ESLC Statement on a New Auto-oriented Chesapeake Bay Bridge Crossing:
“Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) is strongly opposed to any new auto-oriented Chesapeake Bay Bridge crossing and instead favors a suite of pragmatic traffic mitigation measures to immediately lessen congestion and improve public safety.
Immediate mitigation efforts that can be put in place and have an impact this year could include high-speed tolling, congestion pricing, expanded intra-regional bus networks, and significant investment in teleworking policies for state and federal commuters. (For more options, check out: Where are the Eastern Shore’s Roads Taking Us? An Exploration of Cross-Bay Travel Demand Management and Regional Transportation-Land Use Solutions (2009).)
While there are certainly benefits that have come to residents of both sides of the Bay, the current side-by-side Bay Bridge spans have led to intense housing sprawl and thousands of acres of habitat, farmland, and sensitive landscapes being permanently lost to development. Any new bridge crossing location could also dramatically affect the working landscapes, ecological balance, and overall rural character of the region.
With an emphasis on safety and immediate congestion mitigation, ESLC calls for a more future-oriented and cost-sensitive approach to transportation planning – specifically one that: 1) makes the most out of the existing infrastructure; 2) encourages transformational improvements in transit; and 3) considers the future consequences of new transportation investment on the communities, landscape, and climate vulnerabilities of the Eastern Shore.”