Is there value in “buses only” lanes?
I’m a big supporter of my community and saving our environment. I will walk or ride my bike when I can and I also plan my trips so I can avoid wasting fuel, time and money. I look for ways to do that every day. However, when I see a waste that also affects many other people, I have to shake my head.
Recently, my community took one of the lanes of traffic in our busy downtown core and made it a “buses only” lane. There are a number of communities that have restricted lanes that promotes carpooling and public transit, but to only make it a “buses only” lane doesn’t make sense. The road they are trying this project is a very busy road as it leads traffic into the downtown core through a one way street system. They didn’t add a lane and make it “buses only”. They took away a lane from all the other road users and only let buses in it. Why?
Having a three lane road that was already congested throughout the day now becomes more congested now because there are only two lanes. Why make these changes to our driving community before thinking it through? If the downtown core becomes too difficult to drive through, drivers will avoid going through that area and take roads around the area. The store owners and restaurant owners can lose out on possible revenue when people find it difficult to reach their locations. Like it or not, vehicle traffic is part of our society so we need to adjust to it and accept it.
With the roads becoming more congested, the drivers traveling on those roads can lose their focus a lot quicker and for longer periods of time. This lack of focus from their frustration could lead to more vehicle crashes. Other things to think about would be the greenhouse gases being put into the atmosphere since there would be longer commutes through this busy area. Stop and go traffic is never a good thing, so why promote that? That, plus wasted fuel and money from each commuter would place this project as a negative result. What if the “buses only” lane was also a carpool lane? What if vehicles with 3 or more people could also ride in that lane? Wouldn’t that help the congestion? Wouldn’t that also relieve frustration the drivers would have about the congestion?
There are times when public transit works and there are times when individuals need their own vehicle to get around. Communities need to think of the big picture before they attempt these changes. Changes like this seem to only benefit the buses, but it doesn’t necessarily mean more people are taking the bus. Perhaps give more incentive about public transit. Make it easier to reach your destinations.
Regardless, of what my opinion or the opinion of other people, these lanes are here. Do your best to avoid the slower traffic and to stay calm. Maybe someone will make the needed changes so everyone can benefit from this; drivers, store owners, restaurant owners, transit. I’m hoping someone with influence will read this. To help, I’m also sending this to them. Here’s hoping they’ll take this seriously. Will you?