Deconstructing Interchanges

If you have ever had the nightmare, you know exactly what i am talking about. You are heading home via I-5 north to I-84 east. Traffic is moving along beautifully.

The 217 interchange? No problem.

The Terwilliger curves? Smooth sailing.

The brutal Marquam Bridge? Easy money.

The gentle curve entering I-84? SCREECH! Brake lights, stop....stop...stop...creep 6"...stop....stop...stop...go another 6"....stop....stop....stop...

What the smurf? Why is this curve so tricky?

For years I have wondered. And then, today, it hit me...Portland must be full of imbeciles...err, I mean, Nascar fans. And that interchange throws them off.

See, if only it turned left like the hairpin left turn from I-5 North onto 217, where people barrel along about the speed of light - 3 mph, going up on two wheels but not slowing...this gentle, sloping turn onto I-84 is a RIGHT turn and they cannot figure it out.

Oh, the imports to Oregon have figured out many Nascar-related driving habits.

How to draft, staying anywhere between 2" and 3" of the car in front of them.

How to hydroplane past that annoying guy ahead of them only exceeding the speed limit by 30 mph.

How to "rub" the car in the adjacent lane.

How to make a pass in a 6" space inside 3 seconds.

Oh, yes, the Oregon we now are stuck with, unlike the one I drove in growing up before the techno-boom hit and we got all the imports, had NONE of this nonsense. We also knew not only how to make those left turns, but also how to turn right.

But I must assume the reason the I-5/I-84 interchange has a maximum speed limit of 5 mph with frequent stops is because all these new people are NASCAR fans and, while they can emulate every single move their favorite redneck drivers do...they cannot, to save their life, turn RIGHT at any speed higher than 3 mph.

This, by the way, would also explain why they have to swing into the left lane to execute a right turn into the fast food shack/mall/driveway. If it were a left turn they could probably do it without moving even a smidge to the right. But left?

No thanks, they are Nasacr fans. Right does not compute.



Riot Kitty said...

Funny, I was just thinking about this the other day. There is nothing particularly dangerous or tricky about the curves, and I came to the same conclusion you did.

G said...

You think that your version of I-84 is bad?

You should check out my version of I-84.

Makes yours look like a bicycle path in the park.

Most notorious intersection was until they constructed a flyover to I-91 was if you were traveling on 84E and needed to go to 91S. You had to exit into the city and zip over five lanes in fifteen seconds so as to enter onto 91S.