Lake Ronkonkoma Civic Organization

Why We Drive the Way We Do

"Traffic does not yield to simple, appealing solutions. Adding lanes or roads is a short-lived fix. Widen one highway, and drivers from another will defect. Soon that road is worse than it was before." - Tom Vanderbilt, in his new book, "Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What It Says About Us)."

One of the biggest issues the Civic had with Suffolk County's Dept. of Public Works original design for Portion Road, CR-16, was their insistence that the only solution to the traffic problem was to widen the road and add more lanes. In the end, the final design for the road will increase it's efficiency but without unnecessarily widening the road, but it was difficult to convince DPW and others that widening the road wasn't the answer because it's counterintuitive.

Tom Vanderbilt's new book makes traffic and driving issues easier to comprehend, and with a few good anecdotes along the way. For example, most traffic congestion near accident scenes isn't caused by the actual accident, but by drivers slowing down just to see what they can see. Experiments in erecting roadside screens to shield the accident scene from drivers has proved fruitless because drivers will slow down just to look at the screens.

If you're interested in learning more about one of the most frustrating aspects of living on Long Island then I recommend "Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What It Says About Us)."
You can read the New York Times review of the book here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/10/books/review/Roach-t.html