January 22, 2013

Another New York area idea: Secret highways for the genteel

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, I took numerous East Coast business trips involving flying in and out of La Guardia or JFK and driving to visit offices in suburban New Jersey, suburban Connecticut, and Waltham outside of Boston. The most grueling portion of the trip tended to be driving I-95 along the coast of Connecticut, with all the 18-wheelers and the potholes they cause.

Because I'm a complete hick from the sticks, it was only a few years ago that I finally was apprised of the existence of an alternative to I-95 for driving from Manhattan into the best places in Connecticut. On a cross-country road trip, I was gearing up for what I was sure would be a stressful, spine-jarring drive from Manhattan out past La Guardia to my wife's aunt's house in the classy suburb of Trumbull, CT. But then our hostess called with detailed instructions on the Easy Route. 

I was baffled by the notion that such a thing as an easy route could exist in the Greater New York area, and at first insisted we just take I-95 like I'd always done. Yet, sure enough, taking the West Side highway, then various parkways through Westchester County, and on to the Merritt Parkway in Connecticut turned out to be a lovely experience. 

Opened in 1938, the four lane Merritt Parkway runs parallel to I-95 a few miles inland through deep forests. Trucks are banned, so the road surface is perfect. Speed limits are never higher than 55, so the route is avoided by the young or aggressive. 

It's like freeway travel was envisioned in the Futurama display at the 1939 World's Fair. It's the only highway I've ever been on that felt like it should have a dress code: Gentlemen should wear coats, ties, and homburg hats, while ladies would accessorize with a simple string of pearls, but nothing excessive. It's the physical embodiment of the secret message of Mad Men: Our parents had it better.

58 comments:

Luke Lea said...

The Natchez Parkway is similar. I never knew the Merrit was supposed to be a secret.

Derek Brown said...

I think that's the message of SNL's drunk uncle too. He's with you on the wear a tie while driving as well.

Anonymous said...

And the Saw Mill Parkway too.

Five Daarstens said...

There was an episode of The Simpsons where he joins a fraternal organization called the Stonecutters and has access to a secret highway for commuting:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homer_the_Great



JeremiahJohnbalaya said...

My mother an I were routed around the I95 nightmare (including the DC and NY/NJ messes) on a recent trip from the South to New England. There were a few interesting parts but the one that really sticks out was the Taconic State Parkway. Don't remember any dress codes, but it sounds/looks a bit like what you've described.

Anonymous said...

I love the picture you paint with these words:

" It's the only highway I've ever been on that felt like it should have a dress code: Gentlemen should wear coats, ties, and homburg hats, while ladies would want to accessorize with a simple string of pearls, but nothing excessive."


This does remind me, Steve , of a time when journeying long and uncomfortable distances by car didn't make a husband, his wife, and young child dress down.

About once a year in the mid to late Fifties (whenever Disneyland opened), we traveled south on US 99through the San Joaquin Valley at a time when 99 still went through Valley towns, some with one stoplight, others with a few more.

After passing Bakersfield, I anxiously awaited any radiator problems that we might encounter going over the Grapevine, heaved a huge sign when my mother asked if the Fairlane was doing okay and Dad said, "Yeah, why not?" and fearfully watched for any big rigs that had to use the emergency ramps built for those that had lost their brake pressure.

We left at an un-Godly early time in the morning to beat the heat in our un-airconditioned car, and I do recall my father and mother dressing up, by today's standards, with Dad in a nice sport jacket, a nice shirt open at the neck, nice slacks, Mom, in a dress and short heels, and I in a pastel, feminine dress.

We traveled 8 or 9 hours, counting bathroom and eating stops, and if hot enough, stops at stations that had coolers with root beer, arriving at some small motel with a swimming pool in either Anaheim or Buena Park (Knotts' Berry Farm was on the itinerary), and each time we went out, we looked downright classy compared to the way folks dress today.

I miss a great deal about those times.

Gringo said...

Definitely a pleasant rode to drive. But after driving through NYC, even the New Jersey Turnpike is a pleasant rode to drive. At least that was my reaction after driving a rental truck through NYC's plastic-coned freeways.

DaveinHackensack said...

