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Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Rush Hour

I got to my little coffee shop at three yesterday. It isn't exactly the busiest part of town, but traffic was gridlocked. Leaving just after seven, and it was still busy outside. No wonder we don't have any gas in Baton Rouge, it's a parking lot these days. The city has changed, and it's time to update the infrastructure. This morning, Mayor Kip Holden allocated $1 million towards alleviating our traffic problems, but I doubt we'll start seeing results any time soon.

The way I see it, traffic is a double edged sword. On one hand, congestion contributes to a weakened public morale, an unnecessary expense, and decreased public productivity. Yet the traffic congestion hints at a strengthening economy and an increase in tax revenue. Whether the traffic problems will pull the city ahead or behind cannot be predicted until the town normalizes. We have yet to see if the drastic increase in population is permanent or not, yet conventional wisdom now states that these people are staying.

This city is in great need of a mass transit system, our bus line is both small and ineffective. A light rail route crossing the city would alleviate some traffic, but it's uncertain whether it'll be used if implemented, such as the bus line. The most logical and cost effectI've heard is to stagger your employees' schedules. Instead of everyone on the streets at 7 and again at 5, an employer could modify some of their employees' schedules throughout the morning and evening hours, desaturating the rush hours. Companies could also move towards a six day work week (this weekend was non existant, in fact even labor day was a work day for many in the city). This proved effective this past week, and hopefully will be widely implemented, at least until the city has normalized.

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