Elevated commuter lanes not a solution

Published 3:30 pm Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dear Editor,

It is no surprise that the Alabama Department of Transportation continues to favor an elevated expressway on the highly congested 280 highway. ALDOT is still a highway and bridge department in spite of its name, as they do not even have a department of mass transit in their entire organization.

To suggest building an elevated expressway down 280 flies in the face of all reasonable logic for the following reasons:

There is not a single metropolitan area in the United States that has solved traffic problems by building additional interstates. If you think so, visit any one of these areas during rush hour.

An elevated commuter train placed in the center of the current right-of-way would provide a comprehensive, and environmentally friendly means of transportation that has the potential for exponential expansion of services unlike fixed roadway systems.

Jefferson County and Shelby County suffer from being out of compliance with groundlevel ozone levels established by the EPA and have lost over 20,000 jobs and two billion dollars in economic development because of this.

Automobiles contribute 40 percent of the ground-level nitrous oxide, which is the primary precursor to ground-level ozone. An elevated expressway would just compound that problem.

People who live in North Shelby County, Mountain Brook and Homewood do not want the added particulate pollution, noise pollution or light pollution that an elevated expressway would bring.

Automobiles contribute 40 percent of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. All future transportation efforts should be designed to reduce the use of the private automobile with an internal combustion engine.

Shelby County has some of the worst air quality standards in the State, largely due to pollution from Jefferson County, and increasing automobile traffic would only compound the problem.

The environmentally, practical, and logical long-term solution to the highway 280 corridor is elevated mass transit. It would be a permanent solution to the problem and would actually be more conducive for long-term economic development.