Monday, January 23, 2017

Traffic Merging

The Canadians are polite to an extreme, I guess, and so notes The National Post. You see when they notice a one lane notice, they all slowly and politely get into one land a mile or so ahead of the merge. The paper notes:

Virtually every traffic scientist agrees Canada is absolutely awful at merging through bottlenecks.
In fact, it’s hard to imagine how we could be worse. At the first sign of a lane coming to an end, the Canadian strategy is to immediately cram into single file and abandon the soon-to-run-out lane. Then, as cars slowly inch ahead through the gap, they zealously defend the sanctity of the line by aggressively blocking the entry of any and all late mergers.

Now the write suggests what he calls a "zipper merge" which is what we in New York City call "alternate merge".  It is what we do at the Holland, Lincoln tunnels and the GW Bridge. If we did not then the city would come to a halt. In fact in all of NYC we alternate merge. It is not just polite, it is survival.

Now for those of you who travel out of NYC in the State, I have been told by New York State Troopers, the last remaining Praetorian Guards in the US, that there is no such thing as an "alternate merge". The NY State Police say you MUST stop in the ending lane until there is NO traffic in the traveling lane, and then you may enter! Yep, bring half the world or more to a standstill. These guys must live in some holler in the Catskills. But they are 6'5" and walk holding the handle of their 9 mm on their hips. So, despite the fact that the law they say we must comply with does not exist, they are the law!

The Paper continues:

“By working together, by abandoning our individual preferences and our distrust of others’ preferences, in favor of a simple set of objective rules, we can make things better for everyone,” wrote Tom Vanderbilt in the 2008 book Traffic. Jurisdictions have tried with varying success to convert their citizens to the gospel of the zipper merge. Starting in the early 2000s, the state of Minnesota has been the U.S. standard for the zipper merge, rolling out pro-zipper merge signage and public relations campaigns. Since 2015, the City of Saskatoon has been pushing the zipper merge as a method to reduce congestion.

Perhaps if we are in the process of renegotiating NAFTA we could train the NY State Police in polite driving, and practiced in New York City. Who said we are rude?