04/03/2012 at 11:37 pm #176589606
During the winter as a hobby I am a part-time ski instructor at Colorado’s Copper Mountain. I live just outside Boulder. This means that I “commute” the I-70 corridor to and from the mountains on the days I teach or guide. Today, Sunday, March 4, 2012 was such a day. Yesterday was, too, and during the day the big programmable signs all said, “Warning: Expect Heavy Traffic Eastbound on Sunday March 4”. Today, they said, “Expect Heavy Traffic Home to Denver Today.” What they should have said is, “We are going to create traffic tie-ups.”
I left the slopes early today in an effort to beat the traffic, but thanks to CDOT and the Colorado State Patrol, I couldn’t. Even though it was 1pm and the traffic was still light, the “Pace Car” pulled in front of us and drove 45 MPH up to the tunnel, slowing around corners and sometimes speeding up on straightaways. For the distance from Silverthorne to Floyd Hill, the patrol pace car varied in speed from a virtual standstill to as high as 60 MPH (near the end), with the speed averaging 35-40 on an Interstate designed for much higher speeds. The result was rolling gridlock. People were jockeying, taking surface and frontage roads, and developing more and more frustration as a result.
When the car pulled off at the Central City Parkway, the traffic immediately speeded up to 75 MPH on average and moved quickly down the mountain.
This idiotic mess is a joke. At a time when revenues are down, demand on government workers are up, and the need for tourist dollars pressing, how can anyone honestly believe that making life infinitely more difficult is somehow a “good thing?”
Because they aren’t willing to do the hard work to find out what actually works.
I hope I don’t get stuck in that mess, again. There’s a reason I avoid working Sundays as much as possible!
12/03/2012 at 12:37 am #176596599
There I was on the way home from Copper, again, and there they were, the various overtime-earning patrol officers driving their “pace cars” at speeds to “harmonize” the traffic.
What actually happened was this: traffic slowed to the speed of the slowest vehicle, inevitably a 18-wheeler. 18-wheelers cannot climb or descend the grades on I-70 at more than 20-35 MPH, so that’s the speed of Operation Snow Tortoise. Yes, all of the traffic is “harmonized,” and yes, there were no accidents, but at 20-35 MPH on an Interstate highway, is that really any surprise?
Of course not!
How about this instead:
1) Pace the trucks one every 5-10 minutes so that there is never one truck passing another, and only one truck every 5 miles or so.
2) Enforce lane restrictions: slower traffic keep right, keep right except to pass (both laws in Colorado)
3) Teach people how to drive! The need to know sign shapes is obvious, but how about merging, looking ahead, exiting, lane courtesy, and the like? Utter ignorance abounds!
“Success?” No. Not at all. A cover-up for an unwillingness to actually do something useful about speed limits and drivers? Yep.
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