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Right Turn
Posted at 09:40 AM ET, 04/21/2011

Barack Obama's traffic problem


Continetti is guest-blogging for The Post.

The president is headed to Los Angeles today to continue his West Coast fundraising swing. And Los Angelenos are looking forward to the president's visit in exactly the way you'd expect: They're terrified.

When the president visited L.A. last summer, he caused a massive traffic jam that left commuters stuck in their cars for hours. The same thing is expected to happen today. Mickey Kaus writes : “It became evident when George W. Bush visited a few years ago that presidential travel to West Los Angeles is akin to a small natural disaster.”

As a wise man once said, the political party that reduces traffic congestion will secure a majority for 30 years. That won't be the Democrats! It’s not only Obama who causes traffic jams when his presidential motorcade rampages across highways and city streets. His policies cause backups, too. I support infrastructure spending, but there's no denying that the extra money leads to traffic jams. These days the streets and highways where I live, in Northern Virginia, are an absolute mess because of construction projects. Thank you, Mr. President.

My Weekly Standard colleague Jonathan V. Last recently wrote an informative piece  on “induced demand.” This is the fashionable and completely bone-headed idea that more roads lead to more traffic. Another trendy policy is creating bike lanes in cities so people can cycle to work. The problem is that cities make room for the bicycles by reducing the number of lanes for cars. I can't be the only one who's been stuck in traffic on 15th Street while the bike lane is empty.

The purpose of bike lanes and high-speed rail projects is to encourage more people to take public transportation. That may make sense in New York and other metropolitan centers in the Northeast Corridor, but it's totally removed from the realities of daily life in most of the rest of this gigantic country. Americans love cars. They love to drive. What they hate is traffic. Here's a tip for the Republican nominee: Read former undersecretary of transportation Tyler Duvall's spring 2010 National Affairs essay, “Unclogging Transportation.” Then gently mock Obama for all the traffic he's caused. You'll drive him crazy.

By Matthew Continetti  |  09:40 AM ET, 04/21/2011

 
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