A better exodus plan

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.

What exodus system?

Poll ended at Mon Sep 20, 2004 5:01 pm

Keep the existing system
13
36%
Keep the existing system
13
36%
Use the proposed system or similar
3
8%
Use the proposed system or similar
3
8%
Look for a different system
2
6%
Look for a different system
2
6%
 
Total votes: 36

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bradtem
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A better exodus plan

Post by bradtem » Wed Sep 08, 2004 5:01 pm

If you've spent hours in the exodus line, you know there has to be a better way. Not just to deal with the cheaters and lane changers as the rest, but to stop people from waiting in line, idling engines, kicking up dust instead of relaxing in camp.

Heres' a preliminary idea. Each vehicle that enters the city would get an exodus card. Pre-exodus they would hand it back to the gate folks. Once exodus begins (Sunday about 10am) they would, slightly before being ready to leave, zip over by bicycle to Exodus stations at 3 or 4 locations around the city. (Berlin, Tokyo and Center Camp, for example.) There they would get a card giving them their 15 minute exodus window. The window might be in just 15 minutes, it might be 3 hours in the future during the peak.

(People going north to Alturas bound for Oregon, etc. would get a no-wait card to leave any time. They might have to prove it with a car registration or similar.)

At the gate there would be a parking lot/line for the upcoming windows, as well as a parking lot for "as available" departures.

If you had a 3pm card, you would get into that area from 2:45 to 3:15 (pushing it!) From 3 to 3:15 that lot would zoom right out to the road. If it empties before 3:15 then folks in the 3:15 line would be marched through, and some from the "as available" lot.

If you missed your window, too bad. You must now go to the "as available" lot and wait, unless you can demonstrate a vehicle breakdown or similar. You can't just trade in your time slot for a later one. Otherwise people would ask to pick up time slots well before they really were ready to go. The goal is to push people to only get their card when they really are ready to go, or certain they can go within 15 minutes.

Once the peak is over the as-availables can zoom out. This would also be reported on BMIR so those in the as-available lot can go back to camp and wait if they want. If you wanted, you could create a 2nd stage system to hold places in the as-available lot.

This may sound a bit complex but it's similar to what we have now. Now you drive to the end of the line, and you advance inch by inch until all the cars in front of you have gotten through the traffic controls. In this system, your card holds your place, and you go to a direct exit lot when your car would have made it there the slow way.

Less pollution, more time in camp. And fairer to the people from the Northwest who use the alternate route, since the traffic controls exist to manage the volume on 447.

You would put your car in your windshield. Exodus crew would look for it as you moved through the system. Cops would ticket you and send you back if you cheated.

Of course, there is some fun in the exodus line. I had a great time walking along the line handing out our extra ice cream. But I would rather not have been in the line at all.

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robbidobbs
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Post by robbidobbs » Wed Sep 08, 2004 5:18 pm

I worked Exodus, and here are some suggestions to solve your problem:

1) listen to BMIR for when to leave. It was dead out there Sunday. It was moderately quiet on monday morning. It was a cluster-fuck by noon monday. BMIR checks in with Exodus on an hourly basis. BMIR implored participants NOT to leave between monday mid-morning and evening. BMIR implored people to pack Sunday night, and leave early monday. But noooooo. Everyone has their excuses for their behavior, and they are just that...excuses.
2) volunteer for Exodus, and you'll quickly discover that we're out there doing the best we can given the WALL of people who choose to ignore point 1.
3) your complex "claim ticket" idea won't work. Period.

The person who you can discuss this issue with is Ranger Odwally. Find the contact info via the burningman site.

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bradtem
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Post by bradtem » Wed Sep 08, 2004 5:20 pm

Well, could you elaborate on what you mean "won't work, period." What will go wrong?

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stuart
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Post by stuart » Wed Sep 08, 2004 5:27 pm

in my handful of years I have never had an exodus problem. Only way I could get out faster would be to speed.
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~

Post by sparkletarte » Wed Sep 08, 2004 6:18 pm

It was way, way, way better and smoother and faster than I thought it would be. Good job exodi!

