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The Hedding Headache and the folly of urban planners

The Hedding Headache. Four lanes reduced to two. Note the completely empty bike lane.

The Hedding Headache. Four lanes reduced to two, by adding bike lanes that are almost entirely unused.

We live right near the Hedding Headache in San Jose. Hedding is a major street connecting two freeways and was always busy. It’s even worse now, after city planner geniuses reduced it from four lanes to two lanes and added bike lanes. It is now impassable during rush hour, and has virtually no bicyclists during that time either.

A disgruntled San Jose resident writes to the local newspaper.

I just spent a week driving around the Salt Lake City area. It seemed like every other road I drove on was under construction as they improved roads, widened roads to add more lanes and were even building new roads.

San Jose seems to be the exact opposite. The only road construction I see on San Jose streets is projects like the Hedding Headache, where San Jose turned a four-lane thoroughfare into a two-lane parking lot.

I guess it’s all part of some liberal fantasy where, if they make driving a car inconvenient enough, everybody will take mass transit or ride their bikes everywhere, and the Earth will be happy and rose petals will magically fall from the sky.

There is also an inexplicable traffic circle at an intersection near us. Oddly there are stop signs for east-west but not for north-south. Instead of calming traffic, as was the presumed intent, cars coming in the directions with no stop signs often get confused and stop anyway and look at the people stopped at the stop signs for a clue about what to do next. Or they zoom through like it’s a slalom course. Here’s a tip San Jose, if you want traffic calmed at that intersection, make it a 4-way stop and rip out that dumb traffic circle thingee.

Who thinks these things up? If you live ten miles out of town you probably are not going to ride your bike to work on crowded streets no matter how much urban planners think you should. And I bet they don’t ride bikes to work.

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