Homework needs to be done

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Case for changing Trinity yet to be made

By Chick Keller

Several of my friends have written letters to the Los Alamos Monitor objecting to reducing Trinity Drive from four to two lanes. Others object to the entire concept of traffic roundabouts.
I for one haven’t decided which side is right. The main I agree it is intuitive that reducing from four lanes to two would cause a traffic jam at peak hours, but I got to wondering how we know this.  
In short, most people don’t know much about traffic and so have written their opinions, and while opinions can be correct, we need something more substantial.   
What do we really know about efficient traffic and other benefits of two lanes vs four?
  I agree, also, that those proposing these changes clearly have not made their case sufficiently.
Funny — in a town full of experts that prides itself on computer modeling, nobody seems to believe modeling or experts.
The main question to me is this: Most towns have a bypass to keep thru-traffic out of the downtown.  
I submit that Trinity Drive is our bypass.  We’ve all seen what happens on a bypass.  
It’s usually pretty bleak ­— strip businesses, pedestrian and bike traffic impossible, little or no landscaping and any number of ugly buildings.  
Parts of our own bypass look a lot like this.  
So the question  is, do we want a bypass or an extension of our community?
Forget the point ignored by the four lane - two  lane letters that Trinity inevitably does become two lanes but traffic doesn’t back up all that much.  
If we want a bypass, let’s leave things alone.  But if other communities have discovered a better, more attractive way to increase business and make their communities places people want to enjoy, then maybe we need to do more homework.  
Let me suggest that those proposing these changes put out some sort of publication that shows before/after examples of several communities that were improved by such changes.  
(It might not hurt for proposers to reduce the number of roundabouts to make driving less complicated, and perhaps only part of Trinity need be reduced to two lanes.)  
It might help if those opposing these changes could give examples of where communities were hurt by such changes.  
In a recent letter, Victor Gavron said MIG consultants only had one example of four to two lanes and quoted Joel Williams as saying even that didn’t work.  Can this be all there is?
Do we really believe that our traffic people thought up their design without other successes to rely on?  
Both sides need to do some additional homework.
I’m told there are many examples out there to study.
So for now, let’s save opinions for cocktail parties and the like and reserve our letters for documented information both pro and con.  
Los Alamos is a great place seeking to improve further.  We deserve additional examples of how these changes could help us or do us harm.  
Homework folks...

Chick  Keller
Los Alamos