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Post by TheMuse » Wed Sep 08, 2004 6:47 pm

It might also help to NOT have someone with a megaphone going around the camp yelling at people to "get the fuck out" of BM during the peak Exodus times.
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PetsUntilEaten
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y

Post by PetsUntilEaten » Wed Sep 08, 2004 6:52 pm

won't work period ;

for starters:

• i'm luckly to find my house keys much less a card
• big admin needing labor & resources
• people won't bother / listen
• current system works & people will resent the attempt to fit them in cute little slots just to make your life easier - and then choose to ignore it as often as the no peeing on the playa rule
• i refuse to be tagged & carded on principle
• i enjoy chaos - and know chaos will reign

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Tancorix
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Post by Tancorix » Wed Sep 08, 2004 8:30 pm

How about more exits? Not everyone is taking 447 South. Have a separate exit for the Alturas / OR / WA people so they can get on to 447 and take a chunk of vehicles out of the main Exodus stream heading South, and maybe one for the Jungo Road crowd too...

All in all I had a 2 hour Exodus this year and I have to give the team credit for handling it as well as they did. Also one thing I didn't see was anyone asking about voting or other things...I thought there was supposed to be people asking you on the way out to get involved in stuff. All I got was a handout for the Anti-Sempra powerplant mess.

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Post by Ivy » Wed Sep 08, 2004 9:15 pm

We were greeted by the "real world greeters" on our way out. I was personally pleased to see that they were not solely focused on the voting issue, but encouraging people to participate in the "default world" in a myriad of ways, in any way possible.

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25 cars per minute

Post by DoctorIknow » Wed Sep 08, 2004 10:28 pm

I counted many times on Monday while waiting in line for hours, and it appeared about 25 cars per minute were hitting the asphalt.

As I approached the highway, I noticed HUGE gaps between cars exiting. It was like "Oh, the car I'm behind just got on the highway, I guess I should see how slow I can get my foot on the accelerator and take the next ten seconds to get to five miles per hour."

My suggestion would be for the exodus people to inform drivers to SPEED UP in the last 200 feet.

Otherwise, the four lane funnel to one lane and back to two just before the highway was brilliant.

I leave every year when I get my camp packed and couldn't care less about if there is a line or not. Why are people so upset about waiting in line? Jeez, they seemed to be fine on Sunday nite waiting two hours for the temple to start burning.

This years last BM amusement for me was being at about 7:30 and Sedna in a line that was certainly going to be hours and watching people cut in WAY in front of those waiting. OF COURSE they could see the end of the line! It's too bad there are more memories of assholes from a week at burningman than there are similar observations in an average week in a major city with far more people.

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Re: A better exodus plan

Post by HughMungus » Thu Sep 09, 2004 10:30 am

What was wrong with the exodus? We left on Sunday, came back, then left again and it didn't take "hours". Organizing the exodus would be more un-necessary organization (like the organized fire spinning and drumming during the burn, which I thought was terrible because it was too organized; whatever happened to letting fire spinners do what they want?).
It's what you make it.

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Chai Guy
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Post by Chai Guy » Thu Sep 09, 2004 3:43 pm

How about more exits? Not everyone is taking 447 South. Have a separate exit for the Alturas / OR / WA people so they can get on to 447 and take a chunk of vehicles out of the main Exodus stream heading South, and maybe one for the Jungo Road crowd too...
This is probably the best and only viable solution I've heard. It's a bottle neck and there isn't much we can do to fix it. Just be patient, have something cold to drink and don't act like an a-hole and try to pass everyone on 447, you won't get home any faster.

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Badger
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Post by Badger » Thu Sep 09, 2004 3:50 pm

Ammend the above poll to include the following:

"Next year I plan on contacting Odwally@burningman.com to offer my services to the Exodus group who were not only critically understaffed this year but who gave up 8 hrs of their playa time while on site to get certified by the state of Nevada in order to contribute to the crew to insure a safe and timely exit from the event."
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Post by jlpc4004 » Thu Sep 09, 2004 3:55 pm

I thought they did an EXCELLENT job. Thank gawd none of the A**SHOLES that passed unsafely on the road out didnt cause any "head ons" Dumb Asses...

