off topic: new car advice for senior

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On 10/03/2015 07:22 PM, Don Y wrote:

http://newstalkkgvo.com/study-on-nine-worst-designed-cities-in-the-world-names-montana-town/
Luckily the slant streets are residential so you don't have to deal with them unless you live there. They do force one of the main drags to go off at a 45 degree angle for a while though.

Street names don't play a big part in my navigation either. I know a few, mostly because they have bridges, so I'm pretty sure orange Street runs over the orange Street bridge. But then it does its 45 degree thing and changes its name and I start getting vague.
The worst city I've worked with is DC. A street segment can have up to 6 alternate names. You can even see that in google maps. Sometimes it's labeled Constitution Ave, sometimes US 50, sometimes US1.
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On 10/3/2015 11:36 PM, rbowman wrote:

The old part of Denver is oriented "on a slant" (i.e., NE-SW and SE-NW grid). But, move out a bit and everything "snaps" back to a N-S, E-W grid. It's as if someone looked at a map a bit later on and said, "Wait! a rigid grid layout ONLY MAKES SENSE if aligned with the four major compass points!" (Why?)

Here, roads take 90 degree turns and keep the same name -- except instead of being North Foobar Road, it is now East Foobar Road. And, the numbers jump from say 2800 North to 7200 East -- for NEIGHBORING properties!
In other places, a 90 degree turn changes the name of the road but you don't quite realize you are now on a different road and heading in an entirely different direction!

Only visited DC. And, there, got around mainly via the bomb shelters... er, subway!
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On 10/04/2015 12:56 AM, Don Y wrote:

We do computer aided dispatch for emergency responders and a good deal of my work is on the GIS side. Some of the GIS data we get is enough to give you heartburn. I've got a couple of tools I've developed that runs a sanity check on the data.
Do that for a while and you get a certain respect for Google's maps. Of course, Google has more people just working on their map product than we have in the whole company.
The worst is Puerto Rico. They're not very imaginative so they keep recycling street names in the same political boundary, if they bother naming the street. Street numbers are highly optional too. There's a USPS document that details addressing requirements and conventions. After doing their best to explain PR they eventually admit mail delivery often comes down to the letter carrier knowing who lives where in their part of town.
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On 10/4/2015 11:48 AM, rbowman wrote:

I have a friend who lives in England. His *house* has a *name*! WTF? Do you have to commit every house name to memory in order to get around?? (The house's name is unrelated to *his* name; sort of like vanity addresses in the US -- though I expect these are more "historical addresses"... like "Paul Revere's House")
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wrote:

You just ;look at the street signs on the corners, not the "route number" signs that are usually in the middle of the block, since that can change if they reroute something like US1 through the city
DC is really not bad if you understand the grid system for the "street" names, The numbers are what you would expect going north and south, east and west are letters and they skip J, X, Y and Z (I am not sure why) After W, they start with 2 syllable names, then 3 syllable names.
The avenues are diagonal and there is not really much system there. That is where all the circles (round abouts) are.
Once you get out of the original city part, things get a little more random. "places" pop up everywhere. Some fit the pattern (number or letter) others just appear. I assume it was a popular path that got paved. Anyone who thinks round abouts are the answer, never lived in DC. They work great until traffic overloads them and then they just become nightmare intersections with confusing lights and eventually tunnels.
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On 10/4/2015 9:32 AM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Supposedly, "roundabouts" (which we grew up calling "rotaries") were incorporated to the city's layout for defensibility. But, that's just reliance on a bit or lore from a high school Am. Hist. teacher. Control the "roundabout" and you have control over the arterials that feed into it.
[N.B. There are technical distinctions between roundabouts, rotaries, traffic circles, etc.]
The problem with "circular intersections" in the US is most folks encounter them so infrequently and with such trepidation that they make those drivers unsure/nervous when they *are* encountered. Most folks growing up with them take them in stride -- just like an on-ramp to a freeway, etc.
Statistically, they enhance safety at intersections for which they are appropriate.
There were a couple of (larger) traffic *circles* near one of my residences in MA that routed traffic effortlessly at freeway speeds. No one ever complained about entering/exiting them.
Here, we have some *stupid* intersections that look like an *excuse* for a circular intersection: a central hub that is barely a few feet across crammed into the center of a traditional intersection! I.e., all it does is force folks in each direction to veer off to the shoulders of each road to avoid whacking their inner tires on that "hub". And, gives all traffic the right "not to stop". <frown> Here, we have
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On 10/04/2015 01:48 PM, Don Y wrote:
[snip]

