Monday, June 16, 2008

Ramp Meters

The ramp meters are coming! The ramp meters are coming!
Ramp meters are traffic lights that are intended to control the number of vehicles entering and exiting the highway. They are to reduce traffic congestion on the ramps.
Between the Downtown Connector re-paving project and the recent destruction of the venerable 14th Street bridge, Atlanta seems to be swirling in an orgy of transportation experimentation. Now, the already addled speed demons of the autobahns will be forced to pay attention to "stop lights" on interstate on-ramps.

When these silent guardians popped up on my side of the perimeter, I pondered the madness which lay just over the horizon.

I remain cautiously optimistic. Previously, I was skeptical about roundabouts but having seen the effectiveness of the Lullwater/N. Decatur intersection, I am now their advocate. We can all only hope the ramp meters will also exceed expectations.

If not, at least we will have some fun with the new demolition derby mashup.

5 comments:

shelbinator said...

I am wholeheartedly optimistic. It didn't take many weeks of driving to my first real job in freeway traffic to realize it had more to do with fluid dynamics than my actual turbine-loving job. Most brake-light traffic slowdowns are just pressure waves in a big, ugly, non-Newtonian fluid. If you've ever cranked your water faucet on so fast you made it rumble, you're halfway to traffic jam theory. The unnatural response of human drivers to alternate between too much gas and too much break, rather than a happy medium, is the other. Ramp lights out to clear that right up.

shelbinator said...

"Ought," even.

J7 said...

I'm from L.A., and this is what we have have on EVERY on-ramp to EVERY freeway since the 70s. We even have them on freeway to freeway transition roads sometimes. And they come on whenever the road is clogged, not just at rush hours. It sounds like it doesn't work, but believe me, when the ones on the 405 Fwy broke for a week, you knew the difference-- packs of cars merge without so much as a blinker or a look over their shoulder in Los Angeles, and it's been the same here in ATL recently too. You'll notice a BIG difference once the whole system is in place.

rptrcub said...

J7, I agree. The ramp meters near Grady at the Pryor Street entrance to 75/85 are awesome in trying to get you on the interstate safely and out of the exit-only lanes onto I-20. The major thing is to get people to stop bitching about them and obey.

And I have so many Angelenos say that Atlanta's traffic is way, way worse than LA.

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