Friday, August 20, 2004

Don Chu's Plan for Alleviating Tapones

We've all been stuck in one at some point of our driving career. "Tapones" in the metro area are ridiculously nagging: traffic moves at 5 miles an hour, people drive on the emergency lane, etc etc. We all know how it feels. Now here are a couple of things that can be done to help alleviate tapones and provide some environmental relief for our island.

  1. ENCOURAGE CARPOOLING. The gov't needs to create carpooling lanes on major roadways. A law must be passed that states that on the major roadways, certain vehicules (like SUV's and min-vans) must have more than one person in it during rush hours. If not, then they can't use these roads. The gov't should launch a major ad-campaign that encourages people to carpool. For example, if people live in the same neighborhood and are going generally to the same place or area (ex. from Caguas to San Juan) then there would be no need to take several cars. Also, encourage bigger companies, who can afford to, to provide some environmental-friendly means of transportation. Have them provide a bus or have them create their own car-pooling plans.

  2. INVERT ROADWAYS. We've all been stuck in traffic on el Espreso during the evening hours and have seen few cars passing us on the opposite lanes. Vice versa for the morning hours. In the mornings people on the highways are trying to get to city while in the evening people are trying to leave the city. So why not invert a couple of lanes from the opposing side of the highway during rush hour. Cities like Nashville do it.

  3. PROMOTE SMART BUYING. When it comes to buying a car, Puerto Ricans need to be informed on what kind of car to buy. Encourage Puerto Ricans to buy smaller cars and environmental friendly cars. Have the gov't provide a list of these favorable cars. The gov't should create a "fee" on bigger cars like SUV's and Mini-Vans. Call it an Environmental Protection Fee. These bigger cars are the ones who suck up most of our gas, create the most pollution and destroy our roads. For those who have a little bit of more money, encourage them to buy hybird cars. These baby's, while expensive, are more fuel efficient and create less pollution. The gov't can even prohibit certain large cars from parking in certain areas at certain times. For example, SUV's cannot park on the streets of Viejo San Juan during normal working hours.

  4. EXTEND EL TREN URBANO TO CAGUAS. A large portion of the people coming to San Juan live in this area anyways. Bayamon is already being taken care of, but the people of Caguas need to be in on the gig. The gov't should then promote usage of the tren by making it affordable by lowering the prices! $1.50?! Hell, NYC pays $2.00 for a fare and they make a whole lot more money than Puerto Ricans.

  5. REFORM THE MASS TRANSIT SYSTEM. Provide more buses, more routes and extended hours. Or provide more buses and routes during rush hours and/working hours. People who live in metro areas don't need cars. Look at NYC and Washington. Their citizens depend on the mass transit system. We need to follow their lead. The gov't can even promote usage of the reformed transit system by prohibiting city dwellers who work less than half a mile from their workplace to use a car during working hours.

  7. That's right. There are plenty of transit laws existing that aren't even enforced. Like no driving on the emergency lanes.

These are just a few suggestions that, if enacted, could relieve some stress on Puerto Ricans and help protect the environment. If anyone has any more ideas, please post them on the comments page.


Don Chu said...

Other suggestions I was thinking about, but don't see to viable because of costs burden, are Creating an elevated bypass highway from Bayamon to San Juan and from Caguas to San Juan. This is sort of a mixture between what goes on in Atlanta and L.A.

Also, my good friend Luis mentioned charging a "gas fee" for maintenance of roads and such. That's a good idea! But my concern is how the population would react to it. Maybe if the fee were only charged in the metro area because that's where most cars are and where road maintenance is needed the most That way people in the island wouldn't have to be paying the same amount of fee for roads they rarely use.

Trecista said...

Another way to alleviate tapones is to distribute work shifts in different hoursso that not everyone leaves at 5 p.m. By distributing the peak transit time in a 3 or 4 hour time, the traffic should be 3 or 4 times less congested.

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