Tag Archives: traffic

360 NB to MoPac NB

360 to MoPac On-ramp

360 to MoPac On-ramp

When heading north on 360 and connecting to MoPac northbound, you head downhill and hit the bottom near the MoPac overpass. Then you have to drive uphill to get onto MoPac. This hill isn’t a challenge. If I can get up to highway speed in a 22-year-old sedan with a 114 HP 4-cylinder, then your V8 pickups and POS Corollas are more than capable of getting there (maybe if you have one of those 70 HP Smart cars, then you have an excuse). I mean, seriously, you need to be AT highway speed at the end of the on-ramp! It does give me a good excuse to blow out the carbon though. It is quite satisfying to floor it up the hill in third gear while flying past them while still way under the speed limit once we’re all on MoPac (because these idiots are going 40 MPH once they get on the highway). These slowpokes have no business driving.

US290 to RM2222

Sign 1: RM2222, Airport Blvd, and I-35 NB

Sign 1: RM2222, Airport Blvd, and I-35 NB

US 290 becomes RM2222 at I-35. The first sign you’ll see tells you what lane you want to be in. This is far more descriptive than most of the road signs in Austin already, but the logic is still flawed. Go up a little and the I-35 northbound ramp branches off, but that particular lane continues. The next sign comes up.

Sign 2: Airport Blvd

Sign 2: Airport Blvd

Oh snap! If you were in the middle lane and you weren’t paying attention, you would have missed your exit. The middle lane was clearly not an “Exit Only” lane. The left two lanes actually continue to RM2222 which after the interchange becomes a 4-lane city street called Koenig (pronounced KAY-nig) Lane. If you missed the Airport Blvd exit, you will have a helluva time getting back unless you pull a U-Turn when the road becomes undivided. An overhead view shows that there is a rail line that runs parallel to Airport Blvd and there’s no way to cross it until you get to a major street. Good job, guys!

MoPac and 35th Street

MoPac and 35th Street

MoPac and 35th Street

MoPac and 35th Street is one of my favorite intersections in town only because it has hella tight cloverleaf on and off ramps which makes it interesting to fly around. It also has a feeder road that starts and ends as an on and off ramp as well. It seems some people don’t understand that if you’re getting onto the feeder road from 35th street, you need to yield to those getting off MoPac. TxDot has added flashing yield signs to get the point across even farther. Seriously, if you’re getting onto the freeway, get up to speed and don’t block the ones getting off! The other day some lady in a Chrysler 300 tried to race me towards the end of the dual-lane part of the feeder road. I had the right-of-way since I was getting off MoPac and trying to get onto the cloverleaf. I managed to make my move with barely any room to spare and entered the off-ramp a bit faster than I wanted since stability control kicked in to save my ass. I hate people.

Wednesday nights are gonna suck for traffic

I hope y’all aren’t going to try and cross the river or try to get downtown on Wednesday evenings this summer because if you are plan to take about 45 minutes to accomplish this goal. The Long Center has free events (Sound and Cinema/Blues on the Green) on Wednesday night between June 5 and August 21, 2013. I was heading down to South Congress last week and MoPac, Lamar, and Cesar Chavez were a sea of red. There were thousands of people descending to the Long Center. It was an amazing sight.

Going south in the evening isn’t just the only thing. At night they’re doing construction on MoPac for the upcoming expansion and they’ve got lanes closures. Very fun when EVERYONE is leaving the Long Center. Couple the lane closures with everyone’s inability to merge and we might as well be driving bumper cars. There needs to be better public transportation to alleviate the traffic.

15th Street and Lamar Blvd

15th Street over Lamar Blvd

Imagine eleventy billion cars here.

The on-ramp to eastbound 15th street from Lamar Blvd in Austin is a serious fustercluck in the morning. It may not look like it in the image above, but the behavior of people in traffic is terrible! It has gotten worse in the last few months from the mass exodus of other states to Austin. Enfield/15th Street is one of the major east/west streets through downtown and most downtown workers take this route to and from work. At the top of the hill in the picture is a traffic light. The right hand lane where the on-ramp is located become a thru lane all the way to I-35. People will routinely come to a dead stop where the on-ramp becomes a thru lane. They stop in both adjacent lanes to do a lane change. Seriously, people! It’s a ticketable offense to stop in a thru lane! This goes back to my rant about people stopping in yield lanes. Shape up and time it right. If you can’t, then don’t inconvenience everyone else by doing stupid stuff like this! Drive up the road and do a U-turn or something if you miss your chance to make a lane change to make a turn. Seriously, you have options.

It’s not just clouds, people can’t drive in the dark

Are you for reals?

