GRE Argument Essay 136
The following appeared in a Letter to the Editor of the Shady Village newspaper.
“Commuters are complaining that the rush hour traffic on Blue Highway between Shady Village and Bright City has doubled their commuting time. Some commuters have asked that an additional traffic lane be built, but the recent creation of such a lane on nearby Green Highway apparently attracted more commuters, judging from the fact that rush-hour traffic jams actually increased there this past winter. To reduce rush-hour traffic on Blue Highway, a bicycle lane should be added instead of a traffic lane. This approach will succeed because many citizens of Shady Village are avid bicyclists; 75 percent of respondents to a recent questionnaire distributed there said they would like to bicycle more hours per week than they currently do.”
The writer of the letter to the editor suggests that in order to reduce the commuting time on Blue Highway a bicycle lane should be added instead of another traffic lane. This will help, according to him, because many citizens of Shady Village are keen on bicycling. Moreover, in response to a questionnaire, most of the citizens confirmed that they would like to bicycle more than they do. However, the writer is not able to give a convincing reason for his suggestion. There are many other factors, which need to be considered before taking the decision which point towards a different direction than that suggested by the writer.
The traffic on a highway depends upon the places it connects as well as the convenience it offers. The rush of two different highways cannot be compared since both the highways offer connectivity to different places. The writer says that adding an additional traffic lane on Green Highway increased the traffic on it in the past winters. However, this may not be the case with Blue Highway. Firstly, the traffic experienced by both the highways is different. Therefore, the rush hour traffic on both highways should be treated independently. Adding another traffic lane is one of the good options for solving the problem of too much traffic on the highway and it should definitely be considered. Secondly, increased traffic on Green Highway has been observed only in the past winters. It is likely that this is a temporary change and is due to closure of another highway for some time. There could be some repair work in progress on another route, which has diverted the traffic to Green Highway. It is also likely that in winters other routes become inaccessible due to snow and other such difficulties, due to which the traffic on Green Highway had increase in the last winters. However, Blue Highway may not experience any additional increase in traffic due to an additional traffic lane being built. It is possible that no other routes are closed to divert the traffic towards Blue Highway. Hence, unlike Green Highway the additional traffic lane might prove useful in reducing the rush hour traffic.
Considering that Blue Highway connects the suburbs of Shady Village and Bright City, the traffic on the highway would consist of two-wheelers as well as four-wheelers. The possibility of people using bicycle for commuting through a highway are very bleak. Making a separate bicycle lane would help only if there are too many bicyclists on Blue Highway. However, the argument does not give an idea of the type of traffic that Blue Highway experiences. If there were very few bicyclists commuting through the highway, making a separate bicycle lane would not solve the problem of rush hour traffic. Therefore, before coming to any decision, the composition of traffic on Blue Highway should be studied and accordingly an additional lane should be built.
There is a difference between what people like and what they do. People in Shady Village may be fond of bicycling, however, how often they actually commute using bicycle is the question. It is possible that even if people are enthusiastic about bicycling and they would like to bicycle more hours per week than they currently do, they are not able to do so due to the requirements of their jobs. Bicycles can be used only for short distances. Moreover, it needs time to commute through bicycles, however, if people cannot spare enough time, they will commute through other vehicles. Therefore, forming an additional bicycle lane might be a wrong decision since the circumstances of people might not allow them to use bicycles on Blue Highway, even if they are avid bicyclists.
It is clear by now that the argument is not perceived in the correct light. Therefore, the suggestion it forwards is not practical and a detailed study of the traffic and situation of Blue Highway should be considered before coming to any conclusion.