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Dork
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Post by Dork » Thu Sep 09, 2004 4:07 pm

I would vote for putting a little graph in the survival guide telling people the anticipated wait times at different times. It might convince a few to think about leaving at a different time if they know it will save 2 hours of sitting in their car. Maybe the greeters could give people a quick reminder as well. Once people are in it's difficult to reach enough people to make a difference.

It would be wonderful if the 0-2MPH shuffle heading out could be replaced by a complete stop for 10 minutes followed by a 10MPH stretch, etc but that would be difficult to coordinate.

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Post by Rian Jackson » Thu Sep 09, 2004 4:08 pm

Badger wrote:Ammend the above poll to include the following:

"Next year I plan on contacting Odwally@burningman.com to offer my services to the Exodus group who were not only critically understaffed this year but who gave up 8 hrs of their playa time while on site to get certified by the state of Nevada in order to contribute to the crew to insure a safe and timely exit from the event."
Well said.

I would have like Rangers on staff to know where the Exodus team is. I went almost as far as the blacktop, hoping to help, bearing alcohol and tobacco and food, energy and a yen for heckling and helping out my city. I only found one Exodus person, and he didn't know where anyone else was.

Later i learned that they were spread all the way into Gerlach.... but it would have been great to have info available to hook up with those uber fabulous volunteers.

oh, and for any of you bitching, a lot of them work from 7:30 am for as many as 12 or 14 hours to make sure your asses leave the city without major incident.
surlier than thou

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diane o'thirst
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Post by diane o'thirst » Thu Sep 09, 2004 4:09 pm

Of my seven Burns, this was only the second time I got caught in an Exodus backup. I knew I was going to, so I just adjusted my mind and attitude to accept it and just took it easy.

My friends asked me to stay in camp and wait for it to die down, but I made the argument that it's better to get in line and wait than wait and wait and wait and wait and wait for the Exodus line to thin out. If you get in the queue, it's only two hours. If you sit and wait, you could be there all night.

Kudos, bouquets and Shivan boons to the lovely people at 7 o'clockish and Sedna who set up a windshield wash station and offered peppermint spritzes. Wish there'd have been more like that.

The only thing I didn't like was getting pamphletted and panhandled on the way out. Sorry to DPW, I had some stuff I could have given you, but it was deeply packed. I'll remember to pack a DPW Donation box and keep it readily accessible on the exodus next year.

Sort of off topic but not entirely...I was in a caravan going to the Pacific NW on the way home. When we were passing through Lassen just west of Susanville, we were about two miles from the fire line and there was also some road construction happening, so we parked for about a half-hour and had a friendly little on-the-road Decompression schmooze while waiting for the pilot car to come :)
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Ivy
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Post by Ivy » Thu Sep 09, 2004 4:32 pm

My friends asked me to stay in camp and wait for it to die down, but I made the argument that it's better to get in line and wait than wait and wait and wait and wait and wait for the Exodus line to thin out. If you get in the queue, it's only two hours. If you sit and wait, you could be there all night.

We got in line at 3pm Monday due to bad planning, slow packing, me packing the car keys in the tent in the car, etc. BMIR estimated the wait to the GATE (note: not to the pavement, just to the gate) at 3 hours. Plus the 1-2 hours after that to the pavement. I had friends on the other side of the city who weren't leaving for a day or two so we said "fuck it," and got out of line and hung out with them for a few hours. They fed us a tasty dinner and everything. When we got back in line at 6pm, we didn't even have to wait to get to the gate, the line was already short enough that it was after the gate, and it only took us the regular amount of time to the pavement.

I was much happier pulling out of line and spending the three hours in camp with friends than sitting parked on the street in the car for 3 hours. We were both way less cranky for the drive back, too.

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bradtem
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Post by bradtem » Thu Sep 09, 2004 4:41 pm

Indeed, for me this was also my 2nd time in an exodus backup. And generally it is managed decently well as far as the system goes.

