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Traffic Congestion and Highway Construction


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On 7/29/2020 at 9:39 PM, elrodvt said:

That seems like a failure of very basic governance.

I wish then they'd put up radar cameras and stop light ones. It's the wild west even in downtown.

Be careful what you wish for, friend.  Those cameras are all over Maryland.  A couple years ago they were found to be faulty, resulting in tickets to thousands of drivers who had, in fact, done nothing wrong (moreso the red-light cams vs. speed cams).   A better solution would be traffic calming raised sidewalks...or rumble strips, perhaps...

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On 7/29/2020 at 12:43 AM, CLT> said:

https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article244404332.html

In just eight hours Monday, troopers cited 91 drivers for exceeding the speed limit on the first day of a speeding crackdown on Interstate 485 in Charlotte. That far surpassed the average eight daily speeding tickets issued on I-485 last year, according to an Observer analysis of State Highway Patrol data.

In all, troopers issued 144 citations from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., including 15 for reckless driving and 16 for failure to move over for an emergency vehicle and other offenses, Trooper Ray Pierce told the Observer.

I have posted about this before, but I'll keep saying it.  WHY - given that modern cars have gotten so much more capable in terms of power, handling, braking, and safety - are we still subject to all these ridiculously low speed limits everywhere???  Obviously not every road needs to be an autobahn, but we're talking about 485 here!!! I seriously doubt that writing tickets for 15 (or whatever) over the speed limit is keeping anyone safe, because almost everyone goes that fast. I would much rather see drivers ticketed who weave in and out of traffic, refuse to move out of the left lane, don't use their turn signals, and do other actually dangerous things.

There is no reason, other than revenue generation, that a 100 mph speed limit is unreasonable.  In each direction on 485, there are 3-4 lanes of divided, limited-access highway on the entire route, with no sharp turns or major visibility issues anywhere.  A neighborhood street is one thing, an 8-lane limited-access freeway on the edge of town is something entirely different.

Also agree with @ertley, speed bumps suck, especially when your car has a heavy stage 1 clutch.  However I don't get the point of putting up speed cameras and then just setting them for 12 over.  Why not just increase the speed limit by 12 and actually enforce it instead of playing this stupid "guess the magic number" game that we're already playing.

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^ Not sure about 100 mph speed limits on highways within cities but I agree with your general point that many of our highways are engineered for higher speeds than we are allowed today. The speed limit should be 80-85 for much of the stretch between Raleigh and Wilmington. It should be 75 in many places between Greensboro and Charlotte. 

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If people drive electric I would agree to a higher limit. The limit was reduced to improve mpg. People driving huge suv, maybe half of Charlotte, with 1 passenger should have their limit reduced if anything. That's not practical though as large deltas in speed are dangerous. Then there's all the trucks and crumbling roads. 

Also, congestion is much too high in the east and the South East, in particular, has a huge number of people not competent to drive the current limit. Out West 90 felt perfectly safe. It'd be terrifying here.

I drive electric and 85 though. ;-0

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I like the idea of higher limits on separated toll lanes.

I don't think there's been an improvement in education. I think it's worse.

I'm curious, do you think the highway back then was better maintained than now? There's so much deferred maintenance in some areas.

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Highway design is far, far better. The connecting roads between towns are now improved or replaced to a standard known only to interstates as of 1970.

Interstates had broad grassy swathes between oncoming lanes in those times, no barriers or cables, and just right for head on crashes, for example.  Here locally from Charlotte to Statesville over time one had NC 115, followed by US 21 and then I-77. Compare the increased lane width of each of those three, the lowered number of intersections and crossings with each improvement, markings, water runoff, just everything. 

Better maintained? Cannot say. More to maintain now. My (?) above was for a reason.

Point being: I feel safer on the road now than I did when I was 25. 

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On 8/1/2020 at 10:57 PM, nicholas said:

Also agree with @ertley, speed bumps suck, especially when your car has a heavy stage 1 clutch.  However I don't get the point of putting up speed cameras and then just setting them for 12 over.  Why not just increase the speed limit by 12 and actually enforce it instead of playing this stupid "guess the magic number" game that we're already playing.

The arguments/reasons for not automatically ticketing for exceeding the posted limit are : 1) Going only 5 (or 10 on a major highway) over the speed limit isn't usually a safety hazard, so it doesn't need to be policed with absolute adherence, if you view speed cameras as a means primarily for public safety and not mere revenue generation, 2) We *all* make genuine mistakes or oversights, driving is certainly no exception, and if you're not using cruise control you're inevitably going to creep up above the limit from time to time (if you're trying to maintain that speed), and those genuine, perhaps momentary, oversights shouldn't be automatically penalized just because you happen to be within range of a camera, but more importantly, 3) You often legitimately have to go over the limit, to pass another car, or because you're being 'pushed' by car(s) or truck(s) behind you before you can get over, and finally, practically 4) Having the literally tens of thousands of appeals weekly for tickets issued for *any* violation of the speed limit would lead to the system's collapse sooner rather than later (i.e. both due to massive public outcry and the bureaucratic hassles).

