Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Golden Palace

Did you know that all of those wacky things on eBay (e.g., the image of the Virgin Mary on a grilled cheese sandwich -- aka "The Passion of the Toast") are purchased by one company, "Golden Palace?" Evidently, this company wants to gain notoriety by becoming a celebrity buyer of sorts.

Maybe we could get them to sponsor some of the most wretched patches of metro area commuter highways? I've also got a bridge to sell them... ;)

The "Longest Miles"

Ford Motor Company had a great idea to promote the new Escape Hybrid SUV. They set up a challenge in which commuters in Escape Hybrids could approach the City from some of its worst traffic clinch points. Here are the results:

The tri-state area's official "Longest Miles" are Route 78 leading up to and including the Holland Tunnel, which averaged a whoppingly poor 4.17 minutes to go one mile. The full results are below:

1) Route 78 leading to the Holland Tunnel (4.17 minutes per mile)
2) The New Jersey Turnpike and Route 80 – George Washington Bridge Approach (3.76 minutes per mile)
3) The Long Island Expressway (3.60 minutes per mile)
4) The Hutchinson River Parkway (1.47 minutes per mile)
5) The Connecticut Turnpike (1.03 minutes per mile)

Not surprisingly, the Holland Tunnel -- perhaps the Chinese, "Helan Tuone" sounds more approporiately exasperated -- fared worst.

What an event! It even made it into the New Yorker's Talk of the Town. In a wonderful bemoaning of the LIE, Nick Paumgarten offers, "It took forty-five minutes to drive the 13.8 miles to Exit 26, Francis Lewis Boulevard, the turnaround point. Kroswek, two hands unfailingly on the wheel, steered the Hybrid across an overpass and back onto the L.I.E. Now he was heading -- or at least pointing -- west. The flow of traffic, to everyone's relief, was more or less dead. 'We have a good shot at winning this,' Feuell said. 'I'm going to sneak in behind this gas-guzzling Escalade,' Kroswek said. 'We can draft off it,' Feuell said.' 'Never underestimate the power of drafting.' The Hybrid inched past Exit 25 -- Utopia Parkway! -- and the race was on.7:51 A.M. A display on the dash indicated that hte car was averaging 42.6 miles per gallon. The speed was about five miles per hour."

Wonderful to hear others wretch about cramps along the LIE's serpentine path!

I've long been fascinated by Hybrid technology, and I've spend a good number of hours sitting in that slow-moving, early-morning traffic. What better proof point can be found than an actual in-rush-hour performance!? I rather enjoyed driving the Ford Escape non-hybrid in the southwest, but was frankly quite disappointed by its paltry fuel economy. I wonder why there wasn't more press about this event. I'm more or less sold...

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


HOV contractor defaults on project
by Joie Tyrrell, Newsday
March 23, 2005

Modern Continental, the financially troubled contractor of the final
12-mile stretch of the Long Island Expressway's HOV-lane
construction, defaulted on the $220-million-plus project, state
transportation officials confirmed Tuesday.

J.D. Posillico of Farmingdale has been selected to finish the HOV-
lane work, and officials with the state Department of Transportation
said the long-awaited piece of the project is now expected to be
completed by July 4. The company, which is to begin work later this
week, will face a $20,000-a-day fine if the project is not completed
on time.

The LIE construction was supposed to be finished by the end of last
year, but new project elements requested by the state and bad weather
delayed the work.

You can read the rest of the story at:­v0323,0,867226.story?coll=ny-top-headlines

Friday, March 11, 2005

Time to Exit...

I've never travelled from O'Hare Airport to downtown Chicago directly by car before. It was on that route -- Interstate 90 -- that I saw some of America's finest electronic highway warning signs. I shrieked with joy (much to the Taxista's surprise) when I caught my first glimpse of the signs. About 10 minutes out of the airport, I saw it, shining brightly on a large black plackard above the expressway:

"Addison Street...Exit 73....10 Mins"
"Downtown Loop....Exit 79....18 Mins"

Estimated travel times -- WHAT an innovation!

Then, I saw the tremendous utility of this system on the way back to the airport from downtown. Leaving slightly less than enough time to get to the airport comfortably in rush hour, I was moderately relieved to find the same signs providing an estimated travel time to O'Hare from near downtown of "40 Mins." Deplorable compared to the 18 on the way in, but still the measure I needed to both rest assured that I would arrive at the airport in the nick of time, and know how much time I had to engage in other activities while on the way. Hello, 30-minute power nap!

Another great innovation along near-Chicago Interstate 90 -- 2-lane HOV lanes!!! This innovation TRULY makes a difference, and enables significantly higher-speed travel time for those who would use the HOV lane. It solves the trapped-behind-grandpa dilemma!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Building a Bridge

They're evidently rebuilding (or building another) San Francisco-Oakland bridge!

The wreck that's up there right now could use some work, but I wonder if this one is going to be at all quake-proof...?