Tuesday, May 16, 2006

In The Eye of The Beholder

I was somewhat mystified by this recent Indy Star article, that featured widespread complaints about heavy truck traffic on I-465.

I find that I-465 traffic is actually fairly pleasant, especially when compared with Chicago, or with Cleveland, where I spent many years on the highways. In my work as a Right-of-Way Agent and as a statewide candidate, I am driving I-465 virtually every day, at virtually any time of day. Sure- rush hours can be rough, but at least things generally keep moving.

Besides, the heavy truck traffic is very positive in a symbolic way. The trucks represent thousands of logistics jobs located in Indiana. You can't have those jobs without the trucks. From the Star report:
Capitalizing on the city's central location, as well as FedEx overnight service, manufacturers and distributors have filled about 16.5 million square feet of new distribution space since 2002. Projections call for at least 2 million additional square feet to open this year, reports Colliers Turley Martin Tucker, an Indianapolis real estate firm.

The new construction would bring the total volume of distribution and industrial space under roof in metropolitan Indianapolis to 217 million square feet -- a 9 percent gain since 2002.

That 9 percent equals the space in 20 buildings the size of Downtown's tallest skyscraper, 48-story Chase Tower, which contains 905,188 square feet.

FedEx officials say their 600,000-square-foot addition will increase traffic flow only a trickle, by about 25 trucks daily.

However, the sheer accumulation of warehouse space across the region has driven up truck traffic.

Empty roads are more convenient to drive, but represent a lack of economic activity, let alone growth. As for me, I'll smile today when behind a semi-trailer.

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