Dan Weintraub in The Sacramento Bee is on to something here.
Which begs that question again: If we are doing such a good job getting by without the freeway for a week, couldn't we do it for a month, or a year?
What if interstate traffic were routed around the city, and the existing freeway were turned into a four-lane boulevard similar to San Francisco's Embarcadero?
Zhang laughed nervously at the thought of such a change. He didn't think it was a serious question.
"I-5 is like one of the wheels of your car," he said. Without it, you might manage to limp toward your destination or find another ride to get where you are going. But for the long term, in his view, you couldn't get by that way.
"I don't think that's a good idea," he said.
Maybe he's right. But the Big Fix of Interstate 5 has given us what might be our last best chance to wonder: Why not?
I don't think there's any question that Zhang, an engineering professor, is wrong on this one. People with no other choice but to commute by car (such as myself) would be willing to put up with a little inconvenience (like we did last week, and survived), and people who work downtown would finally have an incentive to use the public transit system that, while not perfect, served me perfectly well for close to a decade when I worked downtown. And who knows what impact moving I-5 would have on the prolbematic area around Old Sacramento and the Capitol Mall? California's Capital City could finally have an urban area of which it could be unblinkingly proud.
I'm with Weintraub on this one. Why not? Let's give it a try.