exodus

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exodus

Postby justanotherdave » Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:27 pm

No doubt many thousands of us are trying to come up with a solution on this after another horrendous end to an otherwise perfect burn. So here's mine: when buying our tix this year, we simultaneously sign up for an exit time. Exit time slots will consist of three hour periods (e.g., midntie to 3 am Sunday morning, 3 am to 6 am, etc.). The amount of slots will be limited to what is determined to be the maximum amount that can be smoothly funneled off the road during in three hours without accumulating a backlog. Prime slots would surely be snapped-up by early buyers, but such is also true for the best spots on the playa taken by those who get their first. Burners will recieve some sort of token/ticket that they must turn in upon departure to verify their time slot. Tokens could be traded between burners at any time. Anyone arriving late to their departure time would be bumped back to the end of the following three-hour time slot thus allowing an exit while being penalized for be late. Anyone losing their token or simply needing a different time but not finding anyone to trade with, could visit the exit gates and sign up for any available open slots and/or post their desire to trade slots.
Last notes: this idea is not perfect, please offer suggestions to improve upon it. Let's take a collective deep-breath, and work this out together.
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Re: exodus

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:44 am

I don't know how many people can commit in January for a time to be packed and off-playa in September. And rideshare would become really contentious.

If it is true that the slow exit time was in part a result of accidents on 447 and or I-80, then this would not have helped. The bottle neck is 447, and we can only drive out when there is space on it.
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Re: exodus

Postby bradtem » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:06 am

I've been puzzling over this for a while. While your solution won't work, I've been considering related approaches for many years trying to find the right mix of simplicity and efficacy. Some of the constraints which make it hard are:

  • People definitely can't predict when they will be ready to leave the playa more than a short time in advance
  • It's important the system not encourage you to take the first available time, and then just leave any time after that, as everybody will just grab the most popular times
  • At the same time, it is essential that people not feel pressure to leave as their time approaches, pushing them to leave without a proper cleanup and moop scan
  • It really has to be easy to follow, and can't require a huge labour force or must generate its own labour force
  • It has to deal with accidents, white-outs, rainstorms and other things which halt or slow exodus

This is a very tall order. But yes, we have to find something better than what we do now. In the past, I had found that an early morning departure (pack in advance, wake up early and bug out after dawn moop check) worked, but this year a 7:30am departure monday meant a 7 HOUR WAIT to get to the blacktop. It seems only who left before the burns got out in decent time, and does it have to be that you have to miss the burns to not spend half your day in line, even the more fun pulsed line?
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Re: exodus

Postby hookahdude » Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:24 pm

or they could just add a day to their vaca and decide to stay one more night if exodus is ridiculous... Just a thought...
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Re: exodus

Postby Dr. Pyro » Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:47 pm

Why is this even in the Introduce Yourself thread? Jeeze Louise, some people.
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Re: exodus

Postby bradtem » Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:12 pm

Yes some people can "just add a day." But obviously a lot can't. Nobody leaves during the peak times without a reason, unless they are a virgin who doesn't know it is a peak time and didn't read the information about it. I found a lot of people who, with wisdom, decided they would rather miss the burn than have a 7 hour wait, and that seems like a shame.

Why can't you must add a day? Some have to be back at work or school. Some have rental vehicles costing as much as $300/day. Some are low on supplies (though usually others will be quite giving.) Some are drained from the heat and dust. Some don't have flexible vacation days or have a shortage of them. Some have kids and others to get back to. Obviously a lot of the city has this.
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Re: exodus

Postby vapor » Thu Sep 08, 2011 1:14 am

How about burn the Man Friday, the temple Saturday and then have 2 days for clean up and exodus ? Used to be a nightmare on Monday when the Man burned Sunday, got better when he burned Saturday but then the whole second burn thing started happening with the temple and traffic picked up on Monday.

The other thing I noticed is that the flow of traffic on 447 seemed to be far too restricted . . . once I got on to pavement at 1:15 Monday traffic was moving faster than coming in Friday night before the event. I get that there may be a need to restrict the flow for safety reasons, though in my experience I'm not sure how the specific number of cars makes a difference . . . there's still breakdowns and accidents, there's still people passing unsafely and following too close, an accident still can close the road and halt exodus regardless of the number of cars on 447 per hour. Maybe it makes sense to temporarily reduce the speed limit to 55 on 447 but allow more cars on. Maybe make passing temporarily illegal. Seems there should be a way to have more cars consistently flowing on 447.
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Re: exodus

Postby bradtem » Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:18 am

That is something that should be checked. The pulsing system, done well, should release cars to the blacktop at the maximum rate that it can handle them, but it's possible that various things can happen with confusion in merging and turning that would reduce that rate and slow exodus. I hope that they had somebody count the flow through gerlach etc. to see if it was being properly maintained. It is tricky. Too much flow and you get congestion collapse to stop'n'go and your rate reduces until you clear it. Too little flow and you get a huge backup leaving and long waits.