There used to be a traffic circle near here, that had a lot of traffic (5 highways). It was often blocked because a truck was going too fast and fell over. That circle has been replaces with a light.
There is another circle about 15 miles away, but it's not on any major highways and gets little traffic.
[snip]
--
82 days until the winter celebration (Friday December 25, 2015 12:00:00
AM for 1 day).
  Click to see the full signature.
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On 10/4/2015 2:16 PM, Mark Lloyd wrote:

I've frequently seen trucks wedged under low underpasses. It's not the underpasses' fault. :>

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On 10/04/2015 06:47 PM, Don Y wrote:

Well, most of the time. People have been know to repave and not change the signs. I took some time away from the high tech world in the 90's and drove a truck OTR, something I wanted to do when I was a kid. I had a delivery in Brooklyn so I snuck in at 3 AM. I got off the BQE and soon came to an underpass marked 12'. This was before GPSs and the thought of exploring Brooklyn with a 53' trailer in tow wasn't appealing. I was contemplating my next move when another trucker stopped, told me they had reworked the underpass and never changed the signs so I was good to go. I crept under, expecting to hear bad noises, but he was right.
Boston was the real joy, particularly Memorial Drive. It's well marked and accurate, but Mom & Pop bringing junior and his junk to Harvard or MIT in a rented U-Haul don't think the signs pertain to them.
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On 10/4/2015 7:15 PM, rbowman wrote:

I always found Storrow drive (esp around MGH) to be the one that got on my nerves, most. Too many roads that "had no place to grow up". Same sort of thing in NYC -- Henry Hudson, FDR, etc. I've learned that I *really* take comfort in median strips! A guardrail separating lanes with no shoulders and high traffic volume (at high speeds) doesn't set well with my peace of mind!
Here, we have bigger/wider/more divided roads IN TOWN!
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On 10/04/2015 09:22 PM, Don Y wrote:

I didn't drive on Storrow much. I worked at at 840 Memorial Dr between Western and Cambridge streets but I lived in NH. I had a room in Alston and would drive down Sunday night, park the car, and hoof it for the week. I later did some contract work for Orion after they'd moved to the old Schraft plant in Somerville, but it was the same deal. I did a lot of walking in Boston. Sometimes I'd take the train but it was usually faster to walk.
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On 10/4/2015 9:56 PM, rbowman wrote:

We lived in Medford, Arlington, Cambridge, etc. Work for me was Cambridge or ~Dedham. Wife worked in Beantown near the Fens. The School, Work, Home loop (~40-50mi) wasn't possible without a daily drive.
So, having a vehicle meant we'd frequent places further off (e.g., friends in Melrose, on the Lynnway, etc.
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On 10/04/2015 12:48 PM, Don Y wrote:

That traffic circle out by Flesh Pond was never in any danger of hitting freeway speeds. I lived in Springfield for a couple of years and had to get a MA DL. The only thing I remember from the written test was the one law pertaining to rotaries: thou shalt go counter-clockwise.
There was only one traffic circle near where I grew up. If nothing else rotaries were associated with Massachusetts and in New York we remembered how we almost had our own private little war with Massachusetts during the Revolution.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latham_Circle
The takeaway message from that article is:
"Prior to the 2002 work, the accident rate at the circle was about one per week, but were of low severity."

That's the one known and loved here. They're a blast on the bike and they're doable at a fairly brisk speed in the Yaris. For the favored ride, a F250 with the long bed and extended crew cab, they're a great way to destroy a couple of hundred bucks worth of tires.
http://www.ci.missoula.mt.us/911/Roundabouts
I like the part about bicyclists having a choice. Become a pedestrian for a while or die.
https://www.google.com/maps/@46.9198963,-114.0713645,179m/data =!3m1!1e3
I don't know how well the link will work, but it's a real gem. It's your basic traffic circle except if you're just taking the first 90 degree right leg there is a lane outside of the circle. You can also do that from the circle but it's pretty awkward. The signage sucks so there are quite a few oh shit moments as drivers realize they're in the wrong lane for whatever they wanted to do. Luckily, despite the grandiose street names it's a low traffic area.
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On 10/4/2015 7:03 PM, rbowman wrote:

[Is Big Joyce Chen's still there?]
Traffic moved through there at a pretty brisk pace when I lived near Spy Pond. Not 65MPH but surely not 35MPH. Come off 128, down 2 and zip around the rotary.
There were also two VERY large circles on the way to Melrose (?)... probably half mile or more in circumference?

