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Paul Nichols’ Amazing Transportation Plan

By Greg L | 5 October 2009 | 51st HOD District, Humor & Satire | 24 Comments

If the idea of bringing Metro to Woodbridge as a solution to all of the transportation problems in the Route One corridor doesn’t pan out, Delegate Paul Nichols has a fascinating fallback plan.

But if the Metro plan Nichol’s envisions does not work, he quipped Thursday there is another way to bail residents out of gridlock.

“Build sidewalks on 95. People will walk to work and they will walk home,” he said.

I think Democrats ought to roll creative ideas like this one into their health care proposals.  Folks, this is policy synergy.

I admit it’s a little far out for “forward thinking.”  We’re not going to get Metro to Woodbridge for twenty to thirty years, if ever.  So realisticallly, we won’t know for about ten years at best whether we need to implement this option.  Sidewalk construction for a twenty-two mile stretch between Woodbridge and the Pentagon would probably take three years to complete, and more if there are environmental studies and litigation involved.   So call this a fifteen year plan.  I’d like to see something in the five-to-ten year range, but this is a constructive proposal and for transportation ideas, not terribly outside of a reasonable time horizon.

What I find so fascinating about this idea is that having federal workers and contractors, who probably would utilize this the most, run two daily marathons instead of sitting in their cars and pouring greenhouse gases into the atmosphere while they idle on Interstate 95 would absolutely reduce healthcare costs for both government and local businesses.  Anyone healthy enough to log nearly fifty miles on their tennis shoes a day isn’t going to be at much risk of developing diabetes, they won’t be smokers, and there’s no way they could be abusing drugs or alcohol.  Those that do would collapse and die at some point early in their first week, and dead folks don’t consume healthcare resources, which would again save money.  Barack Obama, are you listening here?

Democrats like to solve things “comprehensively”, rolling a bunch of policy initiatives into one big program where the individual components complement each other.  By taking Delegate Nichols’ bold transportation ideas and coupling them with President Obama’s proposals to nationalize health care, rolling this out across the country would easily get us the $500 billion savings for a healthcare “public option”, significantly address greenhouse gas emissions, and solve gridlock everywhere from Los Angeles to D.C.  It’s been tried before, and worked well, and I’m impressed that Paul Nichols decided to think “outside of the box” here and come up with a compelling policy alternative.

When was the last time you heard complaints about traffic gridlock, carbon emissions, or exploding diabetes rates in Vietnam?

As the debate over transportation policy alternatives continues, I hope Republican Rich Anderson will similarly unveil something new and innovative to help commuters in Prince William County overcome gridlock.  So far, all his proposals seem to be pretty boring — leverage existing resources better, expand high speed rail, and bring jobs to Prince William County so people won’t have to commute, for example.  Yeah, they mighht actually work, but who is going to get excited about stuff like that?  If Anderson is going to keep up with the kind of innovation displayed by Paul Nichols, he’s going to have to really reach out of the box with something like investing in flying cars, shooting commuters to work in giant circus cannons, or a crach program to develop teleportation technology, like we’ve seen in Star-Trek.

Walking (or running) to work on a 22.5 mile-long sidewalk next to I-95.  Absolutely brilliant.

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  1. I'm just saying... said on 5 Oct 2009 at 11:03 am:
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    I lived in Europe and Asia for many years and bicycled a number of miles to work every day (as does most of the rest of the world). I wish they would set up a bicycle lane on I95 & I66 (and feeder routes). 20-30 miles is nothing to a bicyclist… and this is an idea we could actually implement quickly with a bit of paint and some sinage.

    Holland is probably my favorite example of a bicycle infrastructure… you can get to ANYWHERE on their bika paths.

    Our love of the automobile, regular hours, happy faces in offices instead of working at home, and a desire to centralize industry are some of the problems. Get a bike!

  2. mnd said on 5 Oct 2009 at 12:13 pm:
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    Bicycles, motorcycles and scooters are recreational vehicles in this country.

    Just the way it is.

  3. I'm just saying... said on 5 Oct 2009 at 1:45 pm:
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    mnd, the way it is doesn’t have to be the way it will be. That’s called “vision”.

