Ramp Meters

Traffic Congestion:  Image by Mark Woodbury.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/markwoodbury/

Alluding to yesterday’s post concerning the inaccuracies in an Atlanta Journal Constitution article about Ramp Meters, I have an anecdote:

My wife and I go to plays at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta every few months. In order to get there from our house (during rush hour), we avoid the interstates and use surface streets (Johnson Ferry Road, for those of you in the area). We’ve made this trip often enough at the same approximate time that we know what the traffic is like and yesterday we encountered an unusual hang-up as we approached Interstate 285.

The traffic engineer in my cannot let things like traffic backups slide. I began speculating out loud as to the cause of the congestion: wrecks, congestion on the interstate, signal being out, whatever. After 10 minutes or so, we arrive at the interchange and I see it: The Ramp Meters are On!

I laughed. This was the first day that this particular ramp meters was activated and I had totally forgotten.

I predict that there will be a lot of complaints forwarded to the DOT concerning the congestion (on the approach streets) caused by the meters. This sort of project always needs tweaking when it’s first implemented. I opine that the observed congestion (by yours truly) was a bit excessive, but it was only day one. We’ll see how it all falls out. Hopefully, the AJC won’t run with the complaints and publish anything scathing. Give the DOT a chance to get the kinks worked out. This will improve traffic flow in the area.

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