Friday, September 29, 2006

Traffic Report

Chopper 5 here flying over the Mixmaster. We have a three car pileup with police on the scene. Traffic is backed up to Egypt and there is no end in sight. By the time you get to the point of origin, the wreck will be cleared up and you won’t even have the satisfaction of rubbernecking. What’s more is that this will be the 20th time you are late to work and written up despite leaving your house a 5AM. Here’s hoping you still have a job! Chopper 5 out.

That might as well be the daily report here in Dallas. From what I’ve been told we still do not rival cities in California or New York but it is bad. If it ever got worse, I would surely have to beat my head into the steering wheel until unconscious. It is 2006. I just thought I would remind everyone of that because aren’t we supposed to be in flying cars by now? We have the Jetson’s to blame for this expectation as well as countless other programs and movies. What year was it again that Marty visited in the future? I don’t see us progressing as fast as we often like to brag.

Here are some typical frustrations you might relate to: (Special thanks to Zaphod for giving me some of these ideas)

Cones For No Reason – Ever have to merge out of the lane you are in because orange cones have been place in the way? You think to yourself, surely these cones are there because of construction of some sort. Yet you move over and edge forward inches every five minutes only to witness three miles of cones, blocking nothing. Maybe the cone fairy visited last night. Maybe this was Joe Construction’s practical joke. Maybe the shipment intended for Madonna spilled out on the road. Whatever the case, I assume someone is hiding around the corner laughing as traffic stacks up for miles.

Stripers and Sweepers – Lately it is all the rage in Dallas for road crews to hit the highways to sweep and stripe the various lanes. Typically there are no less than 7 trucks in a row. Four or five of these trucks just carry large displays with flashing arrows directing traffic to merge over. It is only the front two trucks that actually sweep or paint. Seems like overkill and another unnecessary jam of the roadways. Their favorite time to conduct such services are during rush hour. I guess the middle of the night might be too inconvenient for city workers. On one particular day, I ended up traveling on three different highways to take my son to a doctors appointment. All three had this truck brigade as it was obviously National Stripe Day. Stupid me for not checking the calendar.

Copper Calamity 1 – When pulled over the police are specifically trained to minimize the life damage by parking behind you. All traffic on the main freeway slows down to look at the cop (thus impeding traffic). When the car is ready to leave, an UNSAFE entry must be made by the stopped vehicle (0 mph) must enter and merge with freeway traffic (60+mph). This is a MORE dangerous hazard than most offending cars that were traveling 10 mph over the limit to keep up with the general flow of traffic.

Copper Calamity 2 – We’ve all been flying down the highway and come upon a police car traveling the same direction. For some strange reason this police officer is traveling BELOW the posted speed limit, laughing histerically with donut powder circling his mouth. So what does everyone do? You guessed it…everyone feels compelled to stay in pace with Mr. Police Man. So we trudge along in one big merry clump all praying that this jerk will exit the highway and let us return to our speeding ways.

Copper Calamity 3 - When a police car is "hiding" to capture his next speeding victim, many cars see the cop on the side of the road and hit their brakes; which causes a chain reaction and a possible wrecks. The police are there to prevent such things…right? I am not picking on the Feds, just pointing out some obvious irony in their practices so please don’t mistake me for a person that has it out for The Man.

The Christian Cut-Off – It’s bad enough that we have such reckless drivers and rampant road rage these days. But it is something quite different when the jerk that sped around you and cut drastically back in front of you with middle finger wagging in the air, has a proudly displayed Jesus Fish on his car. I wish this was a rare occurrence for me but I’ve had many a fellow Christian witness to me in such ways.

Road Ragers – These people are like the fish toting variety but have no actual fish on their cars. They exceed speeds well beyond what is posted, they weave in and out of traffic, they ride your bumper, they cut you off, and you are lucky if the only thing they point at you is a little birdie. I cannot count the number of news reports of highway shootings between two vehicles that engaged in a bit of roadplay.

Granny GetouttaDaway – Old people. Need I say more? I plan to be one myself someday but I have made a few promises for the betterment of mankind: I will either stop driving if incapable of going the posted speed limits OR be the fastest old fart on wheels. When is the last time you saw Geezer Gary revving his engine at a stop light? Right...never. I am going to be the first so watch out for the year 2056.

I am sure to have neglected many other situations that are common. Enlighten me to your experience with your commentary.


tonymation said...

You left off:

Mysterio Traffic: When you sit in bumper to bumper traffic inching along for miles... then you reach a point where the traffic clears without evidence of reason for the traffic. No shattered glass, no police cars, no overturned fuel trucks, no wandering cattle in the road... Nothing!

Eight Iron said...

Edge -

Besides Dallas, KC, MO is notorious for orange barrels. Go to Kenya sometime, and you'll realize barrels with good roads are a blessing. Over there, no barrels, but almost no good roads, either. Point? We're blessed.

Bring on those orange cones!

- Eight-Iron

Carolanne said...

