I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Getting to the Best Solution Part III: What's a Hobson's Choice?

"You can pick any horse in the barn, as long as you select this one" Thomas Hobson (1544-1631)

A Hobson's choice is a false choice.  It is an illusion of choice with only one real choice being offered.

The term Hobson's choice is derived from the legend of  stable owner Thomas Hobson of Cambridge, England, from the 16th century.

Hobson was known far and wide as the stable owner that had 40 stalls; he had a large selection of horses from which purchasers could compare and choose.

Once prospective buyers came to Hobson's stable, however, the "choice" was actually limited to the horse in the stall nearest the door to the stable.  "You can choose between any horse in the stable, so long as you select this one!" Hobson would exclaim.  So the  assortment of possible choices really, in actuality, never existed.  Thus the term "Hobson's choice" was born.

So when I am looking at a list of potential solutions for rapid deployment to address acute and pressing traffic issues locally on 9-mile road that have been listed as FEDERAL DOT options for local selection and implementation--I see a sort of Hobson's Choice scenario developing.  Here are the four options (and my interpretation of what they really mean):

  1. Navy Federal Credit Union would donate Navy Federal Drive to become a public road.  Connect this road with a new I-10 interstate access.  This option may require a collector/distributor lane with the eastbound traffic from the welcome center and the Nine Mile Road interchange. (translation--no egress out of the welcome center will ever be permitted by the feds ever, no matter what, we do not have a decider at the federal level who will look at this as a rational option--no matter what.  Although this option kind of sounds like that, and this option is intentionally, vaguely worded to kind of sound like it might allow a back exit out of the welcome center---- this is not that. No way, never. This is actually a no to the back exit out of the welcome center and a "yes" to a 9-10 year project to build a brand new I-10 interchange between the visitors center and exit 5, complete with a new westbound access, overpass over the freeway, and service access roads on both sides of the freeway, east and west, and oh, by the way, this would be incredibly expensive and would jeopardize the most important project in Escambia County right now, the Beulah Interchange at I-10 at Isaccs Lane.  Not a realistic option)

  1. Constructing a new roadway between the West End of the NFCU facility and Frank Reeder Road, and constructing a new interchange with I-10 at the Beulah Road area. The construction of the new roadway will provide NFCU access to the new I-10 interchange through Frank Reeder Road and Beulah Road.  This will provide NFCU access to the west, north, west and east in the area.(translation--you can build a brand new interchange where you are already planning to build one in the next 7 years--but you can't just do a temporary eastbound onramp only for now-- to help alleviate the congestion for NFCU employees trying to get out--nope the full interchange would have to be built no, this is not really an option to help us in the short run...)

  1. Constructing a left exit flyover from Navy Federal Way onto Nine Mile Road to improve access from NFCU to the Nine Mile Road and I-10 existing interchange.(translation-at a cost of nearly $70 Million dollars,  a minimum of 48 months of ADDITIONAL planning and construction,  more traffic delays and congestion for years to come at the critical 1/2 mile west of 9-mile road leading to the I-10 exit 5 onramp,  tremendous challenges to south of 9-mile road property developers desperately seeking access points on 9-mile road, and to residential neighbors [Nature Trail] that will now be looking at a 25' high overpass over their recently constructed 15' noise barrier walls---this is the Hobson's Choice.  This is the Horse closest to the door.  This is the one option that will not require FHWA to review, it can be handled by FDOT exclusively from start to finish, and even though it will be expensive, onerous, and will devour a huge portion of private land south of 9-mile road--- this is the choice the FEDS want us to make locally---- in my opinion.  I'm not sold on this horse, even if it is closest to the door....)

  1. Intersection operational improvements along Nine Mile Road (i.e. signal timing, roundabouts, turn lanes) and making general improvements to the on and off ramps at the Nine Mile Road and I-10 existing interchange to meet vehicular demand.(translation--not a realistic solution to any measurable degree, will not do anything to help with the congestion at shift-change at 9-mile road, probably added to list to ensure at least 4 choices were given--but this nebulous, opaque list of ideas is not a solution that will benefit the area at all.  Not a good, realistic option that does anything at all to help)


Anonymous said...

Park and ride? Car Pool, ECAT? Mass Transit..Sounds like a mess. And more growth is planned with the OLF too isn't it? Well at least you seemed to have arrived to a conclusion.

Jeff Bergosh said...

There will be a conference call today with officials from the Federal DOT, State DOT, Re. Gaetz's Office, officials from NFCU, the county, and myself. I believe the option to exit out the back of NFCU is, indeed, being disallowed by the Federal Highway Administration. I don't think they would ever even consider it, nor have they ever seriously considered it. Thus, my original viewpoint "We Need a Decider" remains valid. The administrative, deep state is strong and they are saying no to this potential solution. They are saying flatly, "NO!"