Friday, February 27, 2009

2009.02.26 Thursday

Work was rather uneventful, again.

After work I met up with Trey to grab some Wing Stop. Cajun and Lemon Pepper, delicious! I ordered 20 wings, an order of fries, a ranch and a drink expecting to take some home and have something for a late night snack. Somehow I finished the entire meal. I'm going to have to go back and try 25 or 30 pieces.

I got home and worked on some music stuff for most of the night, with occasional TV breaks (like How It's Made).

Sleep time had approached before I was ready for it.


Solutions to Rush Hour.

I decided that I'd like to express my ideas and opinions on random topics of life over this blog. These ideas and "off-topics" will be random, and mostly whenever I feel like ranting.

First off, I'd like to say a big Thank You to all the dick-hole drivers on the road today. If it were not for your darting lane-changing, tailgating, lane-cutting, and all-around recklessness, the severity of traffic might not be as bad as it is.


Can we all agree that Rush Hour consists mostly of people who get off of work around the same time of day during the typical work week? This is my first assumption, and intrinsically problem number one. Why do businesses refuse to shift around their schedules to dissolve the "rush". If one-fourth of all the companies pushed start time early by one hour, and one-fourth pushed start time back by an hour, then there could essentially be half as many cars on the road during the rush. Of course, there are many other variables at play here; not everybody has the same travel time to work, traffic hits certain areas worst.. etc. So maybe that idea is not all that great in solving the congestion. When you think about it, how many people actually thrive off the 8a-5p work schedule? Some people are genetically designed to be night owls. What if business itself was not just a day-time activity? What would it be like to have 24-hr business? If more businesses operated for 24 hrs a day instead of 8, that's 3 times the amount of work accomplished, and 3 times as many jobs. If staying open 24hrs was not profitable, why would there be any store or restaurant that stays open 24 hrs? Who knows, maybe this is how the economy will thrive in the future.

So again, if we come to the consensus that Rush Hour traffic consists mostly of people who are getting off work at the same time, can we assume that these same people know the way to their next destination? Most people are driving the same route every day, right? (Directly home or something very similar) I feel like that is a fair assumption. The part I do not understand is how people can change lanes at the last second when they knew miles before that a lane was ending. I think I know what it is... they're cutting in line. This action just makes traffic worse. I advise against this course of action. When somebody cuts into a lane, this typically causes a chain reaction. The driver being cut-off is having to slow down fit an entire vehicle length in front of them, and this causes everyone behind them to slow down, some even stop. This essentially boils down to a design flaw; civil engineers figured that if you are smart enough to get a drivers license, you are smart enough to grasp the concept of merging into a lane. Merging works best with ample room and consistent speeds. As soon as somebody squeezes in or flat out stops in the road to wait for a gap, the problems just build.

My last point is not much of a point at all. I honestly have a question for the readers that involves concepts of highway driving. For the most part, there are signs along highways and freeways that state "No Trucks Left Lane" (and by Trucks, this usually means large, multi-ton, 18-wheelers, etc.). This only makes half-sense to me. Let's consider for a moment, that you are about to jump on the entrance ramp to a freeway that has 2 lanes on your side. If there are no trucks in the left lane, they are now in the right lane... which is exactly where you have to merge. Had there been just cars and smaller trucks there, I think this process would have been much easier. Also something to think about: who is actually getting on and off the freeway/highway more often? I also like to think that this would be smaller vehicles who make smaller, in-city commutes. Why can't there be a sign saying "Trucks in Left Lane Only"? This would free up the remainder of lanes for drivers who need to shift around a lot more.
--The only reason I can see for the policy is that, no matter what vehicle you are driving, it is easier to peer over your left shoulder and see behind you on that side if you need to. A truck that is stuck in the left lane may have a hard time lane-changing to the right. Also, trucks in the left lane will probably move slower, which causes people to pass on the right...also more dangerous.

So, what do you think? It's time to question the system that has been in place for years. The only way to better ourselves is to rethink and evaluate the current state, and make adjustments accordingly. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"...bleh on whoever made that up.

Thanks for reading.

Kelc mentioned that "No Trucks in Left Lane" only occurs when there are 3 ore more lanes, allowing the trucks to be in at least 2 different lanes, and giving people the chance to pass on the left. I think I was mistaken in thinking this "NTiLL" can occur in other situations. This still begs the question why a vehicle that is designed and used to travel long distances at a constant speed...why they can't get a dedicated lane that is out of the way of passenger vehicles. I observe that these vehicles enter and exit the freeway much less while driving through cities.


Kelcey said...

"no trucks in left lane" is ONLY posted when there are at LEAST three lanes going in one direction...trucks are welcome to the middle lane to a) not slow down traffic b) allow cars to enter the highway easily and c) still leave a lane on their left because many drivers have a preconceived notion that a truck will be driving slowly and that they must pass it

I like your ideas about skewing the work day and making it last 24 hours :) more productive + less traffic = awesomeness

racerj said...

fairly interesting book...

AndySk8inMan said...

Very interesting book link.

I like the idea that typical commuters not affecting the flow of goods that would end up being purchased by consumers. Something like a HOV-like lane, or lanes, that do not inhibit that flow... especially since they would be driving through an entire city.

I don't know, maybe this is a bad idea. Maybe trucks and traffic of the like need to go into town anyways (to drop off goods) since that is where everybody lives. It could just seem like trucks have a hard time crossing town during rush hour, but they're just following the same patterns as everyone else.