In the midst of their mind-numbing fiscal irresponsibility and all the jubilation among the mayor and his city council rubber stamps over the proliferation of roundabouts, the erection of Lego-like sculptures, various sellouts to businesses, miles of new bike paths, construction of numerous apartment cliff dwellings, the entry of the city into the private hotel market, ice skating arenas and the close-but-no-cigar attempt to fund the purchase of a city center carousel in Carmel, one important issue seems to have been lost on the mayor and his henchpeople. It’s the simple and irrefutable truth that congestion diminishes the quality of life of those who have to endure it – in other words, everybody who lives and works in Carmel.
Congestion takes the form of greater traffic density, parking shortages, greater competition for services and resources, longer wait times, more crime, coyotes roaming residential neighborhoods and just too many people. Roundabouts may better handle traffic, but they also attract it more of it, thereby causing more, not less, congestion. High-density housing increases congestion. More businesses increase congestion. And, contrary to the misdirection and prevarication of its advocates, mass transit increases congestion because it significantly diminishes the flow of traffic of the many who pay for it to accommodate the few who use it.
Congestion is the consequence of the mayor’s misdirected growth-at-any-cost policies. It steals our time; it steals our money; it increases aggressive tendencies; it causes personal stress; it increases the likelihood of altercations; it reduces our choices; it just makes life more difficult and thereby reduces its quality.
Anyone who has lived in Carmel for more than a couple of years has noticed the significant increase in congestion. And this is only the start. If the mayor continues to get his way with his congestion-causing initiatives, it may not be an overstatement to say that Carmel may, right now, be seeing its best days, soon to be followed by worse. Carmel’s citizens are like the proverbial frog being slowly boiled. That is, it feels just fine right now to be enjoying the “warmth” of all the new amenities that the mayor is purchasing with our financial future, but someone needs to ask what consequences come with these amenities and at what point will we frogs really experience the heat.
Bob Sheipe, Carmel