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Policy Analysis

Essay by   •  February 13, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  2,177 Words (9 Pages)  •  1,601 Views

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Executive Summary

The city of East Wallingford, a rapidly growing community of 45,000 people has been plagued by chronic traffic congestion which brings average trip times during peak hours far below State standards for the community of this size. The officials of the city are seeking to solve this problem and have asked for assistance from the Community Transportation Planning Division of the State Department of Transportation.

Considering the situation this policy analysis paper is aiming to asses the possible alternatives to the ineffective current transportation policy in East Wallingford. Federal money is available for implementing four alternative transportation policies: constructing a Southern or a Northern Bypass, widening central Streets of the town or implementing Bus/Perimeter parking system.

The cost-benefit analysis concerning monetary costs as well as possible impact on society and environment of every alternative has been made in the following paper, which provided the analysis with a set of cost-benefit ratios which were taken into consideration when recommending the East of Wallingford to choose a particular policy. However, considering additional economical factors as well as possible influence to the society and the environment of the town in the long term, not only the lowest cost per mile, according to all calculations the most expensive policy - Bus/Perimeter Parking system - finally has been recommended to implement.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. Problem Description 4

II. Environment 4

III. Current Policy Description. Current Policy Effectiveness and Efficiency 5

IV. Policy Alternatives 6

Benefits 6

Costs 7

V. Summary Comparison of Policy Options 11

I. Problem Description

The aim of this policy analysis paper is to render assistance to the City Manager of East Wallingford in assessing the transportation needs of the city and to make the appropriate recommendations for the state actions in this area. The problem that this town is facing has been already clearly defined by the officials of the city - the community of the town is being plagued by chronic traffic congestion. As well as this definition has already eliminated the difficulties of the problem defining stage of the policy analysis process we can proceed further to the description of the environment of the problem.

II. Environment

Starting with the social environment it should be noted that the only data concerning this point that is available is that the city of East Wallingford is a growing community of 45,000 people. Physically the town is divided into three districts - mainly urban area in the south, the area of undeveloped streams and woodlands in the north and the central business district located in between these two latter areas.

The lack of data follows the economic environment. The only information available is overlapping with the information indicating the physical environment of the town - that the biggest part of East Wallingford's business is located in the central business district between South and North areas. However, there are no available facts about the content and vitality of East Wallingford's society's economic life, the type of industry and commerce, the relative wealth or poverty, the unemployment rate, the rate of economic growth, etc.

Talking about the political environment it should be noted that the city officials are willing to solve the problem of traffic congestion and due to this the City Manager has made a request for assistance from the Community Transportation Planning Division of the State Department of Transportation (SDOT). However, some objections should be also taken into consideration. First of all, there are the local business people interest groups who are striving to avoid any policy alternative which could possibly disrupt their trade or take away the valuable parking spaces in front of their stores. There are also local environmental groups which are interested in preserving the undeveloped streams and woodlands above East Wallingford and are arguing vociferously against any project which would cut through the undeveloped area.

III. Current Policy Description. Current Policy Effectiveness and Efficiency

According to the Preliminary Problem Analysis prepared by the Junior Policy Analyst of the Community Transportation Planning Division of SDOT M. Ubahn at the moment East Wallingford is served by two state highways. Route 146 (Nottingham Road), a north-south arterial, passes through the western side of the city. Route 9, an east-west arterial, passes through the center of East Wallingford, and connects to Route 146, which is its Western terminus. In the central business district, Route 9 is actually divided for 1.5 miles to allow for one way traffic flows. Route 9E is known as State Street; Route 9W is known as Main Street. Three miles south of the central business district on Route 146 is an interchange for Interstate 59.

Traffic flows are unacceptably heavy on Route 146 and on Main (Route 9W) and State (Route 9E) Streets. During peak travel hours (7:30 AM to 9:30 AM and 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM), average trip times are far below State standards for a community of this size. Trips between point A and point B in either direction, a distance of 4.5 miles, require 30 minutes on average.

City officials want average trip time in this corridor to be reduced to 15 minutes. While this seems to be a reasonable goal, application of SDOT standards in this case suggests it should be seen as a target, rather than as an absolute cutoff.

IV. Policy Alternatives

Having analyzed the traffic situation in East Wallingford and knowing what the town officials are seeking for, now we should consider the possible alternatives for the current traffic policy of the city.

As well as the problem of the traffic congestion is evident and undoubtedly requires a solution in this case a possible no-action alternative is clearly inappropriate. Due to this further we will be considering four possible alternative policies:

Option A: Constructing a Southern Bypass (Southway).

Option

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