Forget Christie; Let’s Talk About Big Fat Traffic Jams

By:  Selwyn Duke
01/16/2014
       
Forget Christie; Let’s Talk About Big Fat Traffic Jams

The real road scandal in N.Y. and N.J. involves government-authored traffic jams that neither Gov. Christie nor Gov. Andrew Cuomo seem to care a whit about.

One unmentioned irony of the Chris Christie road-revenge scandal is that the powers-that-be finally found a traffic jam they didn’t like. Now, don’t get me wrong, having always lived in the N.Y. metropolitan area and often having wanted to split a vein while in the midst of the N.Y./N.J. road experience, I think that anyone who purposely exacerbates traffic problems should be confined to a small cell and forced to listen 24/7/365 to Nancy Pelosi’s nails-on-blackboard speeches. But I have to tell you: It has always seemed that NY and NJ public officials have utter disregard — if not contempt — for drivers in their states. In fact, their policies have long had the effect of exacerbating traffic problems.

Consider a common N.Y./N.J. driving experience. You’re traveling north on the New Jersey Turnpike — passing exits 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 — and then all of a sudden the road transitions into a parking lot that you’re trapped in for an hour and a half. The cause?

The turnpike toll plaza some miles ahead.

Of course, it’s not always that bad, although it can be during holidays, bad rush hours, and when other complicating factors manifest themselves. But the point is this: Where is the logic in collecting revenue by stopping traffic on a heavily traveled roadway in a densely populated urban area? With the Christie situation, it seems that some officials have finally discovered that traffic jams lead to wasted resources (fuel), diminished productivity, and possibly lost lives (the 91-year-old woman who died in an ambulance stuck in the traffic). But politicians don’t seem to care when these problems are visited upon the citizenry in the name of a government cash cow.

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