The Merritt Parkway is a nice alternative to I-95 for getting to parts of CT. For those going to Boston from points west or south of New York, another trick to avoid I-95 is to get on State Rt. 17 or the Garden State Parkway in NJ from I-80 (a few miles before it ends and turns into I-95), and take one of those highways north to the New York State Thruway, and then take that north up to I-90 and take that east to Boston.

Also, although I-95 north of Manhattan is generally awful, the worst time of the week to drive it is Sunday afternoon and night. Lots of truck traffic at those times.

I was going to add a note here saying that the highway on the west side of Manhattan is called the West Side Highway, not the Upper West Side Highway, so I checked the Wikipedia page for it first, which says that it's called the Henry Hudson above 72nd Street and the West Side Highway below, though officially it's the Joe DiMaggio Highway. Everyone I know has always referred to the highway below the George Washington Bridge as the West Side Highway (except down near the World Trade Center site, where it's called West Street). A little confusing.

Anonymous said...

Parking's a bitch, but driving around Manhattan and NYC can be pretty fun, zooming around the West Side Highway and FDR Drive, the highway on the east side of Manhattan along the East River.

Anonymous said...

"Speed limits are never higher than 55, so the route is avoided by the young or aggressive."

I take this highway all the time between New York and Boston, and it is indeed excellent. However, I chuckled at the above statement because it is the opposite of the truth: I would say there is more speeding here than on any other road in the Northeast. The traffic often moves at 80 mph, and even at that speed there are still occasional cars that zoom by. While the speed limits are low as you say, this road is most remarkable in the fact that there is virtually no speeding enforcement (probably due to guard rails on either side of the highway for most of its length, which eliminate places for the police to sit).

agnostic said...

Coat, shirt, and optional tie seems like laying it on a bit thick for a highway drive.

Try out jeans and polo shirt, slim cut zippered jacket, and running shoes. Looks carefree yet still stylin' and profilin' -- just ask this ultimate road-tripper:

Road trip in style

Harry Baldwin said...

Having lived in Connecticut (CT, Steve, not CN) all my life, I regard the Merritt Parkway as one of our perks.

I have to correct your geography: if you're driving from Manhattan to Trumbull, CT, La Guardia airport should not be along the route. That is in Queens, on Long Island.

The great thing about the Merritt and the Wilbur Cross Parkway with which it connects in Milford is that they're landscaped in such a way that in the leafy times of the year you'd think you were driving through uninterrupted forest, while in the winter you see all the houses that are within 100 feet of the road.

DaveinHackensack said...

"Parking's a bitch, but driving around Manhattan and NYC can be pretty fun, zooming around the West Side Highway and FDR Drive, the highway on the east side of Manhattan along the East River."

Downtown on weeknights, you can get pretty lucky with parking. At least I do. A friend in town from California met a few of us for dinner at a little French place in SoHo last week. I parked on the street literally in front of the restaurant's door. It was after 7pm, and parking was free. That's not terribly uncommon for me. I guess a lot of folks figure there won't be any parking so they don't drive in.

Kenneth A. Regas said...

Steve, our parents didn't have it better. They simply behaved better. I was born in1951 and remember 1950's culture fondly.

Ken

Ray Sawhill said...

The Taconic Parkway (going north to the east of the Hudson) is a pretty, old-fashioned drive too.

Auntie Analogue said...


I've many memories of many Merritt Parkway drives, and many memories of white-knuckled, sweaty-palmed drives to and from Connecticut on the brutal I-95, the road that strongly suggests that a great many Massachusetts drivers had to have learned to pilot their cars in what must have been kamikaze school.

The worst part of the I-95 route comes right after leaving the George Washington Bridge: the Cross Bronx Expressway, sunk in perpetual shadow between high masonry retaining walls and beneath bridges connecting the Bronx street grid above, gained, as early as the mid-1960's, a frightful reputation as a graveyard for cars that broke down and were promptly stripped to their unibody skeletons by teams of skilled thieves.

The Merritt Parkway's hilly course is divided by a well-groomed grass median whose swooping elliptical outlines moved my uncle to comment that the view of upcoming uphill median contours reminded him of "bow-legged women."

In winter the Merritt Parkway is fairly bleak - nothing but the brown of dead grass verges and median and the monotony of grey-barked leafless deciduous trees; the only relief from this visual aridity is afforded by huddled stands of shivering green pines. In spring and summer the drive is a delight of blossoms and plumes of greenery, and in autumn the Parkway's turns to full glory, blazing in claret, orange, yellow, and scarlet.