I don't know if you have it over there, but here we have the "slow down road works ahead" sign and we, obviously, have to slow down- sometimes up to 40kms per hour less. So tell me, when it's dark and late at night, why are we slowing down when nothing's happening, no one's working and I just want to get home?
If you're gonna put those kind of signs up, at least put the workers up there to make it look like roadworks is happening.
I see you've got a new look for your blogsite - it's good!

QatMan said...

Flasher Man: One who thinks its OK to do stupid or obnoxious things as long as he turns his hazard flashers on. As in:

1. I am going to secure this king size mattress to the roof of my Geo Metro with fishing line. Then I am going to weave in the middle lane of the freeway. But, its OK. I'll just put my flashers on.

2. I am going to park in the fire lane of a strip mall and make people go around me. Why? Because I really want a latte and my time is too important to find a parking place. But, its OK. I'll just put my flashers on.

Dyslexia said...

Ya forgot one... the way overdue completion of construction on a bridge that didn't need any fixin' in the first place... Maybe its just a Pennsylvania thing, but there's a bridge here that's getting "fixed" one lane at a time... there's only 2 lanes thankfully, but it's not easy when one lane, which is a whisker bigger than a semi, becomes 2 lanes, a couple feet thinner than a regular sized car... You'd think there'd be two of those hard working D.O.T. workers out there with the magical stop-slow double sign and a walkie-talkie.. but no... they let us play a fun game of "I hope no one's coming the opposite way"... And this is like the 5th or 6th month its being worked on... gotta love that

Captain Amazing said...

Be glad you don't have Cal-Tran?

Ken Tuccio said...

Great stuff man ...

Erika said...

I hate any and all dumb people behind wheels of cars!! grrrr.

Zaphod said...

The red-light cameras do NOT improve traffic conditions, but cause MORE accidents from people slamming on the brakes at a yellow light and being rear-ended. The traffic surveys show that to reduce the red-light running accidents, that increasing the yellow time by 1-2 seconds has a dramatic improvement by decreasing the accidents. The amount of red-light runners past the few seconds is very small.
These cameras are NOT in the name of safety!

Angry Young Man said...

Speaking solely for the New York City metro area (since it's where I be), a lot of our traffic comes because it's nothing more than a set of islands. You can get from New Jersey into Manhattan at only three points... lower (Holland Tunnel), midtown (Lincoln Tunnel), and way the hell uptown (George Washington Bridge). There's another three bridges to Staten Island, but nobody likes going to or through SI, so it's these three bridges that bear the brunt of traffic. On top of this, there's the inter-city bridges to connect the boroughs to one another.

It's why I'm not willing to live anywhere other than Brooklyn or Queens, so long as I am working at JFK Airport. I am NOT crossing a bridge to get to work. It's like Russian Roulette with your job.

JanieJane said...

Precarious Load - A spin on the common calamity of "Not in My Back Yard."

Try: "Not in My Front Windshield, buddy!"

Yes, that rickety load of lumber, the barrels bouncing all over the back of the truck, or the burned up double-wide debris flipping around...

Even if they do have plastic streamers hanging from the end of the 20-foot log, it just ain't gonna land in my front windshield, buddy. I'm passin' ya and I'll speed to do it if I hafta!

Captain Amazing said...

You should try going up the 91 east (gratefully I don't have to do this in the horrible parts) or interstate 5 near L.A.... any part of the Interstate 5.

Traffic is sooo horrible.

Why? Besides what you mentioned; the gas tax is not used for the roads. CA has little new infastructure in the past 20 years to deal with the increase in population. Add that a huge amount of unaccounted for drivers (illegals) and it drives the congestion up even more.

The best traffic day by far in the "congenstion" areas of Orange County (which is still many times better than L.A. was the "day without an illegal" protest...

Bottom line, there are too many cars on the roads; you wouldn't put a network of computers on a 56kb/s modem, why put a network of cars on a highway with not enough lanes?

Don't you just love when the government absolutely refuses to do it's number 1 or 2 job (infastructure)?

Good blog.

Caroline said...

It's not gotten "that bad" in my little neck of the woods here in the mountains, but maybe this explains why so many "city folk" are moving in and trying to "recreate their own little hell"! Great read! Thanks! Caroline

Flashman said...

Listen, there is no traffic worse then Atlanta traffic. A city with half the population of Big D, has twice the traffic. Everyone is dumb here. You see how Texans react when it snows or ices? Well, that's how Georgians react with rain!!

You know who's fault traffic is? George Bush's. Watch, traffic will get better as we get closer to election time, just like gas prices getting lower!

Anonymous said...

no one noticed that you wanted to be a granny. I find this odd but maybe they now you better than me. See ya Mrs. Edge.

TheEdge said...

The exact quote...had you read carefully was:

"Old people. Need I say more? I plan to be one myself someday but I have made a few promises for the betterment of mankind..."

The catagory was Granny GetOuttaDeway, so I'll give you that much. But my plans are to be old...not a Granny.