The one thing I've been hoping for but not seen is a rental traffic signal at the playa exit. The reason is that people have an trained reaction when doing a turn like this to pay too much attention to the human flagger and to be cautious and look both ways etc. On the other hand, when people see a green left arrow it's "go go go" and that's what is needed.
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Re: exodus

Postby trilobyte » Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:57 am

You could spend decades thinking about the problem and researching solutions and improvements (as others actually do), and still not come up with anything that will work for everyone (which is why they haven't). ;)

That said, you may care to reach out to the gate/exodus team and see if there's anything you can do to help (whether it's help staff things up or participate in any planning sessions they have throughout the year).

Of course, avoiding it is really, really easy. Just don't leave during peak time. You don't need to buy a special/scheduled ticket, just stay an extra day (or even half day). We left on Tuesday around noon (which gave those that remained a chance to have a nice breakfast together, pack up/load up, and do one last MOOP sweep of the space around us and our neighbors... and exodus took approximately 30 minutes.
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Re: exodus

Postby trilobyte » Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:58 am

D'oh... just occurred to me that this probably would be a better fit for the Q&A board, so I'll give this thread a nudge. :)
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Re: exodus

Postby ygmir » Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:01 am

all said, IMHO, the real bottleneck is the two lane hwy's 34 and 447.
They can only handle so much traffic. Add to that, accidents and stupids, and, anything that happens on the gate road out will not matter.
The pulsing system, is great as a fuel saver, party maker, and de-stresser. But, it does not change the road capacity.

Moving thousands of cars out through these roads, is the limiting factor, IMHO.

Plan all you want, to make the trip from the city to the pavement nice, but, it'll move no faster, from there out.
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Re: exodus

Postby bradtem » Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:27 am

I have heard a number of different claims as to where the bottleneck lies.

  • The turn onto the blacktop
  • Road 34 to Gerlach
  • The road through Gerlach itself (and sometimes Empire)
  • 447 south to Nixon

Does anybody know of any studies that have tested the volumes in these points to accurately figure out which is the true bottleneck? If it truly is 447, there is almost nothing that can be done (other than creating an alternate exit for those going north to Alturas, which would also help if it is the town of Gerlach itself.)

If it's Gerlach or 34, one could allow people with off-road vehicles and extra tires the option of using Trego at their own risk. Or the Jungo road, which many do take though it poses a serious risk of flats and should not be used by those not ready for this.

I doubt it's 34, that never seems to have much of a problem, but I have heard it said.

If it's the turn onto 34 I think rental traffic signals could make a serious difference.

But again, I really tire of those who say "just leave Tuesday." You think people don't know that is an option? You think they want to sit in the line?

While there is debate about growing the event to 70,000, that is the plan, and you won't grow to 70,000 with the current exodus rate very easily.

There are of course some solutions that violate what some people view as the burner ethic. I personally believe that when you have a scarce resource and too much demand that markets are the best answer. I personally have no problem with selling exodus preference to those who donate the largest amount to BRAF or BMProject or similar, but I suspect others will think it's non-burner to do it this way.
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Re: exodus

Postby dragonpilot » Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:55 am

Yep...it took us 7 hours to reach the hardball during the Monday morning pulse. Left camp at 09:20, arrived Hwy 34 at 16:30. However, it seemed like the time just flew by. With each pulsing stop we were able to shut down the rig, get out, walk about, fix lunch, meet our new neighbors and just generally relax...much more fun the hanging around in a vacant playa camp staring at your travelmates. It was a value added playa experience as far as I am concerned.

Sure, if there's a faster, more comfortable alternative that comes along, I'll be the first in line...but for now my vote goes to pulsing!

Truth be told, I'd rather take the 7 hour pulse wait than a 3 hour bumper-to-bumper rolling wait any day...YMMV.

