morning traffic woes
plenty of warnings, had to
see it for myself
The TV station where I work puts a lot of effort into their traffic reports.
All the local media invest heavily in traffic reporting.
Traffic problems consistently rank as the one universal issue that interest all voters in the Atlanta area.
I myself get traffic alert emails every day, through out the day.
I have two traffic apps on my handheld device.
This morning, like most mornings, I ignored all it.
Backed out of the garage and made sure my iPhone was on and connected to the car’s audio system so I could listen to an audio book.
I made my way over rainy streets to get to my entrance to i85 and the drive downtown.
At one point, I drive on a back road that parallels the freeway.
Through the leafless trees I noticed something odd.
The freeway was empty.
At 6AM this wasn’t, well, impossible but highly unlikely that no one else was out driving.
Further along the road I could make out the bridge and intersection where my entrance ramp was located.
Rarely had I seen so many flashing blue lights.
“This is not good,” I said to myself.
But maybe this is all just to the north of my entrance, I thought.
Maybe I can still get on the freeway.
I turned on to Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road.
Just ahead, cop cars lined the overpass and the entrance to I85 was blocked off.
I continued down Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road and switched the radio on in time to hear, “RED ALERT in GWINNETT COUNTY. I85 at Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road completely closed for an investigation of an accident …”
I switched off the radio and made a quick assessment of my situation.
Made a u turn and back tracked across the overpass.
I headed for the next freeway interchange at Old Peachtree and was on my way downtown without much more than a brief hiccup to my commute.
In fact, once on the freeway, with all the traffic north of me cut off, I had a very easy, if rainy drive.
I was shocked to see evidence that most of the morning traffic that I have to contend with on I85 seems to come from places further away from Atlanta than I am.
What could have been a commuting nightmare did not happen.
I am convinced that no app would have recommended I make the turn that I made.
Traffic for me, in that wonderful phrase that is the motto of traffic down here, was able to “KEEP MOVING.”
I had all the traffic tools available to me.
I had all the traffic warnings available to me.
I didn’t make use of any of them.
Here is the point.
Had I watched TV.
Had I listened to the Radio.
Had I read my emails.
Had I checked my apps.
I would still have made the same drive to my usual freeway entrance.
I would still have had to see the problem for myself.
It isn’t that I don’t believe the reporting.
But maybe, I just don’t trust it.
The reporting is, “passionate, but does not persuade,” to quote the Emperor in Amadeus.
I have had as many success stories using traffic tools as stories where I end up saying, WHY DID THEY DIRECT ME THERE?
As most of my issues with traffic are anxiety related, just knowing there are problems and why there are problems is the information I need.
Once I get going, I will let traffic do its worst.
And I will do my best.