Thursday, February 21, 2008

Road to Nowhere

Well we know where we're going
But we don't know where we've been
And we know what we're knowing
But we can't say what we've seen
And we're not little children
And we know what we want
And the future is certain
Give us time to work it out.
-- Talking Heads
Sometimes, the Pittsburgh Business Times scoops the competition on the really good stories:
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is moving forward with plans for elevated toll lanes above the Parkway East and plans to make an announcement on the project in the next two weeks.

Turnpike Commission CEO Joe Brimmeier said the organization is putting out a request for information from private investors for the project, which would likely start near Churchill or Penn Hills and come toward Downtown, bypassing the Squirrel Hill Tunnel.
Bypassing the Squirrel Hill Tunnel?

I mean, I'm no traffic engineer, but the way that I see it, the function of the Squirrel Hill Tunnel is to go "through" Squirrel Hill. I also realize that I am unfamiliar with non-Euclidian geometry, but to my simple mind, there are only four ways around Squirrel Hill: under, over, around, and through. Not to say that none of these options are impossible -- all things are possible with money -- but this all seems infeasible, considering the massive engineering that will be necessary to build the necessary interchanges, flyover ramps, tunnels, and so forther. That doesn't even begin to take into consideration the economic impact on the City's investment in Frick Park, Nine Mile Run, and Summerset, and the established homeowners in Squirrel Hill.

Admittedly, this plan is probably better than the proposed Mon-Fayette Expressway, but only in the way that being punched in the stomach is better than being kicked in the head.

Of course, this all has nothing to do with the fact that the chair of the State House Transportation Committee is Joe Markosek, a Monroeville Democrat.

But PennDOT is always thinking ahead. We've already snagged a preliminary proposal for the future of transportation in the Commonwealth:

3 comments:

Chal said...

Maybe you missed this sentence further down in the PGH Biz Times story:

"The elevated toll road would likely require boring holes above the existing tunnel lanes for the new thoroughfare, Markosek said."

Which makes it sound EVEN CRAZIER. I mean, would the new road also be only two lanes in each direction? Why don't they work on improving mass transit, bring the T to the east burbs?

Oops! Sorry for the lapse into common sense.

O said...

Didn't miss it, Chal just (1) felt it distracted from a non-Euclidian geometry reference and (2) I hit my quota on transportation craziness for the week early.

fester said...

Dude --- trebuchets and foam packing peanuts are a much better way to avoid the Squirrel Hill Tunnel (and yes, I have been playing Age of Empires recently)