I forgot to add: Kudos to the Exodus team for an outstanding job! We heard an announcement over BMIR not to jump the line in the last pulsing corral or you risk being penalized. Well, no sooner had that announcement been made when some ass hat several cars up from us decided to change lanes to the lane that was currently departing. It warmed our hearts when an alert Exodus team member stopped him cold, directed him to the outside lane where another Exodus member plopped a cone in front of his vehicle and he was directed to wait for the next pulsing group behind him. We all waved at him as we drove by...great job, Exodus team!
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Re: exodus

Postby bradtem » Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:22 pm

That's good to hear. I know this isn't a statement of overly positive emotion, but I've been through several exodus lines where people who line-jumped in various ways got out faster because of it. When you are trying to go with the flow, not change lanes or jump, and others cruise up the side and are let in to get out quickly, it grates and makes the exodus less pleasant. So hearing that it doesn't work actually makes the exodus better, even though it really should not gratify you so much to see others fail.

Line-jumping is an odd thing. If one person jumps ahead of 1,000 in line, they may only delay each of you 2 seconds. But in aggregate each one wasted half an hour of other people's time to gain it for themselves.
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Re: exodus

Postby andromeda23 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:37 pm

I'm glad exodus worked for some people, but for us it was a nightmare. we got in line at 12:30p and expected our 5-7 hour wait. we live in Sacramento so we thought we'd get home around 11p or so to relive the grandparents of watching our kids. around 8pm with no pavement in sight we asked the car next to us what time they got in line. 3:30! during the next pulse they shot past us. then we asked another car what time they got in line and it was sometime around 4. then they shot past us. we finally hit pavement at 10:30 and Reno around 1:30. my poor husband was to exhausted to drive anymore so we sprang for a hotel room. On the way home we stopped in Colfax for gas and I met some people who got in line at 4p and hit Reno/Sparks at 10:30p. I don't know what the hell happened but our line took twice as long as other lines. I'm trying to be all zen about it and just thank our stars we made it our safely and got home eventually, but REALLY? where were the exodus people? when we finally saw some they were just standing around talking to each other. It would be helpful to send a few up and down the lanes to maybe give updates and make sure people aren't jumping lines because i tell you, it really kind of pissed me off to be held up so freaking much and have BMIR still saying 5 hour wait when we had already been in line for well over 7 hours. I know there is only so much that can be done and I've been racking my brain for a better solution and having spotters along the road making sure people are doing what they are supposed to and giving people updates of what is going on is the only thing i can think of.

I really wanted to stay for the temple burn this year because i had put up a memorial for my grandmother (and I have never stayed for it before) but never again. seriously, never again will i sit there on monday. if I have to stay an extra day I will plan on it but most likely the Temple will burn without me.
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Re: exodus

Postby bradtem » Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:52 pm

While there is a psychological effect which makes you swear other lines are all going faster than you, these stats are pretty extreme. My own measurements showed that the lanes we were in were moving about the same speed (lanes 1 to 6) but I did get the impression that the right most lane (8) was moving faster than the others, even though when pulses were released it should have been the last. While in lanes 1-6 I kept seeing the same trucks as neighbours after each pulse, the ones in 8 were seen and never seen again. When we got to the final merge point, for some reason lane 8 was being let through constantly while other lanes were let through one at a time. This was under the direct supervision of the exodus crew, so I was curious about the reason and just what was going on.
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Re: exodus

Postby AntiM » Thu Sep 08, 2011 2:34 pm

Yeah, a nine hour wait when we expected five or six made us more annoyed. But the vehicles who we got in line with stayed with us. We did have to change lanes once to get around a disabled vehicle.
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Re: exodus

Postby Irreverent Moniker » Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:20 pm

We left during the the Temple burn (watched about half of it from camp before we headed out) there was virtually no wait. It took maybe 30 minutes to go from the 9:00 plaza to 447.
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Re: exodus

Postby andromeda23 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:35 pm

bradtem wrote:While there is a psychological effect which makes you swear other lines are all going faster than you, these stats are pretty extreme. My own measurements showed that the lanes we were in were moving about the same speed (lanes 1 to 6) but I did get the impression that the right most lane (8) was moving faster than the others, even though when pulses were released it should have been the last. While in lanes 1-6 I kept seeing the same trucks as neighbours after each pulse, the ones in 8 were seen and never seen again. When we got to the final merge point, for some reason lane 8 was being let through constantly while other lanes were let through one at a time. This was under the direct supervision of the exodus crew, so I was curious about the reason and just what was going on.


