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Last week, I had the displeasure of traveling along the entire length of I-4 from Daytona Beach to Tampa. Along the way, I witnessed unbearable traffic, some routine and some the result of a horrific tractor trailer crash just west of Sanford (Note: another crash Sunday backed up traffic for over 5 miles). While not particularly high on the list for the most congested interstates in the US, the Daily Beast, using figures from the National Highway Safety Administration, finds I-4 to be the third deadliest highway in the United States. Take a look at number one on that list - Florida’s own I-95 - another highway slated to have a safer rail alternative, should HSR come to fruition…

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6 Responses to The case for HSR: I-4 Congestion

  1. Steven says:

    Just to play devil’s advocate in a very weak argument here, there is a possible solution to why this is a better alternative than HSR…

    With traffic like this, drivers are more likely to get off the roadway and drive through alternative means. These alternative routes have potential red lights to be run, slower moving speeds and more likely speeding tickets to be given, and the possibility of that driver partaking in some of the local venues to kill time during their commute.

    This being said, I still feel that HSR is the preferred alternative to this and its benefits far outweigh any of the potential “Benefits” of this type of congestion. I just want to provide an alternative point on this.

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  2. B says:

    Playing Devil’s advocate here: If HSR were in place now, would that have helped at all when there’s a major tractor-trailer crash?

    The case for HSR is not decreasing roadway congestion. Look at NYC, which has the best rail system (not only subway, regional as well!) in the country. Traffic still happens! I guess the argument should be that you would at least have an option to take the train, and you would increase the potential capacity in a way that highway expansion cannot. Whether we really need the additional capacity, that’s another issue…

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  3. TransitDave says:

    Maybe that’s because I-4 has only 3 traffic lanes, and it’s the main drag for people driving from the North side of Orlando to the SW Disney/International Drive areas….A good arguement for a commuter rail line, yes……an arguement for HSR, no…..A better arguement for more traffic lanes as part of a holistic solution to Orlando’s congestion, probably, but we’re talking apples & oranges……And, yes I drive this drive myself on a regular basis………Granted the traffic is horrible, but it’s local traffic…..

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  4. Tony Garcia says:

    B: 100% right!

    Rail, be it high speed or regional or local, is NOT an alternative to congestion. Congestion exists with or without alternatives because the congestion capacity of the road is based on the number of lanes…not the existence of other modes.
    A person who chooses to ride HSR in the future will just be replaced by someone else in their car stuck in congestion.

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  5. I had the horrible experience of driving West-Tampa-Orlando-West Palm on business last week.

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  6. Don says:

    I drive I-4 every day. When it comes to crashes and congestion because of crashes, I-4 is not the problem, the drivers are the problem.

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