Monday, August 23, 2010

Being Driven Insane...Literally!

I'm extremely frustrated tonight. Today was a really bad day out on the roads. Construction was EVERYWHERE. That's only just barely an exaggeration. Everywhere I drove, there was some long delay because of illogical lane closures at the worst possible times.

I won't bother going into details as it would take too long. But I will say that the evening ended with arguably the worst delay I've experienced in a very long time: Deerfoot Trail (southbound at about Country Hills Blvd) was at a near-standstill because of paving work being done (paving between Beddington Blvd and 64th Avenue) at 7:00PM because they closed the center and right lanes, forcing everyone left. It took nearly an hour to drive about three kilometers. Something isn't right with this picture.

Is it just me, or is there something seriously wrong with this whole construction brewhaha? Calgary has been notorious for construction delays over the last several years, but why has this become accepted? I understand that work needs to be done...roads crack and traffic volume exceeds route limitations, which leads to a need for paving or expanding. However, why is it necessary to have countless construction zones active at the same time? Today alone, I had to squeak through THIRTEEN construction zones, and the route in question was not very long. Why can't resources be pooled to a few construction projects at a time? More manpower would mean quicker completion.

Does anyone else out there think that the government (municipal or provincial depending on what construction site is in question) should be held accountable for this bullshit? Is it unreasonable to expect that if the government cannot formulate a logical and realistic plan for revitalizing our streets, then the government should have an alternate plan for traffic flow? For example, there is a buttload of construction going on between Airdrie and Calgary, sometimes culminating in terribly long delays. But there's no other reasonable way for commuters to drive...the closest parallel is the old Center Street, but it's a few kilometers to the west of the highway. WHY didn't the provincial government remake the old service highway that ran right along the current #2 highway and THEN do highway construction? Give the people a second route to ease volume and make life a lot easier for everyone involved.

If helping ease traffic woes is not possible, then how about compensation? The city could compensate its people for their wasted fuel while idling, their wasted time, and perhaps even mental issues from all the frustrations that result. It would be taxpayer money anyway, so only fair we should get it back.

Also, should the government not be responsible for the chaos that these construction projects cause when interfering with rush hour traffic? I would even settle for those who make these decisions to stand before the people and DEFEND the plans they make, because most of the time these projects seem to have no intelligent basis. It seems like a dozen monkeys get into a room and throw construction proposals into a hat, and pick what gets done at random.

I often joke that the onslaught of construction delays in the city is actually a carefully created experiment to test the limits of Calgarians (and those in the surrounding areas). An experiment to see just how far the people as a whole will be pushed before outrage and retaliation ensues. Yes, this is not actually what is going on, but when you think logically, it is a much better explanation than anything the city planners would ever provide.

Maybe I'm out of line here. I'm writing through my frustration. But I haven't enjoyed a construction-free drive in over five years and I'm just so sick of it. Calgarians need to stand up for this nonsense. But no one will. Apathy breeds apathy. And I haven't the patience to start a one-man war on the group-think construction atrocities around town.

Ugh, and you people wonder why I don't like to drive. Now someone pick me up and take me for a milkshake. Though guess what...there's construction on the way.

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