“I probably wouldn’t know a traffic study if I tripped over it.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie clearly doesn’t know what a traffic study is, but in all fairness, who does — other than the occasional urban-studies student or municipal employee? But a supposed traffic study is at the center of a controversy that has engulfed the Republican governor’s office.
In September, the Port Authority closed down two of the three upper-level toll lanes on the George Washington Bridge connecting New York and New Jersey. The closures caused massive traffic jams, even slowing an emergency response for a woman who would later die. The aftermath of this controversy has left one of the governor’s top aides without a job and threatens the possible presidential prospects for the straight-talking state executive.
But what is a traffic study?
It’s actually a common tool used by municipal governments considering new developments near major roads.
Before construction begins on a new road, traffic signal, or turn lane, transportation officials want to see the impact that construction would have on local traffic and what sort of demands would come from it.
So, officials close down certain roads or lanes to see how much congestion builds up and observe what other roads — usually not used for through-traffic — people take to get around the blockage. The data that officials gain through observing the traffic jams will give municipalities enough information to justify certain land use and prepare for the eventual construction.
Generally, a road that would require a traffic study is one with “100 newly generated vehicle trips in the peak direction (inbound or outbound) during the site peak traffic,” according to guidelines from the Institute of Transportation Engineers.
Eventually, the impact study will outline how much traffic exists during peak times, which roads vehicles utilize, and what adjustments need to be made in surrounding roadways.
In this case, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was the administrative body that supposedly conducted the traffic study. However, officials say they doubt such a study existed. Christie is leaving the door open: “There may still have been a traffic study.”
It’s unclear what construction project would have required such a study. If he wants to investigate this further, hopefully Christie now knows what he’s looking for.
What We're Following See More »
The House voted down the otherwise uncontroversial Energy and Water appropriations bill Thursday after Democrats succeeded in attaching an amendment affirming LGBT job discrimination protections for military contractors. More than 40 Republicans supported the amendment, but when it came to vote on the bill, 130 Republicans joined all but six Democrats to sink the bill. Speaker Paul Ryan said Democrats voting against the bill after securing the amendment shows their intention was to scuttle the process. Democrats, however, blamed other so-called poison-pill amendments for their votes against the bill. Nonetheless, Ryan said he intends to continue the appropriations process.
"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.
"Airport screening delays have caused more than 70,000 American Airlines customers and 40,000 checked bags to miss their flights this year, an executive for the airline told a U.S. congressional subcommittee on Thursday. A shortage of staff and a surge in air travelers have created a nightmare scenario for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA), with airport wait times in places like Chicago stretching beyond two hours."
"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."