However, the concept of "taking a number" isn't that foreign or hard to handle. We do it every day in butcher shops, DMV and many other places. In those places, you sit around and wait for your number to be called, but because we know the exact volume of vehicles/hour we plan to put onto 447 we can do better, and tell you what time your car would go through.

Each slot would have a nice coloured card. Everybody in the right line would have the same card. It's not that complex. Exodus crew could even collect the cards as people enter the lot for their time slot for re-use next year, diverting those without a card.

447 can handle 450 cars/hour, meaning each 15 minute slot would contain 115 vehicles. That's not really very many to have to handle, nor a very large lot (or simply a lane, not a lot) .

You can do it because if put the staff into making the pools work, you don't need the staff as much in other places.

You have 3 lanes: Lanes A and B alternate between being the filling lane and the exiting lane. Lane C is the "as available" lane and it stretches onto the outer city street on one side. Those not taking 447 can enter the currently filling lane. 3 Exodus staff at entrance to filling lane, 2 at exit end of lanes to move small gates. County sherrifs or BLM rangers to stop and cite anybody not following the lanes -- be handy for them to do something to help the community in directing traffic and not just arrest pot smokers. One or two staff (or rangers) at Center camp, Tokyo and Berlin and perhaps one radio coordinator.

What could go wrong? Well, some people would try to jump lanes. You do need LE to stop them if they do. Some people would not understand the system, though it was given to them when they got their exit card at the gate when they came in. Some people might show up at the lane being filled up without the card for that time, and refuse to divert to the as-available lane or back to the city -- again this is where having a burly Sherrif makes a lot of sense. Indeed, we pay these folks enough you think they could provide staff for the exodus since their duties in the city are dwindling. If a deputy is the one who directs your car to a lane, you are much less likely to argue about it.

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robbidobbs
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Post by robbidobbs » Sat Sep 11, 2004 8:41 pm

And you want to invite law enforcement into MORE of our lives????????
And you're smoking WHAT now?????????

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bradtem
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Post by bradtem » Sat Sep 11, 2004 10:35 pm

Law enforcement comes to burning man in greater numbers than we want, often to enforce laws we would be just as well if they didn't enforce.

However, there are some laws we do want enforced, and directing traffic is a tried and true use of law enforcement. I would like to hope LE would not be needed, that an exodus volunteer telling cars which lane to join would be followed. And would be happy to suggest trying it that way, but if it didn't work, I see no reason a cop can't be asked to perform that role.

BRC is big now, and one reason the burn moved to Saturday was that 447 can't drain the city in a day. As the city grows this problem expands even more. LE can help.

I would even go further and push for the closure of 447 northbound from Nixon to BRC during the 3 biggest hours of exodus. Have a helicopter ready for an emergency trip north. BRC is probably a significant portion of the ANNUAL traffic on 447, so it makes sense to devote both lanes for a few hours.

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Post by spongemonkey » Sat Sep 11, 2004 11:08 pm

The only thing I see as a way to improve exodus is to pack things better!
Make sure chairs, frisbees, water, and plenty of snacks are close at hand.
Get out, pick up some moop, meet the people behind you, have a treat, share a beer, make freakin best of it!

I allieviated some of my time by making a silly sign and walking down the line of cars so people could read it. I made dozens of people laugh and it made the time go by much faster.

Save Exodus Man!

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Post by geekster » Sat Sep 11, 2004 11:21 pm

If there was some kind of indicator ... maybe on a tower ... something that can be seen from everywhere in camp that indicated the length of the exodus line, that might help. Just a single color panel ... or flag even.

If I am getting ready to leave and I can see that there is currently a 3 hr wait to get out, I might decide to stay put where there are some potties rather than get in line. Less than a 1hr wait ... Green flag. 1 to 2 hrs ... yellow flag, 3 or more hours, red flag changed at 30 minute intervals as needed. Giving some feedback on the current state of exodus might help the community to self-modulate the flow.
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AntiM
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Post by AntiM » Sun Sep 12, 2004 8:32 am

This was our first year staying for the temple burn. I knew we couldn't check into the hotel until after 4 pm on Monday, so it seemed pointless to pack super early and go sit in Reno all covered with dust. Besides, the drivers got more sleep. Hey, the survival guide had suggested staying until later on Monday, and we bought it. Why didn't we have the radio on early? We're in Hushville and didn't even think about that until late afternoon. We could see the back-up on Sedna and waited, but finally decided to get our little caravan into line on 5:00. Might as well wait in line as in a dusty camp with no shade.