  4. Harry said on 5 Oct 2009 at 1:59 pm:
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    Greg, ever hear of sarcasm? The remark was in reference to how s-l-o-w I95 is and how much slower it will become without Metro.

  5. Harry said on 5 Oct 2009 at 2:04 pm:
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    You are correct that we won’t get Metro to Woodbridge for sometime, it’s call planning , as long as the rural Rs control the House, we won’t get anything. Seems like Connolly is getting Metro, all 24 miles of it to Dulles in 5 years. The problem of course is backward thinkers like Stewart who have no solution, or McDonnell’s plan to take $500 million from state education aid and further shift the education burden to county real estate taxes.

  6. mnd said on 5 Oct 2009 at 3:10 pm:
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    Denying reality and wishing for unicorns isn’t going to usher in any sort of useful future.

    The best bet we have for solving transportation issues is technology and, surprisingly, legislation.

    Converting freeways over to limited access roads for computer driven vehicles will allow much denser traffic and higher speeds. This can only happen if legislation is passed to deal with the attendant liability issues.

    I own cars, a motorcycle, a scooter and a few bicycles. The general public does not wish to make the lifestyle changes necessary to permit use of powered or unpowered bikes in a non-recreational setting. At best you may be able to social engineer a few of them into it, but our civil planning and current infrastructure reinforce the cultural status of the automobile.

  7. Not SPLC said on 5 Oct 2009 at 3:20 pm:
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    Off topic but very important. TSA let’s illegals hire other illegals to work at Chicago O’Hare airport.

    That’s not the best part! Here it is …….. the illegal who hired the other illegals also got them security clearances!

  8. I'm just saying... said on 5 Oct 2009 at 6:36 pm:
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    mnd, a special use unicorn lane is really a good idea! I would suggest lanes for single rider unicorns and two rider unicorns (or, a TRU lane). I would also allow single rider unicorns that run on organic fuel access to the TRU lanes in recognition of lower methane emissions.

    Actually, we should start planning for the demise of cars and transportation as we know it today. Computer driven vehicles are an interesting solution; however, I suspect they are a ways off. The infrastructure changes to support such a concept are probably in the 20-30 (or longer) year range. Frankly, I would rather see a migration to simpler, environmentally friendly solutions. With the population’s recognition of climate issues, diminishing resources, the rising price of feul, and more folks on the highway, I would suggest the bike idea is both fiscally and practically quite achievable in a very short period.

    Why, with today’s communications technology, do we have to all drive to the same place to do our jobs? This town isn’t about building things, it’s about ideas. Re-engineering our approach to work to do away with the need to collect in one place is a more practical solution. I’m guessing that it will take Generation “Y” to pull that off (as cultural issues tend to get in the way for boomers and Generation “X” is already history.)

  9. mnd said on 5 Oct 2009 at 6:55 pm:
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    Actually computer driven cars were demonstrated in Italy back in 1994.

    The technology isn’t the problem. (And don’t worry about the infrastructure changes — any viable system must be able to operate without infrastructure changes. No guide ways, transponders etc.)

    The problem is liability. If a vehicle crashes who is to blame? The computer? The owner?

    The manufacturer needs indemnification against lawsuits before computer driven vehicles will move forward.

    I won’t address the rest of your post as you’ve headed off into the weeds of wishful thinking.

    Do you work from home? Do you use your bicycle year around as your primary form of transportation (or use it to eliminate trips in your car, ie non recreational use?)

    I suspect you do neither.

  10. Greg L said on 5 Oct 2009 at 7:09 pm:
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    That High Occupancy Unicorn Lane idea is a real winner. If my daughters were eligible, anyone promising to put unicorns on the road would lock up their votes in an instant. They would have set a whole new standard for starry-eyed Obama-tized sycophants.

    I can’t believe we beat Obama to the punch with that one. ACORN could have registered millions with a platform like that.

  11. Bike Rider said on 5 Oct 2009 at 7:27 pm:
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    I could see doing the 19 miles to the 123 lots before and after work.

  12. I'm just saying... said on 5 Oct 2009 at 8:28 pm:
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    mnd, actually… I do work from home… and I have 4 bicycles (including a Dahon folder that I take on the metro). I wish our infrastructure allowed me to eliminate my need for a car… someday.

