No valid reason to raise speed limit on Scajaquada
Do advocates for keeping the Scajaquada Expressway have any actual reasons for keeping it? There’s a lot of frustration and talk of “knee-jerk” reactions (though it wasn’t – people have been fighting it for decades), but no actual reasons. It was built to connect Route 33 to Interstate 190, but according to the state Department of Transportation, only 15 percent of users make that trip. Further, the new speed limit adds only about three minutes for those few.
There are numerous examples where expressway removal improved local economies and quality of life without causing “car-mageddon” – San Francisco’s Embarcadero Freeway, Portland’s Harbor Drive, Milwaukee’s Park East. However, I’ve heard of no examples where any of the naysayers’ claims were realized.
Speed kills. From 20 to 40 mph, the percentage of deaths of pedestrians struck by cars jumps from about 5 to 80 percent. And studies published in academic, peer-reviewed journals have associated traffic pollution with numerous illnesses and autoimmune disorders including pre-eclampsia, obesity, autism, attention disorders, depression, anxiety, pneumonia, asthma, eczema, inner ear infections, kidney disease, several forms of cancer and heart disease.
So against all that, what are the counterarguments? “I like to go fast”? Some visceral reaction to protect the status quo? That doesn’t cut it with me. And this isn’t just some selfish attempt to raise property values. Who wants to pay more taxes? I’d stand by anyone who wants to have an expressway removed from his community, whether I’m inconvenienced by it or not.