My husband and I watched lane 1 and 2 (far left) near the end of the pulsing and watched about 150 cars fly past us while we were at a stand still. while most of the cars in our pulse group were all with us for the first few hours after that we never saw them again. i even met AntiM and My Larry in line in the beginning. however, about the time we hit the gate station, we didn't see many of those cars again. i don't know if we pulled ahead or they did, but i know for a fact that many of the cars around us got in line after us by many hours.
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Re: exodus

Postby essjay » Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:49 pm

I don't think there is much more bmorg can do than pulse. The problem is one-lane 447 and the 25-mph zone in Gerlach (which is really more like 5-10mph with everybody wanting to pull over/back on). That is the bottleneck that keeps people sitting on the playa during exodus. I think enlarging the roads to 2 lanes - from the playa to 2-3 miles down 447 - (not gonna happen) is what would be needed.
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Re: exodus

Postby bradtem » Thu Sep 08, 2011 5:37 pm

Again, I've seen various statements about what the bottleneck is, I would be really interested if people actually had some numbers to help determine what the real bottleneck is. I have to believe somebody has gone out and counted volume at the various points -- if not, it certainly should be done.

Slow points can be bottlenecks but are not always. Typical highway headway is 1.5 to 2 seconds, or about 2,000 cars per hour. However, the numbers I have seen quoted for 447 are as low as 500 cars/hour -- 7 seconds of headway -- which is much longer than what I have experienced.

A 2 second headway is tougher at 10mph (15 fps) and impossible at 5mph, but you can do it a little longer. Unfortunately while it might be technically possible to direct both lanes in Gerlach south the re-merge is quite difficult and the merchants there depend on people stopping. Making a bypass for locals is not entirely out of the realm of possibility though difficult.

But let's get some real numbers if we can, rather than just speculate on what the bottlenecks are. Quite possibly there are two bottlenecks of similar throughput which makes it harder.

Does anybody know how many vehicles go to Burning Man? With 50,000 people and very few solo drivers, I would assume it's in the range of 20,000. I would also be curious as to the counts of how many of them leave per day. A wild guess would be that about 60% try to leave Monday.
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Re: exodus

Postby ibdave » Thu Sep 08, 2011 6:46 pm

I posted this the other day on exodus 2011:

Re: Exodus 2011

Postby ibdave » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:28 am
I leave pre burn sometimes as I did this year. But here's what I would do if I was in charge of the pulse...(can't be on playa that long)

Make the pulse lanes(like they don't have the room) groupings maybe 3-4 lanes and then move the next pulse lines 50-100 ft apart and so on and so on.. Now when it's time to pulse the whole group get to go.. No line jumpers and if a stall happens it would be easier to move around that broke down rig without pissing people off. also time to offer free tickets with less working commitments for exodus workers.. fucked jobs should get rewards faster.... yes?

Pulse needs lots of workers... 8) 8) 8)

edit to add extra 0

Just my 2cents worth... 8) 8) 8)
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Re: exodus

Postby StaceyS » Fri Sep 09, 2011 5:15 pm

So I'm conflicted on the whole pulsing thing:

Positive: I like how you can "expect" to sit for a while without moving. Makes me feel fine about getting out of the car, going to the potty, talking with others, etc.

Negative: I really don't like how some people completely blow off the fact that we are sitting in these lines to LEAVE! As in, they get out of their car and go wander off somewhere, and when the pulse happens, everyone behind their car just sits because they are way off somewhere else and their car is sitting there empty. I saw 2 people get out of a pick-up truck, get their bikes out of the back and ride off. The pulse happened and the whole lane was just stuck. In the 6 hours it took us to get to the pavement, I saw similar things happen at least 15 times.

I can see that as a big reason why some lanes were moving and some weren't. I'm all for hanging out, socializing and keeping the burner spirit going, but are we hanging out, or are we going home? Is there a way we can keep the happy, social experiment going, and not just abandon our cars or completely forget why we're sitting in this traffic to begin with?
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Re: exodus

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Sep 09, 2011 5:26 pm

I don't see the point of so many lanes for exodus.

Dump the pulse and just have the 2 outside lanes for the lines out with the 2 lanes beside those to go around the breakdowns.

You can only put so much traffic on to 37 anyway and this way the lines would never stop, just a continious slow cruise to the pavement.
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Re: exodus

Postby Irreverent Moniker » Fri Sep 09, 2011 5:47 pm

FIGJAM wrote:I don't see the point of so many lanes for exodus.

