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When a lane is closed for repaving or other roadwork, traffic is
SUPPOSED to zipper merge, utilizing the closed lane's maximum
allowable length before merging into the unclosed lane. The
science is settled on this topic. When people do it right, it
decreases congestion measurably. From what I've
read on the
topic, Germany and some other Europeans have got it down and
successfully incorporated it into their driving culture.
We Americans... sigh... we're a stubborn, suspicious lot. We don't
do the zipper merge right. Instead, at the first sign of an
upcoming lane closure, we all feel a need to merge RIGHT
FUCKING NOW and jam up the open lane for fucking MILES!
Well, here in Spokane, WA, USA (y'all can look it up if you want),
just on the north side of the intersection of Monroe Street and
Northwest Blvd, Monroe Street was recently renovated, and now
merges from two lanes to one on the northbound side. There's no
sign of the upcoming merge, it just... does. And traffic in both
lanes manage to make it work when they reach the merge point
unexpectedly. It works wonderfully, by simply not warning people
So the idea is to use THAT idea ^ for temporary lane closures, but
to take it a step even further. Instead of putting up a big flashing
LED sign saying "right lane ends ahead", don't put up any signs
whatsoever, and start separating the lanes with temporary
concrete divider walls with a "Y" shaped set of arrows directing
traffic to simply flow around the divider into both lanes. Then at
the end of the divider wall, leave open just big enough a space for
cars to safely merge into the open lane.
They'll figure it out. Or not.
|In the morning - before my 3rd cup of coffee - I often
get 2 zipped items of clothing zipped to the wrong
garment, which is a complete bugger.
|Duuuuuude... I can totally relate.
|You could have a long vertically mounted conveyor belt with stiff yet yielding bristles mounted at each side of the road. As cars approach the merge point they get entagled in the bristles. A complicated system of gears and pulleys synchronises the speed of the two belts to force the vehicles to merge in turn.
|I like the principle, but it seems like there is some value
in giving people some advance warning. So, rather than
saying "right lane closed ahead", the sign should say "lane
merge ahead". At the merge, make the new lane
centered on the old two lanes, so there is no apparent
priority of one lane over the other. The lane will then
probably need to jog half a lane left or right. After ten
or twenty years of training, it might be possible to
dispense with the practice of having the merged lane
centered on the two lanes, but still don't announce which
lane is closing.
|You left Michigan? Or did it leave you?