Who doesn't love the idea of more cars on I95?
I got to apologize if this comes off the wrong way as I respond but comments like this are quite infuriating to city planners.
1 - Widening I-95 will only make things worse. Especially if you go to more lanes than you need, more people will feel the need to use it. Now, you could be correct if you wanted to argue that VDOT needs to do two way express lanes at a lowered toll rate. That should be done. But overall widening won’t make it better.
2 - In terms of how the traffic will hit I-95, Kalahari will have a much smaller traffic impact on I-95 than Snyder new stadium. With Kalahari, people will be checking in and out all throughout the week and be arriving at different times. While, again a little correct, more cars will be on the road; the traffic rate will go up a small number per hour. Compare that to Snyder proposed stadium. That could be anywhere from 100,000 to 150,000 (depending on employees, public transit) cars hitting the road almost simultaneously on the same day of the week. Doesn’t matter what else goes on there, every Sunday, every time there’s a concert, every little event held at that potential new stadium will do far worse things to 95 than Kalahari.
3 - Kalahari most likely won’t induce new traffic on 95 that wasn’t there, rather it’s going to keep traffic off of 1, and money out of the hotels and towns along 95. It will make more cars go to a single point rather than multiple points across the highway in that area. What would need to happen for 95 to get real bad is to keep Kalahari off a poorly maintained exit that’s not intended for high traffic flow. If they can make it easily accessible and include a high flow rate exit like a diverging diamond interchange, it might have a chance at helping traffic.
4 - In discussions with other people still in the planning field, we’ve come to the conclusion that VA’s 95/81/64 issues is the lack of major highways connecting in between those points. VA desperately needs alternative routes that connect E/W and NE/SW/SE/NW to cross the state. They need a highway going N/S through Charlottesville. The reason traffic stays on 95 is more that it’s the only way N/S along with 81. So traffic to get to middle parts of the states are pushed to them.
5 - Overpopulation of NOVA, along with Fredericksburg/Richmond becoming the main living while commuting for the week likely has an even bigger
stress on 95. Especially as Amtrak remains an ineffective competitor to the automobile. A high speed rail to connect Richmond, Fredericksburg, and DC; with those being the only 3 stops, could make the commute about 40 minutes total. That helps with two major issues, 95 traffic and overpopulation of the NOVA area.
Basically, for a planner, to hear people blame a single new tourist item for increased traffic is quite frustrating. Traffic science isn’t a simple one lever for one outcome. And often what the public sees is the major issue is almost a non-factor in the entire system. Personally as a country, I think we do a terrible job in properly funding and promoting the use of public transit. It’s seen as a ’poor person’ solution that’s dirty, unreliable, and unsafe. We need to improve that. We need to make it clean, safe, and enticing to do.