I was the one who closed all the traffic lanes   1 comment

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I was the one who closed all the traffic lanes!

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cones2

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DKA provided an actual traffic study for the State of New Jersey in which the act of studying traffic, backed up the traffic!

 

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All will remember when the NJ Governor’s chief of staff got in hot water for closing the George Washington Bridge lanes for a “traffic study”.   Well, I was the one who wrote the original traffic study that made everyone upset.  It was several years ago, when new emission testing regulations threatened the capacity of the existing New Jersey Motor Vehicle Inspection Stations.  As an Architect, I was hired by the Governor’s Office to study all of  the existing NJDMV Inspection Stations in 21 counties to determine how many new lanes needed to be built.  It was a $100,000 study  that looked at the vehicle inspection process from tip-over problems with  SUV’s to more stringent emission laws.   It also examined statistics and average inspections per worker.   By the way, the best time to get your car inspected is the middle of the morning, in the middle of the week in the middle of the month…..no lines at the most locations.

In order to test some theories, I commandeered a popular motor vehicle inspection station and crew and we tested our “dual lane vehicle theory”.   In essence, we discovered that adding lanes alongside an existing station was expensive and sometimes impractical due to land restrictions, but increasing the thru-put of existing lanes increased capacity without any construction.   The concept was that the  length of the existing lanes were underutilized; actually two cars could go through the test locations in the same time frame as one vehicle if sent in as a pair.  So we added equipment and inspectors to an existing lane and put up cones to build up enough traffic to put the dual-lane vehicle theory to the test.  It took a while for everyone to get the hang of it, but it worked.  With virtually no major construction, we doubled the capacity of the existing inspection stations by taking two cars through the process with duplicate inspections at the same time.   But then it happened….

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Angry motorist’s didn’t like being part of a study and demanded we stop the testing even though the theory actually began to work quite well.  It seems lane closures are never popular!

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In setting up the test facility and cones, we created some long lines outside the facility.   Unhappy customers waiting in line got quite vocal.   They saw the clip boards, stop watches and  commotion and demanded we stop the study.      So what happened to the theory?   Like the Indiana Jones movie, the study is buried in some warehouse somewhere and the State decided to build more lanes!  Your tax dollars at work!

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inseState auto inspection station, New Jersey, USA

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Some ideas are just ahead of their time and so the State built  more lanes rather than improve the capacity of what they had.  Using existing resources to better purpose and efficiency is a hallmark of sustainable design and Dennis Kowal Architects.

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DENNIS KOWAL ARCHITECTS  studies the problems and recommends the most efficient solutions.

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Posted January 10, 2012 by Dennis Kowal Architects in Master Planning

One response to “I was the one who closed all the traffic lanes

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  1. A timely post, as we eagerly follow the Christie traffic study crisis! And thanks for the inside tip that inspection lines are shortest in the middle of the week, middle of the month, middle of the morning. I shall use that info next month.

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