New Jersey Traffic Retribution Scandal Tough for Houstonians to Understand

Categories: Traffic

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Photo by TexasDarkHorse via Flickr
Imagine fighting for your political life over this.
If you've never been to the northeast, particularly if you've never driven on their highways, it is probably tough for you to understand the scandal facing Governor Chris Christie and his staff right now in New Jersey. How could a pair of lane closures be that significant of a problem that it would represent a form of political retribution?

A little background first. Christie, the popular and bombastic Republican governor of largely Democratic New Jersey, is widely considered to be a possible GOP candidate for President in the next election. He's ruffled feathers on both sides of the political aisle, but the people of the Garden State seem to love him. Most importantly, it was thought he was a guy who didn't really do political scandal. He might disagree, but he'd do so publicly.

But, when the Associated Press dug up e-mails sent by a top Christie aide suggesting as payback for the mayor of Fort Lee not backing Christie in the election, a couple lanes of the freeway should be shut down to increase traffic, that perception has rapidly changed. Now, on to the traffic problem.

Here in Houston, we have an abundance of highways and options for getting around traffic. For any given location, there are probably 10 different routes that will get us there. It's why traffic is almost never a problem for Astros and Rockets games because there are so many ways in and out of downtown.

Sure, traffic during rush hour is tough with so many people trying to either get into or leave business areas like downtown, the Galleria or the Medical Center. But, imagine if there was just one business center and only a single point of access to it. Consider what would happen if the entire population of Houston lived in the Woodlands and the only access road into downtown Houston was Interstate 45. That's the problem facing New Jersey.

With its proximity to New York City, there are thousands of people every day that must pass through a choked artery to get to the George Washington Bridge. To make matters more complicated, virtually every road in the area is part of the New Jersey Turnpike, which is a toll road -- every time I drive through that state, I am reminded how much it costs just to drive your car there.

A few years ago, I drove a car into Manhattan at 5 or 6 p.m. on a Friday evening through the Lincoln Tunnel. At the entrance of the tunnel, something like 50 lanes converged into about four (it was probably more like 12 down to six, but you get the idea). Just getting into the tunnel took probably 20 minutes. Everywhere at almost every time in and around New York City, it's the same. It's like the West Loop only angrier and making less sense.

So, the next time you are cursing our traffic and considering taking an alternate route, imagine that, in New Jersey, the closing of two lanes of traffic is so bad, it represents a scandal that could have widespread political ramifications for the governors office. Our traffic blows, but it's not normally scandal worthy.


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6 comments
MelADavis
MelADavis

Or maybe this just isn't national news. Also, I kinda prefer to hear about my Presidential candidate scandals like I prefer to see Christmas advertisements...after Thanksgiving (2015 for the former).

Sterling Meeks
Sterling Meeks

READ the article? No way! Reacting to vague and/or misleading headlines is the Lamebook DWEEB way of "reasoning." LuLz.

Matthew Ashton
Matthew Ashton

Yeah, i read the article, thought the comment in the post was a little naive.

Trillian Ninetysix
Trillian Ninetysix

Oh, come on. As Steven Colbert observed, it's really not that complex. I don't have to use the GW bridge every day to understand the "complicated and abstracts concepts of revenge and traffic." If you think your readership has an average IQ somewhere in the 80s and your writing reflects that, no doubt your prophecy will eventually come true.

Noelle A. Perry
Noelle A. Perry

you should probably read the article. they go on to demonstrate why they agree with you.

Matthew Ashton
Matthew Ashton

Umm. Not hard to believe in the political world. More than a "traffic scandal"... More like potential abuse of power to punish someone for not endorsing your campaign. Also, someone died in an ambulance that was unnecessary stuck in that traffic. Just sayin.

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