Thursday, June 22, 2006

NJ Highways Encourage Sprawl

From the Courier Post:

Highways said to speed travel, contribute to sprawl

Traveling across New Jersey would be more difficult, the state would be poorer and cities would be a lot more crowded if not for the interstate highways crisscrossing the Garden State.

The drawback, transportation experts say, is the U.S. interstate system -- which is 50 years old this month -- encourages people to live far from work and school and leads to suburban sprawl.
In New Jersey, interstates 80, 78 and 287, combined with the New Jersey Turnpike and other major roads like the Garden State Parkway, give people the freedom to engage in that most American of activities -- driving on the open road, experts say. The turnpike precedes the interstates; construction began in 1949, seven years before President Eisenhower authorized the interstate system to be built.

Rutgers University transportation expert Martin Robins said the interstates and connecting state and local roads have opened up rural western New Jersey to economic development. But more and more people are fleeing larger cities to buy bigger homes in suburbia or farther out in "exurbia," where home prices and property taxes are lower.

As commuting times increase and traffic jams grow bigger, people have less time to spend with their families, said Jim Coyle, who heads the Gateway Regional Chamber of Commerce in Elizabeth. People have the option of deciding whether to live close to work or far from it.

"Downtowns are no longer the focus of economic activity. As people have moved, jobs have moved as well. I do know people who spend hours commuting each day," he said. "I put it down to personal choice. Everybody knows what the tradeoff is."


Blogger minutesfromNYC said...

We need more townhouses!

6/22/2006 07:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how bout lower taxes.

6/22/2006 07:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how bout lower taxes.

No, I think NJ would benefit with more development, more strip malls, higher property taxes, and more houses being taken under eminient domain...oh wait...we already are! :)

6/22/2006 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger X-Underwriter said...

minutesfromNYC said...
We need more townhouses!

townhouses = white collar slums

6/22/2006 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger Metroplexual said...

IMO, it is also euclidian zoning and large lot zoning, which eats up land, and not just the highways. To just attribute it to the highways is too reductionist.

6/22/2006 07:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was reading an article from Brookings Institute that claims the system has encouraged more discrimination in suburban place for the middle class. Flight from the urban areas has left the poor there, and raised prices in the suburbs above what the middle class can afford.

Where is the middle class in New Jersey, primarily?

I think New Jersey's middle class now buys in Pennsylvania.


6/22/2006 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger Shailesh Gala said...

The sprawl not due to Highways, it is due to Town's restrictive policies. In 90's the number of suburban houses built is 40% less then in 60's. As metro mentioned, towns are approving only McMansions with very large lots. Average middle class in NJ earning $100K can not afford to live in NJ today.

6/22/2006 08:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anybody who has been watching rural NJ become suburban/urban NJ has known for years that highways are the catalyst.

When I was a kid politicians in Howell began to make all kinds of noise about how bad Route 9 was. Back then it was dual lanes into Freehold Twp and then went down to single lanes in Howell.

They even put up a billboard calling it the killer highway because they said it was so dangerous. That was, of course, a load of crap.

Traffic made it impossible to add housing inventory south of the double lanes. When the state dualized the highway all the way to Lakewood (at the same time they were opening 195) the developers flooded in and the farmland/woodlands got washed out.

Traffic on Rte 9 is now far worse then it was 20 years ago because there are thousands more people on the road everyday. I think it took about 8 years to get as bad as it was when they opened up the double lanes, now, it only gets worse.


6/22/2006 08:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It takes me an hour each morning to drive 23 miles to work. So I'm averaging 23 mph and half of my drive is on the parkway. What are your commutes like?

6/22/2006 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger chicagofinance said...

I drive from the north end of Hoboken to Red Bank - 47 miles, a solid hour, but rarely much more as it is all reverse commute except PM approach to Hudson County - but I have all the tricks :)

6/22/2006 10:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Takes me 45 minutes to an hour daily, Route 1 N. 20 miles in Middlesex County.


6/22/2006 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger njAndrew said...

I was on 206 this weekend (Sat ~noon) heading from 22 towards princeton area, I couldn't belive the sprawl and traffic in the hillsburogh area. I would hate to have to drive that during AM rush. The sprawl in what was once the farm area of NJ is horrible.

My commute takes ~35 min/25 miles bur I am going South on the Parkway from 78 to Rt 1.


6/22/2006 12:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NJAndrew, you're right about 206 - I used to have to run up to an office in Hillsb. from Rt. 1 in the morning..really not the best way to spend a morning.


6/22/2006 01:10:00 PM  
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