Even though I work in sales, I’m really an engineer. And one thing many engineers love is transportation systems.

When Robert Moses was building, he employed hundreds of engineers who loved building roads. It wasn’t just a matter of doing something people could use, or having a secure job - no, there was a deep pleasure in constructing these elegant systems that flowed into each other, moving people around at high speed. A cloverleaf interchange is a beautiful thing.

Unfortunately, highways are also destructive. We now know that each time a freeway is constructed, people start living farther from their workplaces because they can have more space for equal commute time. Soon traffic on the freeway grows until it chokes the new route, and suddenly commute times are longer and we need a new freeway yet again. Before Moses started building, most of Long Island was country homes. Today Nassau County is full of cookie cutter subdivisions and strip malls. Life out there is no better, it’s just farther.

When I visit the Bay Area, I’m constantly reminded of what a suburban wasteland the South Bay is as I drive from huge parking lot outside office complex to hotel situated between strip malls and never actually come face to face with another human being. But on my drive each day I pass the new 85-101 interchange ramps being built in Mountain View, and can’t help but think every single time how very beautiful it is.

David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Sustainable Transportation (DCST). He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. Unless otherwise noted, opinions in his GGWash posts are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.