This is a question that is rarely discussed at hearings when a new road project is being discussed. When the question is brought up the answer is usually, "the traffic count warrants it". It's as if when some magic number of cars per day is reached an alarm goes off in some secret room at the DOT. And so the planning begins...add more lanes, wider lanes, maybe a brand new road through a wetland (path of least resistance, those wetlands), cut down the hills, fill the valleys, remove the trees, and straighten the curves. It's always the same, but why?
It seems that "roads" have now become the "be all, do all". They are not just a means to an end anymore. They're not just a way to get somewhere they are the somewhere. Ask yourself, when does it end, two lane highways are turned into four lane highways that are turned into six lane highways. When does it all stop? Where in Waukesha County can you go where you don't see a road or a highway or even worse hear one!.
According to on-line resources Waukesha County has a population of 381,629, and 2917* miles of state, county, city, and town roads. Let's do the math. Waukesha County has 7.6 miles of roads per 1000 residents. That doesn't sound like a lot, but thats a lot! When is enough enough?
And by the way, those traffic counts I referred to earlier? They don't tell the whole story. Think of it this way. Let's say that 10,000 cars a day drive past a specific point. Does this mean that there are 416 cars per hour (10,000/24 hrs) driving past a certain point? No, it doesn't. That's not the way it works. What it will look like is more like this. Most cars travel will travel the route during just 2 or 3 hours a day (rush hour). So the question is? Is it worth spending $10 million for those two or three hours, what about $30 million or how about $40 million? Let me ask my original question again. When is enough, enough?