Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Incoherent Dreams of a Road Enthusiast

You know you're different when in those incoherent moments before waking (while you're still dreaming), you worry about waking up because you fear that you won't get to your destination by the time you wake -- that if you don't continue driving, you won't take the exit for Interstate 355 -- you could get up in the wrong town!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Chicago: My Kinda Town!!!!


Without question, Chicago is the most magnificent city urban core to drive through in all the United States!!! It works. It has many of the wonderful tropes of California's glorious roads -- including Accident Investigation Sites -- and the IPass toll roads all accept EZPass. Now THAT'S a network.

The city is dripping with electronic warning signs which inform drivers of approximate travel times to various key exits. Most major roads have express lanes (2 of them) which are separated from the primary lanes by concrete barrier, and do not require high occupancy status: a magnificent approach to separating local from regional traffic. The system resembles the express and local lanes on the New Jersey Turnpike, but this is executed WITHIN the city.

Ads festoon the roadways with appeals to get drivers off of busy highways. For example: http://www.avoidtheryan.com/ and suggestions that the only true "Expressway" is the CTA.

With humor and grace, Chicago has brilliantly executed an urban interstate highway system. Even state routes, such as IL 53 uphold the federal design standards -- they have the look and feel of actual Interstates in the East.

Monday, May 08, 2006

David Blaine: Drowned Alive -- Hated It!

Did anyone else think David Blaine: Drowned Alive (this evening on ABC) was rather stupid? Really, this lust for ratings has gone too far. What are we really watching? A guy bob up and down in water like so much unwanted cork in a glass of wine...and then an unscathed escape? There are real tragedies and miracles going on through the world. Would somebody please think of the gold miners in Australia? They were chiseled out of rock after two weeks and emerged like Han Solo from so much carbonie. Now THAT would be something to watch!

I think what bothered me most about the event was that they held it at the plaza at Lincoln Center. Lincoln Center is already enough of a tourist destination to not require that large death-defying stunts be performed in its midst. Why didn't they hold his death-defying match in Queens, Spuyten Duyvel, or Ramapo? Think of all those people blocking the exits to the theaters of Lincoln Center. A shande!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

It's Called "Counterflow!"

When lanes typically reserved for traffic moving in opposite directions are re-routed for travel in the same direction, that's "counterflow." More surprising than the practice is that a term has been coined to describe it. It seems a bit odd that they would choose a word to describe it...and such a clunky one at that. How might one describe the institution of counterflow? "Counterflow measures have been initiatied [,Captain]!" Or "The southbound side of I-75 is now counterflowing to the north." Clunky, I say!

See the Wikipedia entry on the subject for a list of cities where counterflow measures have been adopted or planned!