What you see here is a picture of Highway One in Santa Cruz County, at the Morrissey Avenue Exit, heading towards Watsonville as of 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 10, 2014. That's just a few days ago. The traffic was barely moving.
Well, you might expect something else if you knew that between 2011 and this year the Santa Cruz County Transportation Commission has spent at least $16 million dollars to add "auxiliary lanes" to Highway One, in exactly this location, with the idea being that this expenditure would improve traffic flow. What this picture illustrates is how the highway is operating today, with those auxiliary lanes. The project is now complete.
Remember, the idea was that these new auxiliary traffic lanes would relieve traffic congestion. How do you think we are doing with that?
So, do you want to widen the highway? You can spend a lot of money. You can cause a lot of air pollution. You can increase the amount of gasoline consumed. But if you want to relieve traffic congestion, highway widening is not going to be your best route to success. The phenomenon of induced demand means that the post-widening traffic congestion will be just the same as traffic congestion before the widening, but with more cars caught in the jam.
In other words, the Highway One Auxiliary Lanes project is working exactly as predicted!