There is a third way to look at this problem of whether to expand I-380, would solve the dichotomy of your recent guest columnists (“Highway debate,” Nov. 24).
First, they both agree that the corridor between Linn and Johnson counties is growing, that the 50-year-old highway has brought economic growth and that we need to look to the future.
But Ron Corbett focuses only on increasing capacity by adding lanes without considering public transportation, and Ben Kaplan focuses on the perils of increasing the number of lanes as experienced in Houston while proposing keeping the current number of lanes and adding public transportation.
Neither considers an approach that incorporates both. There is no doubt that adding more cars can drive economic development, but vehicles using fossil fuels should be reduced. Even with fully electric vehicles on the road, more lanes will cause greater congestion.
A solution to add a lane dedicated to public transportation, busses or trains, and keep the current number of lanes for individual vehicles recognizes economic and environmental concerns.
Trains should get another look in terms of today’s advancing technologies. A single rail commuter train alongside the highway is a possibility. I’ve commuted to New York City and Chicago this way and it is ideal in terms of a positive experience to read, work, sleep, or chat. A dedicated bus lane with regular, frequent service would also provide many of these benefits and may be more flexible with scheduling and economically more feasible than trains.