Dump the pulse and just have the 2 outside lanes for the lines out with the 2 lanes beside those to go around the breakdowns.

You can only put so much traffic on to 37 anyway and this way the lines would never stop, just a continious slow cruise to the pavement.


I like the pulsing, you get to shut off your engines, save gas, and hang out with people. it makes it actually kinda fun
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Re: exodus

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Sep 09, 2011 6:04 pm

With multiple lanes I agree that pulsing has it's place, but with the breakdowns, sleepers, and people that don't pay attention when it's time to move, I'd rather wait in camp.

If there were just the 2 lines exiting the event, there would be no bottleneck trying to funnel all those lanes on to the pavement, so it would be a constant flow with no stop and go. :?

Traffic on 37 was fine once I got there, and 447 was just as good.
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Re: exodus

Postby Mr.Coffee » Fri Sep 09, 2011 6:43 pm

we left monday at 7 am from 5:15 and H. It was seven hours from camp to tarmac for us.

One thing, BMIR kept saying the wait was 5 hours from the gate. This estimate actually made sense for us, since it took about two hours to get to the gate, so that math wasn't unreasonable.

I liked the pulsing, it gave us a chance to chill out and nap (I even got a number in the process (if you're reading this, hi Ashley!)).

Bottom line: there is a city of 50k plus feeding a 2 mile 8 lane road, which dumps to a 70 mile 2 lane road, which dumps to a 4 lane road.
It's going to take time to clear that stuff, You're going to have to wait on your way out just like you had to wait on your way in. Plan for it, it's part of the event.

My plan is to leave on tuesday next year. I'm certain there will be less wait, but what really sucked is that I had a TON of space in my van, and I kept hearing pleas for help on BMIR for rides. next year I'm going to wait around so I can help out a couple of stranded burners.
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Re: exodus

Postby junglesmacks » Fri Sep 09, 2011 6:51 pm

Mr.Coffee wrote:Bottom line: there is a city of 50k plus feeding a 2 mile 8 lane road, which dumps to a 70 mile 2 lane road, which dumps to a 4 lane road.
It's going to take time to clear that stuff, You're going to have to wait on your way out just like you had to wait on your way in. Plan for it, it's part of the event.



Entry and exodus whiners: Underline underline bold bold italic print this with asterisks on either end.


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Re: exodus

Postby bradtem » Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:51 pm

Sorry, I won't underline that. Yes, its part of the event, but that doesn't mean it has to be. More to the point, if the city is to grow to 70K (not that I want it to) then something needs to change.

It does not have to be part of the event. Even without changes that improve it, there are things that would be good, including publication of data to help better with prediction. For example, perhaps from city size figures and some surveying of campers it might have been possible to determine that this year, 8am Monday departure was going to be the worst time, when in years past it had been one of the best times. (I have not seen reports of more than 7 hour waits at any time.) It's worth understanding why it changed, and more understanding can lead to better planning of when people leave. Indeed more people will plan to stay to Tuesday. People with rental vehicles may not have a choice on when they leave once the rental is booked but with knowledge they might book an extra day. (There are many thousands in rental RVs from what I can tell.)

I also believe we can do more than inform and make it better. Most years I have missed the big exodus through planning but this year I did not. And when I get caught in a long exodus (or gate line) it remains one of the big negatives of a trip. In both cases I am usually quite keen to get to the playa, or to get back to the default world and the long wait serves little good purpose. I would rather spend the time on the playa than in a vehicle.
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Re: exodus

Postby kvd » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:00 pm

Right. Publish data, accurate predictions, practically assigned departure times. Want to volunteer to make it happen? I didn't think so.

It just takes time. It's part of the event. Leave early or leave on Tuesday when there's no line at all. I've done that many times.

Line jumpers suck holy fucking ass. The only times in BRC I've wanted to kick someones ass, except for certain DPW dealings in the old days.

There was one white minivan with MTHR BER or CUB or something on the license plate that I saw change lanes to move up, over and over again. What a fucking douche. Then about a half hour from the front of the line, I saw them broken down and clogging the lane. Schadenfreude can at times be one of the best gifts of all. Fuck you, Mother Bear. I hope you were stuck with your break down for hours if not days.

Inside lanes may possibly move quicker than outside lanes, since the distance is shorter. There are ways to even this out (think of the staggered starting points in those track events that go past a bend in the track) but I think the pulse points were simply cut straight across. It's simple geometry. Motor racing is all about the shortest lines around the curves.
kvd
 
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