Now comes the line jumper story. So we're sitting by our vehicles, getting in to move every now and again, chatting up the neighbors, when the Sedna traffic begins to move a bit. One man was back talking and that left a gap in the line until he could get to his truck. We all watched a silver SUV with a blue trailer drive up through the now empty blocks from well behind all the lines and pull into the gap. Traffic stopped again. I mulled it over with my group and I felt someone should go talk to the driver. I wasn't driving, so I decided to walk over a couple blocks and chat.

I asked the driver behind if that was indeed the vehicle which had jumped line. It was, so I walked up to her and asked her why she felt it was okay to get in line like that. She said she hadn't done anything wrong and she'd already been in line several hours. What have all these other people you just got in front of been doing?! But she was in no mood to listen. I didn't swear at her, but I did scold and called her a bad, bad, bad, bad person for line jumping. Then I got stupid.

The line started moving again, and for some reason I decided to stand in front of her SUV and let some people pass. They looked very happy, lots of smiles and waves. The she said, "That's it lady," and put her SUV in gear. She bumped into me. I stepped back surprised. Then she did it again, harder. Two steps back, and my brain still wasn't processing that this angry woman had a two ton monster pointed at me. The third bump bounced me backward and at that point I really screamed and shrieked. Holy shit, this woman was actually going to hurt me! At some point in the bumping I know I thwacked her hood really hard with my flat hand; it hurt like hell the rest of the day. I got out of the way, no point in risking truly serious injury or death, but by that point Ranger Genius, who had watched the entire thing, showed up to intervene. I'm not entirely sure what their conversation entailed, but I do know she pulled out of line and fell in at the back of the 5:30 line. I went back to our vehicle shaking. I swear that was one of my most idiotic moments, to believe someone would say, "oh you're right, I'll play nice and let these good folk I have wronged go by."

Really, how stupid am I? My brother thinks I should have pressed assault charges. Just goes to show how mindless Exodus makes some people.

Funny, we didn't really mind the wait at all. And I too minded very much being pamphleted on the way out. Thanks for the MOOP I didn't read.

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Post by bullD » Sun Sep 12, 2004 9:30 am

bradtem wrote:Indeed, for me this was also my 2nd time in an exodus backup. And generally it is managed decently well as far as the system goes.

However, the concept of "taking a number" isn't that foreign or hard to handle. We do it every day in butcher shops, DMV and many other places. In those places, you sit around and wait for your number to be called, but because we know the exact volume of vehicles/hour we plan to put onto 447 we can do better, and tell you what time your car would go through.

Each slot would have a nice coloured card. Everybody in the right line would have the same card. It's not that complex. Exodus crew could even collect the cards as people enter the lot for their time slot for re-use next year, diverting those without a card.

447 can handle 450 cars/hour, meaning each 15 minute slot would contain 115 vehicles. That's not really very many to have to handle, nor a very large lot (or simply a lane, not a lot) .

You can do it because if put the staff into making the pools work, you don't need the staff as much in other places.

You have 3 lanes: Lanes A and B alternate between being the filling lane and the exiting lane. Lane C is the "as available" lane and it stretches onto the outer city street on one side. Those not taking 447 can enter the currently filling lane. 3 Exodus staff at entrance to filling lane, 2 at exit end of lanes to move small gates. County sherrifs or BLM rangers to stop and cite anybody not following the lanes -- be handy for them to do something to help the community in directing traffic and not just arrest pot smokers. One or two staff (or rangers) at Center camp, Tokyo and Berlin and perhaps one radio coordinator.

