Thursday, April 04, 2013

freeway metering comes to Eugene -- they don't get it!

Robin's Commentary -- There's been more and more CRAP going on in Eugene area, so much so, that despite my busy schedule I decided to restart this blog because I can't be silent any longer.

I have a couple issues that I wish to address and I will do them in multiple blogs.

One of first things I want to address is the $2 million project to install ramp metering devices on the Beltline road [sorry Randy... it will always be Beltline road to me]

The Oregon Department of Transportation [ODOT] is installing what they call Intelligent Transportation Systems [ITS] which according to ODOT in the January 8 register guard "ramp metering devices... are a low budget [$2 million] quick fix to an often sluggish roadway"

Ramp metering devices such as the ones used in both Portland work by putting a "gap" within the traffic trying to merge onto the freeway.

This is assuming that the freeway traffic itself remains "linear or a constant" and freeway traffic itself allows the cars onto the freeway.

Anyone that has lived here for any length of time and has traveled westbound on beltline towards Delta Sand and gravel for example understands that it's not the traffic merging onto the freeway that's the problem, it is the freeway traffic itself as people for God knows why are slowing down for the off ramp going over the river even if they're not taking the ramp itself.

In short, Oregonians don't know how to merge.

I have on countless occasions gone down that road where traffic speeds of drop down to 20 to 30 miles an hour and on rare occasions have actually come to a stop only to see the bottleneck is not traffic trying to get onto the freeway but rather traffic trying to get off the freeway.

Also, in my opinion and unless you have lived around metering ramps, I'm speculating that traffic is not going to stop on an on ramp at least in the beginning to wait for some stupid light simply because were not used to it, IN ADDITION, traffic WILL start backing up on the main arteries to the on ramps, causing congestion there.

here's my speculation about what's going to happen once the metering lights become active.

First, unless you have lived in an area that uses metering ramps, people are not going to know how to respond to them or they're going to be so focused on trying to get on the freeway they're not even going to notice them at all.

Secondly, [and I speak from experience] the on ramps themselves and the arteries feeding the on ramps become congested because the smooth flow onto the freeway has been interrupted by a stop light and cars waiting their turn.

My suggested solution... extend the off ramps allowing cars more space to get off the main road which in itself will make a major reduction in the bottleneck.

From ODOT, is the Beltline ITS ramp metering comparison video, showing their computer model of Coburg and Beltline with and without ramp metering.

For more information... see the ODOT page unfortunately... it doesn't matter what we say because the "experts" [who probably don't even live here that made this decision] knows what's best for us.

More blogs to come... please leave your comments below.