Thursday, December 23, 2010

Letter to Mall Designers

Dear Civil/Traffic Engineers working with Malls,

Please stop sucking at your job.

I could talk prolifically about the Palisades, the wonder (of fail) of Woodbury, and seriously write a thesis myself on GSP.  But this post is devoted to Riverside Square Mall.

Design of the mall itself? Ehhh.
Design of the traffic around it? Death.

Let me give you some background.  When coming from home, I am normally traveling Southbound on local roads.  For our purposes, imagine I am the white car traveling South in circle #1 below.

Now for some labels  the mistakes.
  1. Combination exit to Route 4 W, U-turn, and entrance to Mall.  Contains the ever-so-popular one must-turn lane and one I-don't-know-what-I'm-doing lane.  n00bs stay in the rightmost lane to turn into the mall or conversely, stay in the middle/left exit lane to get onto the highway.
  2. Lines disappear. Cars can do whatever they want, and that includes cutting off everyone.
  3. lolz. Just look at it for a second.  Isn't that funny looking?  For the record, there is a light there dictating when circles #3 and #5 have a green light.  The right lane is supposed to go into a righter lane of traffic or into circle #4.  The left lane is supposed to go into a lefter lane, but normally just ends up cutting the right lane off.
  4. Combination exit to Route 4 W (from Northbound on the same road), U-turn and entrance to mall.  You'll notice the northbound side already has a more intuitive entrance to the mall before the intersection, and thus, is normally not used by the Northbound side.
  5. Entrance to Route 4 W, U-turn lanes
  6. (Imaginary) All the cars trying to get onto Route 4. Three (sometimes four!) lanes of traffic merging into one.
OK.  That's that.

The seasoned driver knows how crappy this set-up is before entering it.

The unseasoned driver makes an illegal right turn out of #5 the same time a driver from #3 tries to enter the mall.

So you see this problem?

I sure did. When I almost t-boned the unseasoned driver's car.

Traffic engineer. In a perfect world, this might work. But people are stupid. And so are you.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

my internal dialogue

Sometimes, I think the things that go through my head are terrible.

Especially things like, "HAH! That's right, Mustang, you tried to speed 50 down a 25, went the long way around, and then cut into the same parking lot I was going into but I STILL beat you into a better parking spot!"

But then other things go through my head.  Things like, "Hmm, perhaps I could increase the awareness of crazy in this driver and leave them a note stating that this is a university campus, and while I'm sure they were late to a class it did not justify risking the lives of the many many pedestrians around."

That doesn't last for very long.  Instead I think of things like this:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

i almost died

merging onto route 17.

For those unaware, rt 17 has a 50 mph speed limit because people can pretty much enter and exit right into parking lots.  Normally, I don't like going too fast on the road for this very reason, i.e., i don't want to rear end someone trying to enter the road from a stop.

When I was entering the on ramp, I was already going 40 mph.  Instead of maintaining speed, the 18 wheeler driving behind and to the left, sped up.  At pretty much the same rate I was speeding up.

Thanks, truck, for thinking my car couldn't reach 55 within the next 6 seconds.  Thanks, truck, for actually reaching just above 70 in the right lane before moving over to the left.  I know this because that's how fast I had to reach to make sure you didn't run me over.  I know this because I was absolutely gunning my car to get in front of you because I thought you were driving a reasonable speed on a 2-lane highway.

Truck, you had to slow down and move over to the right anyway to merge over to rt 4. Truck, you weren't even heading to east to New York.

Thanks for helping me test the limits of my car, jerk.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I didn't listen to construction cop

You've already heard me talk about why you should always listen to the traffic cop

Now it's the construction cop's turn.  Like the traffic cop, this is the rent-a-cop that hates being on campus in the middle of humid 90 degree weather directing traffic so that two dudes can pump water out some large thingamajig.  Normally, it's very easy to follow traffic/construction cop because you just stay away from him and stay away from the bright cones.

My mistake today was choosing to ride my bike to school.  You see, the nice little traffic cones that were set up were directly blocking the nice convenient bike path they have set up.  I went around the maintenance construction people but bypassed some of the cones to access the bike path and stay out of the way of the cars that now only had one lane for both sides of traffic. 

Construction cop gave me a stern look and told me "STAY OUT OF THE CONSTRUCTION AREA!"  I gave him a wave and a nod, but I was already out of it.  I'm sure if something had come flying towards my head, those other cones 2 feet outside of me would have saved my life.  Much like how the bike path probably saved my life when one of the frustrated cars driving through the area ran a red light after passing through.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

HAH! Brain cells work!

Okay okay! I remember why event(s) #2 from the last post stuck out in my head!

It's because they weren't people driving.  And it was actually two separate events.  I was reminded of both when similar things happened to me again today.

2a - Kids walking along the side of the highway
Dudes. This isn't the middle of nowhere.  This is Jersey.  On a Friday at noon.  1: Why aren't you in school? 2: WHY ARE YOU WALKING ON THE HIGHWAY?  You know how there are signs that say Pedestrians, bicycles, and horses prohibited on highway?  Guess which one you are.  Oh wait, you're not in school, maybe you shouldn't guess.

2b - Motor scooters tailgating you
This was awesome.  I was driving on a highway, and suddenly, I see a Vespa.  Said Vespa was moving a good 60 mph along with me until I took my exit.  I had no idea they could move that fast.  I wanted to wave at it.

For the record, I had to look up the difference between mopeds and motor scooters to write this, as I like to be as accurate as possible.  In the US, anything above 50 cc is considered a motor scooter even if it is not what you would traditionally call a motor scooter.   The converse is not necessarily true, as the definition of a moped is just anything motorized with pedals.

The more you know!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Amazing things recently

Have you ever experienced something so amazing while driving that you could say you have completed a life goal?  You don't realize it until it happens, but when it does, you know life feels just a little bit better now that you've witnessed said event.

Scenario one
I was driving west on 4 in the middle lane when an ugly car passes me on my left.  I really couldn't have cared less, since I had passed most of the traffic already.  I was already going 10 over the posted limit, and he probably going 15 faster than I was.  But really, the kicker came when I saw the cop pull out of his spot about 400 feet after the guy passed me.  Who was getting pulled over?  Oh, right.  Him.  Speeeectacular.

Scenario two
I have to be honest, when I thought this the other day it was awesome, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was right now.

Scenario three
Today, I was driving on the Parkway, and I managed to witness for the first time in my life a car making 4 lane changes as a straight line while everyone else is moving 70 mph in traffic.  I was really tempted to honk at Mr. Benz, but I could already see he wasn't planning on staying right in front of me as I was in one of the righter lanes.  So he made a lane change from the far right to the far left.  Kudos for not causing a wreck.