Driver *in* rotary has the right of way. And, never 8stop* in rotary; if you screw up and find yourself in the wrong lane (larger rotaries) to make your desired exit, come around again! :>

There has been a push (though resisted) here for grade-separated intersections -- thru traffic (any direction) passes unimpeded. Folks wanting to exit or enter a roadway are forced to stop/merge. But, they are expensive to construct as you have to create artificial overpasses and underpasses.

Ours are obvious "afterthoughts". Someone decided that traffic in a particular area (typ residential) had increased and didn't want to invest in a stop sign! So, let's totally screw things up with this "pile of debris" in the middle of the roadway (doing nothing to increase the size/width of the intersection -- just placing obstacles in the middle!)

I've seen circles where there is an *inner* set of "paths". Others that allow you to enter the rotary and essentially make a U-turn -- heading back *out* the way you came in! (in England, they have some weird variations on this -- you never know which way someone in the intersection is likely to go!)
As with much of driving, folks who are hesitant tend to be the ones who muck things up! "Sh*t or get off the pot!"
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On 10/04/2015 08:53 PM, Don Y wrote:

Got me. I haven't been back in that area for close to 15 years.
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On Sun, 04 Oct 2015 11:48:39 -0700, Don Y

They are real popular in New Zealand (we were just there) and I am aware of how they are supposed to work from DC but the problem comes when the traffic overwhelms the circle. Because the car in the circle has the right of way, if it is a steady line of cars entering up stream of you, there is never a chance to enter. Then they have to install a light on the feeder roads and all of the advantages of the circle fade away. It also becomes an issue when they have multiple lanes. Even if you know where you are going, getting into the correct lane can be a hassle. I understand they may be safer on paper but that is just because all of the crashes are "rubbin" not hitting. It doesn't mean people are not swapping paint.
They ended up tunneling under the biggest circles in DC to keep the cars moving.
BTW I doubt "defense" had anything to do with the layout in DC. L'enfant wanted it to be just like Paris.
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On 10/4/2015 7:58 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

How is that any different from cars "stopped" in the middle of an overloaded conventional intersection? The problem lies with the drivers, not the intersections.

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On Sun, 04 Oct 2015 20:29:13 -0700, Don Y

If you need a traffic light to control the circle, why have the circle at all. The whole idea is it was supposed to make the traffic flow better. If everyone has to stop at a light before they can enter the circle it is just an unnecessary turn in the road.
The thing that might make some sense is in residential places where they call the circles a traffic calming device but moving traffic efficiently is the opposite of what they want to do. They are trying to discourage through traffic and slow it down.
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On 10/04/2015 10:32 AM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I haven't been in DC for years but the last time I got out of the touristy part I was wishing for a Bradley.

The city engineer here fell in love with roundabouts. Often that consists of planting flowers in the middle of the intersection of residential streets. They don't last too long. Being residential areas they tend to attract moving vans. 18 wheelers only bend in one place.
Some are larger and work fairly well. One I loathe is bigger than the flower pot version but is still too small. one car will fit into each quadrant but it's impossible to tell when the driver intends to leave the circle so all traffic stops until people figure out what the driver is going to do.
The same engineer also loves bulb outs. I guess the theory is if you extend the sidewalk out into the street the pedestrians will have a shorter dash. What it means in practice is the bike lane you've been pedaling down suddenly ends and you're forced out into the traffic lane.
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wrote:

The university where my wife worked in Health Services used Mac Medical, on macintosh computers, with a mac based server. It was down more than my windows network.
Macintosh -
Machine Always Crashes If Not The Operating System Hangs
I wasn't impressed. Nor was she.
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