Tuesday November 1, 2005

Post-Wilma traffic bites

Cable is still out at the Critical Miami bunker, but we really don’t miss it. Everything else is coming back; heck, even gas is pretty easy to get now. Shockingly annoying, though, is traffic on the ride home. Surface street intersections are a grab-bag of regular traffic lights, dark traffic lights, blinking yellow/red lights (which people insists on treating as 4-way stops, in violation of the law), blocked roads, and intersection with police signalers.

The only thing more annoying then a huge busy intersection acting as a 4-way stops (with turning lanes this becomes an 8-way stop) is a dozen or so of them in a row. It’s a recipe for gridlock of a sort that can scarcely be imagined by drivers in ordinary circumstances. It really started yesterday, when most of the unwashed masses returned to work; any non-interstate commute suddenly quadrupled in lenght and annoyingness. We’re talking about bumper-to-bumper cars, inching up foot by foot, hour after hour, mile after mile.

There’s nobody to blame. People are actually being relatively polite, even efficient, and the cops are doing their best (not much, but it’s something) to help matters. We’re just being made painfully aware of how dependent we are on our traffic-control system; as broken and frustrating as it seems normally, it’s suprising to learn how bad things get without it. Nothing to do but grin and bear it, and hope that FPL gets power back, and FDOT (or the police, or whoever is in charge of intersections) gets the signals working soon.

Update: It turns out that the problems are much worse in Broward then Dade, and much worse along I-595 and nearby alternates (in particular Hollywood, Sheridan, and Stirling going west from I-95). All this is making our temporary exhile in Broward feel more like purgatory.

comments powered by Disqus
  1. Tanya Hyde    Wed Nov 2, 09:04 AM #  

    Things are much worse in Broward. I’m still without power, although water is now potable, and after 10 days FEMA has finally learned how to hand out ice without sparking riots. The only up-side: more beach time. Immediately post-hurricane the cloudless skies were crystal blue, a gentle breeze took the sweat away, and the hot steady sun was comforting as a lover’s orgasm. I haven’t had a November tan this deep in years. See you on Haulover.

  2. The Daily Sketch    Wed Nov 2, 01:06 PM #  

    Traffic in Broward is annoying. You can’t take the Turnpike north lest you get stuck in horrible exits from Atlantic Blvd northward until Sample Road. And I-95 isn’t exactly a dream either. I have a feeling it’s only this bad because the Turnpike is free. ;)

    The stops at flashing oranges are really pissing me off. Clearly no one remembers anything from the Driver’s Manual they had to read before getting their license.

  3. mkh    Wed Nov 2, 01:43 PM #  

    I suspect part of the problem is in last week’s constant media reminders to treat non-functioning signals as four-way stops. If you know that’s normally a normal signal, then a blinking yellow seems as though it’s broken. And, frankly, I’d rather have traffic slow due to people stopping on a blinking yellow than piling up as they blaze down Miami Avenue at 60 mph.

    Besides, a lot of lights are still wacky. There’s one near my house which has simultaneously blinking yellow and green on three sides, with the fourth side having no lights at all. That’s a remake of Signal 13 just waiting to happen.

  4. Franklin    Wed Nov 2, 02:09 PM #  

    Trying to treat the intersection of Davie Road and SR441, ten lanes one way and four the other, as a four-way stop, is, well, not viable. People were doing their best.

    Wait, you have electricity? Go to hell.

  5. Alesh    Wed Nov 2, 02:30 PM #  

    Oh yeah, I’ve had power since Thursday. No cable, but I’m able to bittorrent the Daily Show and watch it on my big ‘ol TV, freezing my ass of in the air conditioning. The other day I read by candelight just for fun. Long soaks in the bath. Cold drinks. Toast. Clean laundry.

  6. Sal & Sol    Wed Nov 2, 02:40 PM #  

    Actually, haven’t noticed that the driving or traffic after the storm is any worse that it usually is. Different, maybe, but not worse. After all, when you hit bottom, you can’t get no lower.

  7. Franklin    Wed Nov 2, 02:50 PM #  

    A pox upon your toast.

    Actually, a couple of friends were trying to piss me off the other day with exactly that angle. “You wanna know what infuriates me? No cable.” “I’m dying, man – I don’t have porn!”

  8. Niel    Wed Nov 2, 05:25 PM #  

    You watch porn? You’re going to hell.