Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Rusty asks: Maybe you have written about this and I missed it, but I have noticed these concrete barriers everywhere. They block out most of the scenery that used to be the most enjoyable part of driving cross-country. I am convinced the gov’t began do this some years ago knowing there had to be barriers to protect oncoming traffic from their “scheduled” replacement of IC powered autos with electric – and in particular with driverless vehicles, especially commercial transport vehicles.
My reply: I agree with you that the barriers are part of the general uglification of the countryside. The reason for their being there, though, is (primarily) noise abatement and – secondarily – to restrict physical access to the highway.
Suburban developments are often built right up to the highway’s edge in may areas; some of these also preceded the highway’s building – and the barriers go up to make post-highway existence bearable for the residents.
Personally, I object to the barriers less than I do the ugly (and homogenous) faux parapet look of every strip mall. Parachute into alms any given American suburb built over the past 30 years and you’ll be hard-pressed to tell whether it’s in New Jersey or Van Nuys… .
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