Are you for reals?

Last month I made a post about how people drive super cautiously when there is a dark cloud inferring that rain might happen. Well after Daylights Savings, my afternoon commute has switch from driving home during the daytime to driving home during the night time and now I think it’s just people can’t deal with non-sunny weather.

My afternoon commute is now worse and it drags on for much longer because people are driving slower because of the night time. I don’t understand it. We’re in the damn city, there are street lights on the freeway, and wildlife is not going to just jump out at you. Get a grip and think rationally people!

Leave a gap!

I’ve been thinking it would be so beneficial if people left a gap to let on-coming traffic onto the freeway during rush hour. It’s not like anyone is going anywhere and with how dense traffic is, it certainly doesn’t hurt. But that would require people to play nice and when you’re in a car, that ain’t kosher. With the gap between cars, traffic could mesh together like the teeth on gears and it would be a very fluid motion. This would force people to get up to traffic speed on approach. I swear some people cannot understand that you do not come to a stop at the end of an on-ramp. If you can’t get up to the 25 MPH crawl on the freeway during rush hour, then GTFO. The exit lane that you’re on is pretty long if you’re crawling at 25 MPH and if you just cruise it, you’ll be able to slip in at some point. That is where the gap would come in handy. But, alas, this ideal situation is just a pipe dream that I can lust about while sitting on the mobile parking lot known as the rush hour freeway.


Is the British roundabout conquering the US?

So drivers in the US can’t get used to roundabouts because roundabouts require them to think. Sounds about right. There is a major intersection that I have to deal with every day to and from work. Traffic is always backed up at this intersection. I’ve often wondered if it would be better if this intersection was changed to a roundabout. Then I realized if people can’t figure out how to merge onto the freeway smoothly then how the hell are they going to handle a roundabout. It’s too bad because I love roundabouts given that a highway junction back home was converted from a traffic light to a roundabout almost a decade ago and the congestion was dramatically reduced afterwards.

The article made an interesting point about the difference between a traffic circle and a roundabout. In a traffic circle, the traffic going into the circle has the right-of-way and in a roundabout the traffic already in the circle has the right-of-way. I don’t understand why traffic going into the circle would ever have the right of way, but I can see why that method is unpopular. I guess that’s why roundabout are not too commonplace in the US since most traffic circles are in the northeast and there are more people in the northeast to sway the bias. Again, it’s too bad because I think roundabouts are genius traffic controllers (unless we’re taking about a Turbo Roundabout which everyone back home hates and I can’t blame them because it’s such a fustercluck).

Toll Roads

I support toll roads. They are a good idea under one condition: there is a free alternative to get to the same place. Whenever I take the toll road in Austin or in Dallas, it is never packed. Traffic flows smoothly and is very sparse. I will gladly pay $0.75 to travel on the road less traveled. The free alternative must exist because otherwise it’s extortion. We all have options and most people will deal with traffic on the free alternative (for example, IH-35). As much as I am a cheap-ass, I feel $0.75 is a fair price to pay to not deal with the mobile parking lot (like IH-35).

What is not a fair price to pay is $5. Crossing some of the bridges in the San Francisco and surrounding bay area costs $5. There are no free alternatives; you just suck it up and pay the toll. Ok, so there must be a toll, but $5 is just too much. But then again, that’s California for you charging exorbitant prices for everything. It’s very funny that the people I’ve talked to in Austin complain about a $0.75 toll (which you wouldn’t even have to pay by driving on the frontage road) and are absolutely floored when I say I had to pay $5 to cross a bridge.

What’s pretty awesome now is that some of the tollways in Texas are all electronic which means no tollbooths to stop at. They take a picture of your car and license plate and mail you a bill. You don’t need a transponder, but you get a hefty discount on the toll rate if you open an account and get a transponder. No more needing to stop, dig for change, and throw it into a basket (although it was kind of sporting to do so). The tollbooth is on the way to be on the endangered species list with payphones and video rental stores, but toll roads are here to stay.

Traffic light placement

I find it interesting that different places have different rules regarding traffic light placement. All the lights have the standard red, yellow, green, but the location of the actual light assembly varies. In Texas, all the traffic lights are placed horizontal with red on the left and green on the right. The lights are normally not placed vertically unless it is mounted on the pole. It wasn’t too hard to adapt, but it was obvious. However, in San Francisco and the surrounding bay area, most traffic lights are placed on the vertical pole on the street corner. They are not mounted overhead above the intersection. This makes it very confusing for visitors expecting an overhead traffic light and not paying attention. I’m not sure why there isn’t a national standard regarding traffic lights other than the required colored lights. It would make it easier for travelers not used to the area.