  13. Dave in PWC said on 5 Oct 2009 at 10:53 pm:
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    If they build sidewalks the illegals will ride their bikes to their security clearance jobs at the Pentagon

  14. Anonymous said on 5 Oct 2009 at 11:52 pm:
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    Brawndo has electrolytes. It’s what plants need.

  15. Robert L. Duecaster said on 6 Oct 2009 at 9:31 am:
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    “I got spurs, that jingle jangle jingle.”

    I’ve known many people who biked 40 miles R/T to and from work, almost all year long. If the infrastructure supported it, there would be many more. Not everyone in the work force is a lard ass or has burnt out their lungs on cancer sticks.

  16. Johnson said on 6 Oct 2009 at 11:48 am:
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    Off thread, more of the usual.

  17. citizenofmanassas said on 6 Oct 2009 at 11:58 am:
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    I have a good friend who once suggested bike trails should be built along 66 so that people could bike from Manassas to points east. It goes without saying he is a Dem.

  18. Johnson said on 6 Oct 2009 at 1:26 pm:
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    The C&O Canal Trail runs from Loudon County through Falls Church and into Georgetown. We used to ride and camp along it when I was a kid.

  19. Robert L. Duecaster said on 6 Oct 2009 at 2:55 pm:
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    Your friend, CoM, is one Dem I’d agree with on that issue.

    I admire you for befriending a Democrat. Everyone should try.

  20. citizenofmanassas said on 6 Oct 2009 at 4:19 pm:
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    I might add, at the time, 2002ish, he was pushing for higher gas prices in order to get more people to use public transportion, etc. Fast forward to 2006ish, what the hell is wrong with these oil companies changing so much for gas?

  21. Anthonyafterwit said on 6 Oct 2009 at 5:19 pm:
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    Can’t wait to see a bicycle pile-up on 95

  22. Freedom said on 7 Oct 2009 at 10:42 am:
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    Harry said, “You are correct that we won’t get Metro to Woodbridge for sometime, it’s call planning…”

    OK Harry, it’s called planning, and that’s wonderful, however, how about some “short-term planning” as well, e.g., for the next 20 - 30 years while we’re waiting on that metro planning to materialize, if it ever does.

    We just can’t seem to build/expand roads fast enough…and for the short-term, it seems to me that as Rich Anderson has proposed, expanded and improved VRE service, as well as expanded bus service would be an excellent step.

    I know that Paul Nichols favors metro…and that may work in the long term but it won’t do squat for us in the short term.

    Oh, and Harry, I wouldn’t rely on Gerry Connolly, Nov 2010 will be here before you know it…he simply doesn’t have enough time left to work the metro deal!

  23. A PW County Resident said on 7 Oct 2009 at 2:12 pm:
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    Harry said on 5 Oct 2009 at 2:04 pm

    “or McDonnell’s plan to take $500 million from state education aid and further shift the education burden to county real estate taxes.”

    Can you direct me to the part of McDonnell’s plan that takes money from education and give to transportation? I have searched and the only references seem to come from the Deeds campaign and friends. So please let me know where it is in Bob McDonnell’s plan?

  24. Kevin C. said on 11 Oct 2009 at 10:51 pm:
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    Once again, let’s not forget we’re dealing with a PROFESSIONAL LIAR here. Nickles LIES for a living! He says, in his flyers, that he’s “cracking down” on drunk drivers while, at the same time, defending them in court. Just look at his FULL PAGE Yellow Page ad in any phone book. He tells drunk drivers, drug offenders and SEX offenders, and I quote, “When you face a criminal matter you need our team of experience on your side.” And WHO in their right mind would vote for anyone who DEFENDS drunk drivers? Do you really want this SLIMEBALL influencing our drinking and driving laws? All he wants to do is STUFF HIS POCKETS! As far as Metro to Woodbridge, just another LIE! He’ll say anything, and I mean ANYTHING to get elected! One thing we DON’T need in Richmond is someone who RUINS lives for a living! A BOTTOM FEEDING divorce lawyer.

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