The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

April 4, 2009

Pardon me sir, is this the offramp?

Filed under: Random Stuff — Tags: , , — Brian Lutz @ 3:42 pm

Just a quick post from the back of my brother’s car in the construction backup on 520, where people on the 148th onramp seem to be a bit short on patience today. Not that I would exactly recommended taking 520 if you can manage to avoid it, but it’s definitely not worth heading the wrong way up the onramp to avoid. I bet that would be a fun ticket to try to explain though…

Update (a little bit later on, on something that isn’t the the dinky little keyboard on my phone:) I should note that it wasn’t just the guy in the picture above trying to turn around on the onramp.  In fact, we saw at least 4 or 5 different cars trying to  pull this whole “wrong way up the onramp” routine, and that was just in the relatively short time while we were passing by here.  Given the fact that even with the construction reducing 520 to one westbound lane we couldn’t have spent more than about 20 minutes waiting to get through it.  Let’s consider the options here:  Have a bit of patience and wait through the backup, or drive into oncoming traffic and risk a head-on collision and a potential reckless driving citation to maybe save a few minutes.  I can see turning around if you’re on a two lane road somewhere with no oncoming traffic, but I can’t think of any situation where it wouldn’t be completely boneheaded to pull something like this on a freeway onramp.  Eventually as we came back by here in the other direction, we saw that the construction company had just closed off the onramp completely.  Probably not a bad idea, given the circumstances…

May 29, 2008

Pick a Lane, Any Lane

Filed under: Bellevue, Random Stuff — Tags: , — Brian Lutz @ 10:55 am

With the seemingly perpetual construction projects on I-405 through Bellevue these days, it’s not surprising that people might have some trouble finding their way around.  Right now, the construction seems to be focused primarily on the I-90 interchange, where a new bridge is being built to handle more southbound traffic. This interchange  has always been something of a spaghetti junction in its current form (that link goes to an interactive map,) and the proposed master plan for this interchange looks suspiciously like it might make an even bigger mess out of this place than it already is.  Figuring out what lane you were supposed to be in to get to whatever destination you were headed for was enough of a challenge before all this construction started, and with stuff being constantly rearranged these days, it looks like even the sign people aren’t sure which lane goes where:

As far as I can tell, the arrows on this sign are pretty much just pointing off in random directions.  It seems that you’re just supposed to pick a lane, stick with it, and hope that you don’t accidentally end up in downtown Enumclaw for some unknown reason. 

February 26, 2008

How to Make a Left Turn Into the Redmond Wendy’s

Filed under: Redmond — Tags: , — Brian Lutz @ 1:59 am

When most people think of Redmond these days, they probably imagine a booming metropolis just brimming with all sorts of technology everywhere that you look (either that, or some dark village from Mordor ruled over by Bill Gates with an iron fist, but that’s another story.)  To some extent, this is true, but the history of Redmond dates back to long before Microsoft even existed, and for much of its history Redmond was a largely rural community comprised mostly of loggers and farmers working in the surrounding area.  Because of this, the roads running through Redmond’s downtown area weren’t exactly designed in a logical fashion.  The most dubious feature of this design is the split of Redmond Way into two one-way roads (the other being Cleveland Street) running through much of the downtown area, but traffic through downtown Redmond has long proved a challenge.

 

For example, take a look at this picture, taken from the Birds-Eye View of Live Search Maps.  The arrow (excuse my somewhat lacking drawing skills here) shows the left turn to get from Westbound Redmond way in the downtown area, right near where Cleveland Street splits the eastbound traffic off of Redmond Way.  This is a pretty straightforward turn, although it could be tricky to make sometimes when there was a lot of traffic.  Because of the split here, the majority of eastbound traffic is going to be turning right onto Cleveland St. here, with lesser amounts of traffic either turning left onto 160th Ave. NE, or going straight (the lane continues for about another block before the eastbound traffic is forced to turn left onto 161st Ave. NE.)  For context, you can find the map showing the location of the Wendy’s and the surrounding area here.  As you can see, the left turn lane here is rather short, and it is easy to imagine this turning into a bottleneck for people trying to go straight or turn right onto the left lane of Cleveland street during periods of heavy traffic.  Recently, a change was made to this intersection to increase the length of the left turn lane.  This might alleviate whatever bottleneck might be going on here, but at the same time it also makes it impossible to make a left turn into the Wendy’s.  After the jump, take a look at just how much more difficult a few chunks of concrete on the road have made it to get to the Wendy’s.

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