Cities are learning the lessons of the 20th century and removing urban freeways. Building more roads is not the answer, as it actually makes traffic worse (more here, here, here, here and here). The website for the project claims that the main objective is to:
- Segregate between bypass traffic and local traffic flow.
- Increase the Jamal Abdul Nasser Highway capacity thereby minimizing traffic congestion & reducing accidents.
- Meet future traffic demands.
- Improve road facilities and services.
- Improve road safety standards.
It’s clear that the intention is to ‘reduce traffic congestion’. Let’s disregard the cost for now (at least 242.4 Million KD) and focus on the aim of the project which is to link the west of Kuwait with Kuwait City by bypassing the existing roads and simply driving over them to reach the First Ring Road. Let’s assume that the 3 to 4 lane elevated highway absorbs enough traffic to justify the cost of it being built. What would happen then? The huge traffic flow would pour into the First Ring Road and into those tiny overpasses and underpasses, lining up into the exits waiting for the traffic lights. Let’s assume that merging into those smaller lanes will happen magically and smoothly every morning and the traffic light is always green. What’s next? The enormous number of cars flowing through First Ring Road and into the city have to reach their destination. Most buildings don’t have on-site parking. Parking structures are already packed. Most streets are too narrow. Double parking turns a two lane street into a one way game of chicken. Now picture the same but with even more cars. Imagine a doctor with an obese patient that has clogged arteries, intensely elevated blood pressure and failing organs. Instead of treating him to fix those serious, life threatening issues, the doctor decides to install new arteries to bridge between his heart to his lungs (at a cost of at least 242.4 Million KD). It works fine, the blood flows nicely through the new bridge, everything is working great. But the patient is still obese, with clogged arteries and intensely elevated blood pressure and now he needs to find 242.2 million KD to pay for the operation. The solution is not more highways over highways. The city is already choking but our only plan is to stuff more into it. We must have an alternative to roads and driving. Without the Metro nothing will get fixed no matter how much money we burn.
Edit: Just to be clear, the solution isn’t just building the Metro and calling it a day. Here’s what i’d like do.