Ted Balaker and Sam Staley have an oped in today's New York Times that argues the city should be looking at road capacity expansions, even in Manhattan, rather than relying exclusively on transit and law enforcement approaches to transportation management. The full articles is here.
Blocking the box isn't a law enforcement issue that Mayor Bloomberg can address by simply having traffic agents mete out punishment. It's a traffic management issue that represents political neglect of the road network. Drivers aren't letting their cars sit in the cross hairs of oncoming traffic out of spite. They don't relish the cursing, honking and fist shaking aimed at them. Like everyone else in the standstill, they'd prefer to be moving. But there's just nowhere to go.
For decades, officials have failed to upgrade the road network to keep up with a swelling population. Mayor Bloomberg has said that the city will grow by 900,000 people by 2030; if this neglect continues, it will generate even more gridlock. Over the next 20 years city forecasters expect automobile traffic to grow by 10 percent and freight traffic to increase by 64 percent. But of the mayor's 16 major transportation recommendations in the city's long-range plan, not one would significantly increase the road system's capacity.