Yes, in the 1950's, and well into the 1960's, for drives to visit Connecticut relatives we dressed smartly. For that matter, for all visiting and touring drives my Mom & Dad insisted that we dress up, starched and pressed and as neat as a pin or as dainty as a lace hankie. Men, women, and girls wore hats, and women and girls wore gloves. At some recent point along the so-called Road of Progress, our civilization seems to have taken a wrong turn into a place of such casual conformist bleakness that manages to have even less appeal than the dystopia depicted in 'A Clockwork Orange.'

Anonymous said...

Rock Creek Parkway leading out of DC is similarly beautiful and hassle-free.

Anonymous said...

I can't think why anyone associated w/ iSteve would be in on the secrets of the genteel.

Anonymous said...

Downtown on weeknights, you can get pretty lucky with parking.

True. I was thinking of the more busy times during the day. But you're right, parking can be quite available at night. Manhattan streets can be quite empty at night and it's fun to drive around then. Manhattan's easier to drive around in than people think. The highways along the rivers, and the grid pattern make it easy. And you can get to the Jersey, Conn., Westchester suburbs real quick when traffic's not bad.

Reg C├Žsar said...

Shepard and Warner Roads perform the same function alongside the Mississippi for the savvier denizens of Pig's Eye. (Hey, I'm not in any hurry to broadcast the location of my own secret route!) They let you skirt downtown with minimal traffic and, thanks to a bitter neighborhood councilman, the limit is 5mph above that of the parallel Interstate. The latter is nicely landscaped, but nowhere near as fun as the forest, river, tugs, barges, houseboats and 200-car trains you see on the alternative.

My guess is that while these roads aren't that hard to get to, it's mighty difficult to explain to folks how to get to them. So no one ever does, and we locals can enjoy our little secret superhighway.

Anonymous said...

Here in the Bay Area the closest analog would be I-280 which runs parallel to US 101 between San Francisco and San Jose. The former runs through the peninsula foothills and is much nicer and usually less trafficked than the latter.

Anonymous said...

Robert Carro wrote a book about Robert Moses and how these highways came about.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Caro#The_Power_Broker

The Southern State Parkway on Long Island, NY is one such Robert Moses creation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_State_Parkway

The bridges across the parkway were made low to prevent the buses (from New York City) traveling to Long Island. Basically you needed to own a car to go, which meant most blacks, immigrants, and poor whites were not invited.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b1/Southern_State_Parkway_at_41N.jpg/330px-Southern_State_Parkway_at_41N.jpg

Anonymous said...

I was watching a few aircraft videos on youtube, a couple were shot at airshows. The difference between the 1950s, early 60s and now is striking. The planes are essentially the same in some cases but the state of the crowds - oh dear.

Anonymous said...

I looked at the pic Agnostic, I hope you were being ironic. That represents the problem, not the solution.

elvisd said...

The Natchez Parkway is similar. I never knew the Merrit was supposed to be a secret.

The Natchez Trace is awesome. I bicycled 200 miles of it and had a wonderful, peaceful time.

Anonymous said...

Okay, surprised no one has mentioned this, but the suburban parkways are either the work of Robert Moses, or his direct heirs and imitators.

I'm more familiar with the parkways of Long Island, but those were designed with low overpasses to prevent bus traffic from bringing undesirables out to his nice state parks. Were there any telltale stone arches with low-ish clearances on the Merritt, Steve? Something you wouldn't want to drive a Ryder truck through for fear of scraping the roof?

--Discordiax.

WMarkW said...

Favorite way around (in the sense of avoid) NYC: Palisades Parkway to Bear Mountain Bridge to Taconic Parkway. It's like floating downstream.

ironrailsironweights said...

During rush hour traffic on the Merritt can be just as slow as on I-95.

Peter

Tank said...

Used to drive the parkways often from Jersey to CT to visit friends on my motorcycle - way nicer than 95.

I could be wrong, but I think the parkways were the original highways and later 95 was built as an "improvement."

Anonymous said...

Auntie, Massachusetts is the major leagues of driving chaos. Most of our roads were originally cowpaths, and the streets have no rhyme or reason. I had a NY friend tell me that I drive like a Brooklyn hack; higher praise I've never received.

