Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Forced zipper merge

Make em do it right come hell or high water
  [vote for,

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 about it.

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.

21 Quest, Nov 14 2018


       So, not clothing zips.   

       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.
not_morrison_rm, Nov 14 2018

       Duuuuuude... I can totally relate.
21 Quest, Nov 14 2018

       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.
pocmloc, Nov 14 2018

       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.
scad mientist, Nov 14 2018

       You left Michigan? Or did it leave you?
RayfordSteele, Nov 14 2018

       Scad that's brilliant
21 Quest, Nov 14 2018

       I like that version too.
notexactly, Nov 14 2018


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