” They cite the improved aesthetics of downtown, even if travel times are now actually worse (see “The worst gridlock in the US is right here in Boston,” Boston Globe 2019, for example). I’ve never heard anyone note that we didn’t pay for the project and therefore it is no surprise that we are happy with the result. If the Feds taxed citizens of Indiana and used the money to buy us all Teslas we would certainly say “Even at $120,000 per Tesla X, that was a great value.”
I entered the above traffic jam just as I was coming from a meeting at a charter (public) school. They’re trying to construct a building for about 500 learners. Most of their students are from families on welfare and therefore the proposed location is in one of Boston’s lowest income neighborhoods. Nonetheless, neighborhood groups are opposed to the school, citing concerns over traffic congestion. (Any seed of local opposition gets enormous financial support from the Boston Teacher’s Union, the charter school folks said.)
Separately, here’s the traffic picture from a recent Easter Sunday at lunchtime. I had expected traffic to be lighter than usual, since folks would be settled in with family and carving the ham, but the highways were jammed.
San Francisco edition, from a Facebook friend who works early morning nursing shifts:
- https://philip.greenspun.com/blog/2006/04/02/personal-solution-to-traffic-jams-motorhome-and-driver/ : “Plenty of rich folks in California, however, do spend more than $100,000 on a car. And during this past week they get onto the highways blocked off by civil unrest and demonstrations against restrictions on illegal immigration. What would be an intelligent way to spend serious $$ on ground transportation? How about a $120,000 diesel-powered 40′ motorhome? It wouldn’t be as much fun to drive as a BMW M5 and it would certainly be difficult to park in the city. You solve both problems by hiring an illegal immigrant to act as your driver. You send him to schoolbus driver school for a few days and let him sleep on the fold-out dinette in the RV at night. Now when you go to the beach, it will still take the same two hours at 5 mph on the clogged freeways that it always took, but you won’t care because you’ll be at home. You can read in an easy chair. You can do some writing at the dinette table or refer to your files. You can make phone calls and take notes. You can watch TV. With a mobile phone data connection, you can use the Internet. You can take a nap in the bedroom in the back. If you get hungry, you can fix yourself a grilled cheese sandwich in the kitchen. You’re at home in your second house, so waiting for friends or traffic jams isn’t anywhere near as annoying as it would be if you were in a car.” (The post from 13 years ago was about Los Angeles, but I think it shows that every social issue that affects California eventually disperses to the rest of the U.S.!)