Luke Lea said...

US 1 running north from San Francisco along the coast is a beautiful way to get up in that direction. It is very lightly used for reasons I don't understand.

slumber_j said...

Ralph Garder in the WSJ accurately summarized my feelings about the Taconic in 2010:

"The problem with the Taconic—which was championed by Franklin Roosevelt in the 1920s, and whose vision was more noblesse oblige than functional—is that with its undivided two-lane roadway, lack of shoulders, steep ridges, "S" curves, rock outcroppings and what I refer to affectionately as the "Wall of Death," a high retaining wall so close you can almost run your fingers across it, it wasn't built for today's tank-like SUVs, almost as wide as the parkway itself.

"The Taconic's typical initiation rite (beside hitting a deer, which I've somehow managed to avoid all these years) is bouncing off the driver's-side guardrail while overcompensating for the Wall of Death."

I don't drive an SUV, but keep far hence the Taconic, please. Yikes. On the plus side, I suppose it's a pretty place to die.

Garnder's piece is behind the paywall here:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703556604575501911238699670.html

slumber_j said...

The Merritt is indeed beautiful, although my extensive experience of it involves a lot more aggression on the part of the other drivers. People really like to drive 70-75 MPH on that thing.

The true secret route to the northern reaches of CT is the Merritt to Route 8, which I like to think of as America's Porkbarrel Highway--twin ribbons of perfectly-maintained road surface stretching from Bridgeport to Torrington through a lot of really strikingly beautiful countryside, and unsurprisingly bereft of traffic. If you need to get to, say, Naugatuck or Thomaston or one of the other really important minor, dead industrial centers of the Nutmeg State in a really big hurry, "The Ocho" is the road for you. It's like driving in Montana. I've always imagined that some of it was a retirement present to Lowell Weicker, although that's pure speculation.

And you really don't want to try driving a truck on the Merritt. It's gorgeous like a good golf course, but those dozens of unique and architecturally distinctive stone overpasses are pretty unforgiving.

John Mansfield said...

More of Mayor Bloomberg's secret wisdom:

"Opponents of the city's limit on the size of sugary drinks are raising questions of racial fairness alongside other complaints as the novel restriction faces a court test.

"The NAACP's New York state branch and the Hispanic Federation have joined beverage makers and sellers in trying to stop the rule from taking effect March 12."

wtop.com/267/3076253/Is-NYC-soda-ban-racist

Cail Corishev said...

I wonder how much the introduction of GPSs, and to a lesser extent online map services, has affected this. In the olden days, you picked up a map at a gas station, and then figured out for yourself the best way to go. Two people might plan very different routes based on the same map. I don't know how the computers decide on the best route, but presumably everyone going from point A to point B gets the same directions. If there's an alternate route that's almost as good, it seems like it could get neglected and end up being the better choice.

I know I've looked up online directions for my own area, to send to friends from out of town, and they're almost never the shortest or fastest way to go -- the way a local would go. So they seem to be trading shortness and efficiency for other factors, maybe ease of understanding for visitors or some sort of road safety rating. Or maybe they tweak the directions to send people past a fast food joint that sponsors their site, I dunno.

Anonymous said...

I have only tried merging onto the interstate about a dozen times and was almost killed doing so twice.

Anthony said...

Luke - have you ever driven on 1 at night and/or in a fog? I drove from San Simeon to Santa Cruz on highway 1, and while it's really, really pretty, it also takes concentration even on dry, sunny days. It's also hours longer - if I'd had a time constraint, I wouldn't have considered it.

Steve - does L.A. have anything like what you describe?

Anonymous said...

I live in Westport CT. The Merritt isn´t all that great. It gets backed up a lot because it is only two lanes. It really isn´t a secret to anyone in CT so it isn´t that exclusive. It is just lined with trees so it is beautiful. But I-95 leads to more relevant locations.

Anonymous said...

No one uses the Merritt to commute to NYC from Fairfield County. I don´t see anything terribly special about it. CT is just a beautiful state, so you were impressed by the scenery is all.

Dahinda said...

