Thursday, July 26, 2007

Pissing Off the Commuter Gods!

The commuter Gods are obviously pissed off that I took two weeks vacation. Since I've returned there have been numerous delays of every sort just about every day this week.

Last night my bus broke down on the Turnpike and it was over an hour before a replacement came out to rescue us. I got home at 8:30. Just in time for bed. At least there were only 45 of us who were thoroughly inconvenienced.

Unlike yesterday morning and this morning.

Yesterday there was an "incident" involving a burned-out (well, it was burned out by the time we got there) old wreck in the southbound lanes which everyone in the northbound lanes had to slow down and look at, thus adding 20 minutes to the commute. 20 minutes times 75,000 people equals 1,500,000 minutes, or 25,000 people-hours in lost productivity.

This morning was even worse. I knew it was going to be bad when the bubble-headed bleach-blonde traffic report lady on WCBS-TV (in "HD!") at 5:00 a.m. blathered on about "a bad accident in the southbound lanes near Exit 14, so you might want to take Routes 1 and 9 around the airport (Newark/Liberty) instead."

She wasn't lying. It was bad. There was an overturned and gutted tractor-trailer, a demolished divider between the bus and auto lanes AND the burned out wreck of an expensive looking sports car. Apparently there was death, and possibly several, involved. There were multiple state police cruisers all over the southbound side.

Again, it was important for everyone in the northbound lanes to slow down and gawk. Another 25,000 person-hours down the crapper. Probably more because the southbound traffic, mostly tractor trailers, were backup up northbound on the western spur all the way to the George Washington Bridge. It was going to be a very bad day for an awful lot of people.

I have written e-mails to the Turnpike Authority after previous incidents like this, suggesting strongly that they install "anti-rubbernecking" barriers the full length of the Turnpike but apparently the State Police don't like the idea because it would hinder the ability of patrol troopers to monitor conditions both northbound AND southbound while driving along in the opposite lanes.

But it seems to me that there comes a time, and that time has long since past, when the needs of tens of thousands of commuters outstrip the needs of the police to "check out" what's going on in the other lanes.

Maybe it's just time to hire more troopers and to buy them more cruisers.

I'm sure it'd be a helluva lot cheaper than the 10's of millions of dollars which go up in smoke from the exhaust pipes of thousands of vehicles stuck in traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike every year; burning up oil which the youth of America is currently, and pointlessly, dying trying to protect.

I wish the New Jersey Turnpike Authority would tell me again why it's so goddamned important for the State Police to be able to look over the barriers, "just in case"?

4 comments:

Bev Sykes said...

I have the answer. Erect the baricade and give the troopers periscopes.

JoyZeeBoy said...

Hey, I thought you were whoopying it up with the cousins today?

Alan said...

traffic sucks. I drove to the airport and back yesterday so I know :)

Bev Sykes said...

No--that was yesterday.