What could go wrong? Well, some people would try to jump lanes. You do need LE to stop them if they do. Some people would not understand the system, though it was given to them when they got their exit card at the gate when they came in. Some people might show up at the lane being filled up without the card for that time, and refuse to divert to the as-available lane or back to the city -- again this is where having a burly Sherrif makes a lot of sense. Indeed, we pay these folks enough you think they could provide staff for the exodus since their duties in the city are dwindling. If a deputy is the one who directs your car to a lane, you are much less likely to argue about it.
Ehhh,,, this of course would require some thinking by everybody. THINKING!!!! THOUGHT!!!!! WHAT!!!!
After a week in the desert the last thing I want to do is put some thought into when my time is coming and will I make it on time and and and and... I am in motion for sure but there is NOT MUCH thought happening, anybody agree with this?

The current system is fine. Perhaps another exit for northbound traffic would be good.

Proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance! ( Yeah, I finally got to use that one) Plan ahead, leave early or earlier...

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Post by YerNotDaBossOMe » Sun Sep 12, 2004 4:28 pm

I wrote and article on Exodus for the BRC Gazette, and I was impressed with the effort put into the whole afair. They have over 50 people involved in Exodus. That's a lot of organizing already, and I don't think adding cards and other devices will add much. No matter what organizational devices you employ you are still trying to get thousands of vehicles onto a single lane of blacktop at the peak hours. With 35,000 people leaving over two days you simply cannot avoid backups etirely. BTW...those peak hours were published in a number of places, including the Survival Guide and the Gazette article (10-4 Sunday and worse 1-4 on Sunday).

The bottom line is that if you leave when everyone else is leaving you will sit for a long time. There is no getting around that. Leave early, leave late, or wait. Those are the only choices.
There...I said it and I'm glad!

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bradtem
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Post by bradtem » Sun Sep 12, 2004 7:05 pm

It's not so simple. For example, as I noted I have normally left in a way to avoid the exodus line. However, this time we were a bit late getting everything together, and by the time we had, the line was getting longer. However, with an RV to return, waiting until 8pm to leave on Monday is not a great option. Going into the line when it's 2 hours long will still get you home faster than waiting 2 hours to enter it. Not 2 hours faster but sometimes each hour will count and that's why people enter the line even when it's long, among many reasons.

A reservation for an exit time, no matter how implemented, would let you spend time in the city instead of in a line. From an ecological standpoint, it would also prevent a lot of time with cars idling engines, and that alone is worth it. It would still be worthwhile trying to get out at a non-peak time of course.

The exodus team generally does work hard but...

a) This time a line of vehicles rode up the right side, outside the marked off exit area. When they got to the merge, they just merged, instead of being turned back. Annoying to those who played nice.

b) Likewise the 4 lines advanced in batches, as the crew properly let the lines go through in groups. However, some people insisted on lane changing even with the flow being regulated, just messing it up for others. I don't know much of a cure for that -- except the reservation system I've described.

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Post by bullD » Sun Sep 12, 2004 7:59 pm

Damn,,, you just got the last word didn't you?????
he he he :lol:

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Post by diane o'thirst » Sun Sep 12, 2004 8:10 pm

AntiM — I agree with your brother. Hopefully Ranger Genius had the presence of mind to get a description, license plate number and bust their ass to the sheriff's men. That's felonious vehicular assault with malice, since she did it thrice: once is a mistake, twice is a screwup, thrice is malicious intent. The driver should do time for what she did and lose her vehicle and right to drive, at the very least. She should NEVER be allowed back in Black Rock City.

Two-ton mechanical monster versus a woman weakened by chemo is nothing short of infamous and monstrous. It would be terrible that you survive cancer only to be flattened by an asshole with an entitlement complex.
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BAS
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Post by BAS » Mon Sep 13, 2004 8:39 pm

AntiM-- I agree with Diane and your brother! That person in the SUV should be prosecuted, no matter where or why she did it. I hope she isn't allowed back to BM!

I hope you put a nice size dent in the hood of her SUV when you hit it with your hand!


Brian (who has encountered more than enough of line jumpers durning road construction season here up north!)
"Nothing is withheld from us which we have conceived to do.
Do things that have never been done."
--Russell Kirsch

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