"It's the physical embodiment of the secret message of Mad Men: Our parents had it better." My Dad grew up on a farm in North Dakota during the Depression with no electricity or indoor toilets. Temperatures in North Dakota in the winter can go to 30 degrees below 0. Since with no electricity there was no refrigerator, they would store meat in a well in the summer to keep it cool and on the roof in the winter so wolves would not get it. He moved to Chicago and worked in a potato packing plant then in a steel mill. The steel mill was freezing in the winter and boiling in the summer and had all sorts of things in the air to breathe in (pre OSHA days) from slag dust to sulphuric acid. I grew up in Suburban Chicago and work as a data analyst making much more than my Dad ever did in a warm office. Yes, I guess our parents had it better! (My point is that the narrative that all of the people in the early 60s lived just like the did in Mad Men is just that, a narrative. Certainly not reality!)

Anonymous said...

The best way to avoid the I 95 nightmare is to avoid going to New York!

Gringo said...

Tank
I could be wrong, but I think the parkways were the original highways and later 95 was built as an "improvement."

Correct. The Merritt Parkway was opened in the late 1930s, two decades before the Connecticut Turnpike. The Wilbur Cross Parkway was constructed about the same time as the Merritt. The part of the Turnpike from Greenwich to New Have became I-95.

The Turnpike is no more, though the road constituting the Turnpike remains.

Jim Murray said...

One of the lessons I learned from law enforcement, if you dress well as a driver you will have less trouble talking your way out of a traffic ticket.

Noah172 said...

The greater NY area has many parkways (highways on which trucks are banned). I've been in traffic jams on all of them, including the Merritt on a Friday before Memorial Day (95 was clogged, so cars were diverting to Merritt and side streets in Stamford; it was a nightmare).

The Palisades Interstate Parkway from Fort Lee up to near Bear Mountain in Rockland is pretty and usually not crowded (I got a ticket there going 77 in a 50). The GSP is an artery in need of bypass surgery. The parkways on LI, at least on summer weekends, are hit or miss with beach traffic. The Belt in Brooklyn is a zoo (when I would listen to traffic reports on 1010 WINS, jams on the Belt and BQE were almost daily givens).

Another thing about these parkways: at least weekly, if not almost daily, some dope truckdriver who doesn't know the rules will take his rig onto a parkway, which causes a terrible backup: the overpasses on parkways are made too low for trucks, so the police have to come in and guide the truck off.

candid_observer said...

One of the more charming things about the Merritt Parkway are the roadside gas/food stops, which in their architecture and layout hark back to a previous era.

It might be useful too to point out a terminological distinction worth bearing in mind when preparing a trip in New York and parts of New England: a "parkway" always bans trucks, and an "expressway" does not.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said..."Here in the Bay Area the closest analog would be I-280...runs through the peninsula foothills and is much nicer and usually less trafficked than the latter"

280 is awesome - no trucks, rarely delayed, and only rarely does CHP enforce the speed limit. I got pulled over near the reservoirs about 10 years ago doing 90. The CHP asked me how fast I was going. I asked him where he came onto the freeway (I knew I hadn't passed him) and he told me. I said "I was probably 80 or so until I could get around some folks and then speed up". He agreed and said he clocked me at 90, then asked if I had an emergency. I said "no, I don't really have a good excuse. I was just driving too fast". He seemed to appreciate the honesty or lack of an effort to lie (gee officer, that must have been a different car that looks exactly like mine) so just told me to slow down, complimented me on my use of blinkers while changing lanes, and left without issuing a ticket.

I bought my first house in San Francisco's Noe Valley due to its proximity to 280. I worked South then and which road to commute on was important.

Question for Steve or other CA residents. I suppose I should know having lived in CA for 13 years but for a state that is desperate for revenue, CA freeways are remarkably free of cops hiding in bushes with a radar gun - something you see all the time back East. Are the local cops not allowed to work the freeways? You'd think rinky-dink towns like San Carlos or Foster City would set up speedtraps and pay their bills that way.

Otis McWrong said...

Luke Lea said..."US 1 running north from San Francisco along the coast is a beautiful way to get up in that direction. It is very lightly used for reasons I don't understand."

Because once you get past Sonoma County there isn't much up there unless you're in the lumber or meth/marijuana business. That coast is desolate and unpopulated all the way to central Oregon.

