Monday, November 16, 2009

1001 Ways To Tune Up The World, Number Forty-Eight.

48. Use metered lanes to close a lane when doing traffic repairs, thereby avoiding long backups when jerks opt to ignore the lane closing signs.

I solved this problem long ago, but have never had the forum, until now, to present it to the waiting world, which I assume will welcome it with open arms.

How many times have you been sitting in a line of traffic on a road where they reduce the number of lanes up ahead to do some repairs, and while you sit, you keep watching cars zip up alongside you and move on, ignoring the "lane closed" sign and edging in farther up while you sit there, like a sucker, fuming?

And how many times have you decided to do just that because, hey, if everyone else is going to do it, why shouldn't you? (Be honest. I'm raising my own hand, here.) (I fight both sides of this issue, because I've crept up ahead, but once, I drove along in the soon-to-be-closed land pacing the car ahead of me and keeping everyone behind me from zooming up ahead, ignoring the honks and the guy who kept flipping me off.)

Everyone does that, zooms up ahead, because everyone does that; the line of law-abiding citizens who sit in the lane gets longer, more and more people opt to go up in the soon-to-be-closed lane and edge back in, and then society breaks down a little more until we're almost at anarchy. People get angry, people get into minor accidents, people cause trouble.

Metered lanes will end that, completely. All you do is this: Put a parking-ramp meter light, like they use on on-ramps for busy freeways, at the spot where the lane-closure begins. Then have it alternate right and left lanes, letting in first the one, then the other.

Presto! No incentive to creep up on the closed-lane, because you won't get through any faster. No punishment for those who obey the lane-closing signs. Just smooth traffic flow, and society keeps working a little longer.

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Prior entries:

13. Ban driving any kind of automobile, motorcycle or other personal vehicle within 1-2 miles of downtown in any city with a population of more than 100,000.

12. Abolish gym class; instead, teach kids to play musical instruments.

11. Change copyright laws to allow anyone to use anyone else's creative work provided that the copier pay 60% of the profit to the originator and that the copier not cast the original work in a negative light.

10. Have more sidewalk cafes and outdoor seating.

9. When you have to give someone a gift, ask them what they want, and then get that thing for them.

8. Never interrupt or finish someone's jokes.

7. Periodically, give up something you like for at least a month.

6. Switch to "E-money."

5. Have each person assigned one phone number, and then add an extension for the various phones and faxes that person might be reached at.

4. Abolish Mondays and Tuesdays.

3. Don't listen to interviews with athletes or comedians.

2. Have "personal cashiers" at the grocery store.

1. Don't earn more than $200,000 per year.

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