More lanes for I-94 not the answer [UPDATED]Published 10:56am Thursday, October 17, 2013 Updated 12:59pm Thursday, October 17, 2013
Anyone who has traveled southeast to the Twin Cities on a summer Sunday evening or northwest on a Friday night knows that there is a lot more traffic on Interstate 94 than the highway can support. Commuters who drive between St. Cloud and the metropolitan area have it even worse, battling bad traffic twice a day. There has been a lot of talk the past couple of years about adding lanes to the Interstate in that stretch, but we were glad to see that most experts agree with us that more lanes would not ease congestion.
Traffic planners have widened highways in the metro area repeatedly during the past several decades. But those who are forced to drive to or through the Twin Cities still frequently get stuck in bad traffic. It seems as if a new lane is just an invitation for more cars to clog the roads. It doesn’t take an engineering background to guess that the same thing would happen if lanes were added southeast of St. Cloud.
There are many solutions which would be better, ranging from more rail transit to carpool lanes and toll lanes. Any of those plans, which provide an incentive to share rides or use mass transit, would be preferable to simply inviting more traffic to share the road.
Those who live in our neck of the prairie are fortunate because we don’t have to face commuter congestion every day. But most rural residents make enough trips to the metropolitan area that some solution to Interstate 94 congestion seems like a good idea. The answer, however, needs to be one that will work rather than simply provide a temporary fix.