Monday, December 02, 2013

The road diet and ACA

Forest Park, the major thoroughfare that runs through my neighborhood, has been put on a road diet love that term!). Once two lanes each way, it is not one lane each way with a center turn lane and a small bit marked off as a barrier between cars and pedestrians and also as a bike lane. It really came about after a child was hit at the point where the road makes an S curve on Halloween 2012. In spite of some claims, it never had to do with cyclists--they just got an extra benefit.
There was a great hullabaloo before it was implemented--people for it, people predicting dire consequences, visits from transportation authorities at neighborhood meetings, ruffled feathers, and anger. The president of the neighborhood association was initially opposed but after meeting with city officials decided the road diet should be given a try. Now he likes it.
These days most people think it's a plus and the road is safer. Yes, you have to wait longer at stoplights, but that's a small trade-off for safety. Stoplights have been adjusted, especially to handle heavy traffic at school drop-off hours. On the other hand, people are complaining the drivers now cut through the neighborhood at unsafe speeds, presenting a worse hazard than the four-lane road. Generally though people are using the road and saying the new striping works well.
It reminds me of the Affordable Care Act. In states where it's been given a fair try, like Kentucky where it has the governor's strong support, it's working well and accomplishing what it was intended to. In states like Texas where it has the governor's firm condemnation and refusal to set up marketplaces in the state, there's a lot of vocal opposition--and fear. People haven't given it a chance. They condemn without investigating what they're condemning. They complain about higher rates--when they're paying for inadequate policies and could get better insurance more cheaply if they'd brave the now-improved website. In other words, they condemn without investigation, without understanding what it is they so adamantly oppose. Just like the road diet. Give it a chance.
Part of it, of course, is the hatred that is showered down on President Obama--if he supports it, it must be bad. I for one am appalled at such negative attitude. Another factor is the botched roll-out, but not many websites roll out smoothly and especially not one of this scope and complexity. I for one was not surprised and saw no reason to declare the program dead.
I drive up and down Forest Park a lot, not often at rush hour, but recently when I did, traffic was flowing well. And my insurance rates haven't gone up--they've gone down. I'm a happy camper. Maybe if some doubters would investigate when they're condemning, they'd be happier.
Back to the book I'm reading.

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