A speed limit should never be set at the utlima thule of safety, anyway. Automatic ticketing shouldn't be utilized for low level policing but for genuine safety infractions, for clear, unambiguous, flagrant, conscious--or if not truly negligent--road violations and safety transgressions. The police and highway patrol should still be around to make judgment calls about whether lesser speed violations merit ticketing. IMO.

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1 hour ago, ertley said:

The arguments/reasons for not automatically ticketing for exceeding the posted limit are : 1) Going only 5 (or 10 on a major highway) over the speed limit isn't usually a safety hazard, so it doesn't need to be policed with absolute adherence, if you view speed cameras as a means primarily for public safety and not mere revenue generation, 2) We *all* make genuine mistakes or oversights, driving is certainly no exception, and if you're not using cruise control you're inevitably going to creep up above the limit from time to time (if you're trying to maintain that speed), and those genuine, perhaps momentary, oversights shouldn't be automatically penalized just because you happen to be within range of a camera, but more importantly, 3) You often legitimately have to go over the limit, to pass another car, or because you're being 'pushed' by car(s) or truck(s) behind you before you can get over, and finally, practically 4) Having the literally tens of thousands of appeals weekly for tickets issued for *any* violation of the speed limit would lead to the system's collapse sooner rather than later (i.e. both due to massive public outcry and the bureaucratic hassles).

A speed limit should never be set at the utlima thule of safety, anyway. Automatic ticketing shouldn't be utilized for low level policing but for genuine safety infractions, for clear, unambiguous, flagrant, conscious--or if not truly negligent--road violations and safety transgressions. The police and highway patrol should still be around to make judgment calls about whether lesser speed violations merit ticketing. IMO.

I get your points, but it also seems to me that if you're arguing for setting up speed cameras to only capture drivers going 12+ over the speed limit, then the speed limit is set way too low for that respective road.  Based on my observation, most 485 traffic seems to be traveling somewhere between 75 mph and 85 mph, with no real issues.  Why not just change the speed limit to 85 mph or 90 mph, and then aggressively enforce it? 

And/or - this is something that would have to be implemented going forwards - stop designing and building roads to standards much higher than the speed limits reflect.  People generally drive at speeds they feel comfortable with, and if you're designing an interstate to a 90 mph standard and then trying to limit speeds to 70 mph (or something like that), then drivers will routinely ignore the posted 70 mph posted speed limit because going 85 mph feels comfortable and relatively safe to them.

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Because people have crappy old cars, huge suv and aren't competent at that speed. Some are many not. The most dangerous situation is large variance in speed. This will never happen so let's stick to how to enforce.

I am not sure about radar cameras myself. But I strongly feel we need red light cameras in congested areas. I watch rush hour in downtown and it's the wild west and the police who are there, usually in large numbers, evidently aren't tasked with traffic violations.

I was ticketed in NZ for 5 over and complained to the cop. Her reply was it's a limit not a guide.  If your over you get a ticket. I wasn't planning on going back but my wife made me pay the fine. :tw_bawling:

Edited by elrodvt
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49 minutes ago, elrodvt said:

Because people have crappy old cars, huge suv and aren't competent at that speed. Some are many not. The most dangerous situation is large variance in speed. This will never happen so let's stick to how to enforce.

I am not sure about radar cameras myself. But I strongly feel we need red light cameras in congested areas. I watch rush hour in downtown and it's the wild west and the police who are there, usually in large numbers, evidently aren't tasked with traffic violations.

I was ticketed in NZ for 5 over and complained to the cop. Her reply was it's a limit not a guide.  If your over you get a ticket. I wasn't planning on going back but my wife made me pay the fine. :tw_bawling:

Then why do we have yearly vehicle inspections?  There are always going to be some cars that aren't capable of high speeds, but that's why there are multiple lanes going in each direction on 485.  Also, the left lane is supposed to be for passing, and if drivers would get out of the way by moving out of the left lane once they are done passing a slower car, it would instantly reduce potential conflict by lessening the urge for faster drivers to change lanes constantly because no one else has any lane discipline.

I do agree about red light cameras though.  It's far too rare to not see numerous cars running a red light at basically every single intersection.  Even when police are present, I've never ever seen someone get pulled over for running a red light.

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Wishing for Lane discipline won't make it happen. We have no driver ed. Once you get South of Md and east of the Mississippi it simply doesn't exist. I assume you don't think 18 wheelers should go 100? And I'm not sure how the junk cars are on the road but they are. Expecting 80 yr old to drive 90 or stay in the correct lane is not happening. Also, as a past 911 driver I know what it's like to be going 100 and have some move into your lane going 70. Terrifying. It's very hard to judge how fast someone coming from behind is going.  I'll give you that in CO (West in general) on smooth wide open roads and lane discipline 90 makes some sense to me and that's usually were I sit. To my wallets detriment. :-)

Btw, Ironically, the police are chronic traffic law offenders, playing on their computers, speeding for no reason and never signaling. And so on. Does that drive anyone else nuts?

