This was quite a traffic week and I still don't know why it has been more difficult than any other given week. The weather was generally mild. There weren't huge events. Driving has been a daunting task -- from downtown all the way up through Gwinnett and back down to the south of town where some bull has been roaming around without a care in the world. No, I'm not describing about what's going on inside the U.S. Congress. Apparently, there's an actual bull roaming around the south of the Metro who goes by the name of Kevin. Kevin has been grazing near I-675 for about six months. Whenever Kevin comes out of the woods to dine, the local emergency call center lights up with requests for someone to save poor Kevin before an 18-wheeler makes him dinner.
On Tuesday, the HOT lanes set an $8 record - which is equal to charging the automobile 52 cents per mile. I suppose that high price occurred because of high automobile volume. Indeed many say that the price is ridiculous, but it is a bargain if one joins a carpool. Apparently, carpool participants can change their HOT lane status and they will not be charged an exorbitant rate. It's honestly a love-hate idea with the HOT lanes. On the one hand, some feel that the HOT lanes are needed for important folks to get to important places fast and the lanes get one to think about a road's expense. On the other, some feel that the whole idea isn't fair and some go far enough to describe the situation "double taxation without representation" and even labeled it all "traffic apartheid." And no, that label did not come from The Carter Center. "Traffic apartheid" might be an intense description for the HOT lanes, but to me, the whole toll thing makes driving from Point A to Point B a bit more complicated. On Wednesday, even a HOT lane wouldn't have helped me when a wreck occurred at the Georgia 400 merge onto I-85 South. The HERO units lived up to their names by quickly clearing the accident.
Aside from the HOT lane mess, Thursday afternoon was busy with multiple police chases. As I was driving up I-85 North, I noticed a helicopter hovering over a car-choked Buford-Spring Connector. Obviously, there was an accident. On my left, is the typical afternoon-gridlocked I-85 South with typical emergency vehicles trying to make their way through that daily nightmare. This time, it was a bit different as I noticed that the police vehicles were from Gwinnett. I flipped on the radio to quickly learn that some thugs led cops on a chase into Midtown after they invaded a Buford home. It's safe to assume that the thugs are saying to themselves: "Note to self: Next time I lead cops on a chase, I will not drive into rush hour traffic in Midtown Atlanta." Aside from the Gwinnett home invasion/chase, there was another unrelated chase in Douglas County. This one was a Dillard's shoplifter who ran into a deputy's car. I would love to know how much these criminals cost the public on Thursday.
It seems that no matter where one is in Metro, there is gridlock due to so many factors including general volume and a lack of alternative routes and a lack of transportation choices. Gwinnett County's Pleasant Hill Road's Diverging Diamond, new Georgia 400 ramps in Midtown Atlanta, the widened turn lanes on Peachtree Corners' Peachtree Parkway, the Georgia 400 hospital-area interchange and other projects are all Band-Aids. Nothing will improve until the Metro can decrease its automobile volume.
Sometimes everything happens at once and this past week proved that theory. Still, I don't know why it has been so bad.