Relieving, or Inflaming, Traffic

"I don't know if it's going to be better," Clinton Township resident Carol Jaeblon told the Detriot News about the move to build her street out from 2 to 5 lanes. "I think it will just bring more congestion."

That might seem like an uneducated prediction from a nagging 62-year-old woman who likely knows boo about traffic management. Even the newspaper headline claims 'Cass [Avenue] work to relieve congestion.'

But it's getting so that you don't need an engineering degree to understand that it's impossible to build your way out of traffic jams if all you build is bigger and wider roads. The expert projection is Cass Avenue will carry 40,000 cars in 20 years, up from the current 27,000.

That's what happens when there's only way to get around. People in Michigan and much of the Midwest have incredibly limited and unrealistic transportation choices beyond the automobile. So the roadways fill up, and making them wider is an expensive, artificial, and temporary solution to the problem. Even grandmas get it.