From the Daily Record:
No easy solution for projected traffic crunch
BY KEN SERRANO
It’s what most road commuters have learned to expect: more traffic and a longer drive to work and home. That’s the prognosis for people traveling on Route 287 in the coming years
Traffic along a stretch of the interstate between Middlesex and Somerset counties, for example, is expected to rise by as much as 10 percent in four years. In less than 25 years, it will increase by 35 percent along the same stretch, according to one forecast.
North of Route 78, traffic is expected to grow by 2.5 percent in four years and 20 percent by 2030. Under those scenarios, the ride-home drive time could finally make the full transition from the rush hour to the rush evening.
“Obviously, if these projections come to pass, it’s going to be a nightmare,” said Jeffrey Zupan, senior fellow for transportation with the Regional Plan Association, an independent nonprofit group.
For Zupan, more traffic means more money, lots of it, in terms of the tax burden on towns along the stretch and the lost revenue of businesses having trouble with worker arrivals.
“I predict as far as volumes for commuting, it’s not going to come close,” said Steve Carrellas, who cites telecommuting as one reason for his optimism.
“Once you have the basic infrastructure, as far as the software goes, people don’t have to go to the office,” said Carrellas, state chapter coordinator for the National Motorists Association.
Carrellas, who has worked with the NJTPA, stressed that the forecasts do not take into account telecommuting, the high cost of gas and other future trends. Even if the worst predictions come true, he said higher volumes don’t have to mean more tie-ups and slowdowns.