So, how can we turn on the red light cameras? Fortunately (unfortunately?) most times of day speed isn't a real issue on the highways. Too many cars clogging it up. :tw_rage: Bigger issue is people bored to tears and texting.

Edited by elrodvt
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There has to be a years long shift to a much more rigorous Driver's Ed, as well as universal disabling of texting/app use in a moving vehicle, then we can talk about upping speed limits. There are people who don't have the training to drive in a parking lot at 15mph, and those folks sure as hell don't have the capability to drive a car at 90mph.

In many countries that have speed cameras on highways there are ample warnings that 'cameras are ahead' and yet they still rack up tons of revenue in fines, but allows anyone with half a brain to avoid getting a ticket. I'm fully supportive of those, though it still boggles the mind how people get ticketed by them...

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I grew up in Virginia, took Driver's Ed and got my license there.  I was taught the left lane was the passing lane, and if someone approached from behind while you were in said passing lane, proper rules to the game meant you need to move to the right lane.  When I moved to Charlotte I had to get my NC license and had to take a written test.  I failed my first "practice test" because one of the questions was "what lane is the passing lane?"  I learned this in Driver's Ed- it's the left, of course!  WRONG!  I quickly learned that NC has NO PASSING LANE.  

It's chaos out there.

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Has anyone else around town noticed the neglect of a lot of roads in around town lately or is it just me? I seems like all over I’m seeing overgrown mediums begging to be cut, gravel/sand debris build up on roads and highways, trash, broke down vehicles left to sit, and crumbling or potholed roads. Even in places like Providence Road from Fairview to uptown. Of all places I Never would expect that there but it’s been terrible lately every time I’ve driven it. Over the last year or so it seems to be trending this way all around town, not just beer bug related. I know certain areas are getting upgrades to infrastructure and I’ve seen areas are getting general maintenance/upkeep. Perhaps it’s just happening slowly? Perhaps a lot of the deterioration has happened suddenly all at once? I’ve lived here 18years now and never seen it like this. I’m wondering what’s the deal?


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1 hour ago, Yo Diaz! said:

Has anyone else around town noticed the neglect of a lot of roads in around town lately or is it just me? I seems like all over I’m seeing overgrown mediums begging to be cut, gravel/sand debris build up on roads and highways, trash, broke down vehicles left to sit, and crumbling or potholed roads. Even in places like Providence Road from Fairview to uptown. Of all places I Never would expect that there but it’s been terrible lately every time I’ve driven it. Over the last year or so it seems to be trending this way all around town, not just beer bug related. I know certain areas are getting upgrades to infrastructure and I’ve seen areas are getting general maintenance/upkeep. Perhaps it’s just happening slowly? Perhaps a lot of the deterioration has happened suddenly all at once? I’ve lived here 18years now and never seen it like this. I’m wondering what’s the deal?


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If it's maintained by NCDOT, that is your answer. NCDOT is in horrific financial shape between last year's hurricanes and then the massive drop in gas-tax revenue. They've frozen all projects that aren't already under construction, and I'm sure they've dialed maintenance way back. 

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18 minutes ago, tozmervo said:

If it's maintained by NCDOT, that is your answer. NCDOT is in horrific financial shape between last year's hurricanes and then the massive drop in gas-tax revenue. They've frozen all projects that aren't already under construction, and I'm sure they've dialed maintenance way back. 

So when does it become a necessary thing for them to mow grass or clean up debris?  Is there a definition by NCDOT that would require them to do so - like a blockage of line of sight for driving purposes, or an impediment for right of way driving?  Not sure if i'm making a sane point here.  I mean what is the high water mark for them to mow the grass?  Does it have to be 3 feet high?

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The trash has been terrible since we moved here 6 years ago. I was shocked coming from co and vt. It's an embarrassment. Leave the airport and get on the Billy Graham trash-pike. Great first impression.

 

I also seem to remember they can't use the prison slave labor anymore?

Edited by elrodvt
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NCDOT also handed out $39 million more than expected in employee raises last year, and as of May had paid $600 million in settlements/claims as a result of the unconstitutional Map Act. Total settlements could eventually approach $1 billion.
 

State audit concludes NCDOT improperly spent millions on raises; the agency disagrees

Audit: NCDOT overspent hundreds of millions because of poor budgeting and oversight

Supreme Court: NCDOT must compensate Map Act property owners for lost market value


I can't find the article, but NCDOT has confirmed there will be less maintenance. Grass mowing on major thoroughfares was decreased from six(?) times a year to three(?). They haven't awarded a major highway contract since March since they dropped below their minimum "cash floor."

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