Corroding Corridors

The latest buzz word among transportation managers in the Kaine administration is “corridor management.” The idea is simple: Virginia can do a much better job of increasing capacity of its major transportation corridors.

Take a four-lane or six-lane traffic corridor in your community. Observe how cluttered it is with intersections, turning lanes, subdivision gateways, shopping center entrances and curb cuts to innumerable gas stations, fast food stations and stand-alone stores. Everybody wants direct access to the main drag. But carrying capacity dies a death by a thousand cuts when drivers are entering and exiting the corridor willy nilly.

The Kaine administration thinks that state and local governments can increase the throughput of existing thoroughfares by limiting the points of access. The Kaine crew is pushing for closer cooperation between local land-use and state transportation planners, and it is asking for $50 million to buy back rights of way along selected corridors. Peter Galuszka, writing for the Road to Ruin project, has the scoop in “Corroding Corridors.”

I would add only a couple of brief editorial comments. First, $50 million would be money well spent as an experiment to see if this strategy has merit. It is crucial, however, that someone track the “before” and “after” performance of the traffic corridors so a Return on Investment analysis can be calculated. Secondly, traffic light synchronization (TLS) should be considered as another tool in corridor management. If the Kaine administration is looking at TLS, no one emphasized it to Galuszka.

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One response to “Corroding Corridors”

  1. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    Now you are talking. This actually makes sense to me.

    Isn’t this what service roads do? That is, limit the access to the main drag, by distributing it to a secondary road. Does this create Pods of business establishments? Is this fundamentally a different idea from the grid concept? At some level does the grid concept suffer the same problem of dying from a thousand cuts, each intersection being a cut?

    I think there are places where each concept is best and should prevail, but the unending argument is going to over what, where, and who.

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