Also its incredibly windy and therefore slow. If you're driving to Oregon or someplace way up North, driving US1 would take forever. If you're going to someplace in the valley (like Redding) you have to cut over the coastal range eventually. I once drove to Redding via US1 (I had plenty of time) and cut over on 299 heading East from Arcata. It went through some of the most rugged and remote terrain you'll find anywhere in the lower 48. People think of the Bay Area as NorCal. It really central CA. It's just everything above it is pretty much empty.

Merrittocrat said...

Contrary to Steve, people do drive fast on the Merritt. In fact, given its hills and twists, they clearly drive like people who know the road by heart. Also, since there is no shoulder, there are rarely any speed traps.

One more great benefits of the Merritt: The bridges, each unlike the other, are beautiful works of architecture.

Anonymous said...

Aged 12, I was driven along that highway many times by an aunt, then in her glamorous mid-thirties and married to a VP of American Express. It was the summer of 1960, and, yes, our parents DID have it better.

James Kabala said...

Today Google Map and Mapquest both recommend the Merritt Parkway as the quickest way to get from Manhattan to Trumbull, so the secret is out.

Anonymous said...

There are still a couple of roads in California that are similar. The 13 (Warren Fwy) through Piedmont and Oakland is stunning, though it's very short and doesn't really go anywhere. The 163 (Cabrillo Fwy) in San Diego is so gorgeous I want to get out and have a picnic every time I go through. It's a wonder CalTrans hasn't ruined it yet.

poolside said...

Steve, have you ever driven east from Houston on I-10? It's like a really bad scene from "Smokey and the Bandit" ... trucks everywhere jamming gears and changing lanes, constant construction and lots of fools going 10-20 miles over the speed limit.

ironrailsironweights said...

The true secret route to the northern reaches of CT is the Merritt to Route 8, which I like to think of as America's Porkbarrel Highway--twin ribbons of perfectly-maintained road surface stretching from Bridgeport to Torrington through a lot of really strikingly beautiful countryside, and unsurprisingly bereft of traffic. If you need to get to, say, Naugatuck or Thomaston or one of the other really important minor, dead industrial centers of the Nutmeg State in a really big hurry, "The Ocho" is the road for you. It's like driving in Montana. I've always imagined that some of it was a retirement present to Lowell Weicker, although that's pure speculation.

When the state was planning to upgrade Route 8 to a limited-access highway in the 1950's, costs were a major worry because the only feasible route would run through a densely populated section of Waterbury (the largest city along the route, and my hometown). Hundreds of residential and commercial buildings would have to be condemned at high cost.

In August 1955, when the highway was still in the planning stages, flooding spawned by Hurricane Diane swept down the Naugatuck River and destroyed pretty much everything in its path. Including, most notably, almost all of the properties that would have had to be condemned for Route 8's construction. Condemnation costs were only a fraction of what they would have been, and a few years later the state was able to build a huge interchange with Interstate 84 that probably wouldn't have been affordable had the pre-flood structures still been there.

Route 8 wasn't a retirement present to Lowell Weicker because it long predated his term as governor. It is true, though, that traffic is usually pretty light on most parts of the highway. The only really busy stretch is right at its southern end in Bridgeport where it joins I-95 (it's known as Route 8/25 at that point), and sometimes at the I-84 junction in Waterbury.

Peter

Anonymous said...

Baltimore-Washington has the BW Parkway, with no trucks.

David Letterman used to talk about the Merritt Parkway at least once a week as the place he speeded and got ticketed, so it wasn't too secret.

slumber_j said...

@Peter: Interesting. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

OT:The beverage size limit rule may harm minority owned businesses:

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_SUGARY_DRINKS_LAWSUIT?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-01-23-06-18-52

perhaps bloomberg really is doing everything in his power to drive them out.

Anonymous said...

"Aged 12, I was driven along that highway many times by an aunt, then in her glamorous mid-thirties"

Damn, I wish my mid 30's would have been glamorous, just a Civic and a cubicle.

Anonymous said...

Of course much of the traffic and gridlock congestion Mr. Sailer bemoans is simply due to population growth. Which is caused by immigration. Immigration is a political choice and could be ended. Had there been no immigration to speak of since 1965 America's population would have probably stabilized at about 220 million people. The overall quality of life would have been much better, to say nothing of the environmental benefits that would have been obtained.