Innovative Ways to Tackle Traffic Gridlock

BridgeTraffic gridlock is a major problem in most cities in America.

Even when I lived in a rural city in Oregon, people complained about the traffic because the highway went through the city, making it difficult for people to make turns without oncoming traffic speeding their way.

After being gone from from South Florida for 10 years, the god-awful traffic had just gotten worse. It seems like a 10-minute drive could routinely take 30-40 minutes. Just this week in Sarasota, it took me 10 minutes just to get out of downtown. I’m not even talking about the traffic getting off Siesta Key or Lido Beach during season. That alone can take 45 minutes.

Traffic jams are inconvenient, fertile environment for road rage and a major contributor to air pollution.

The driving force, pun intended, behind traffic jams is increased population and decreased funding for adequate mass transportation.

Building wider roads and more roads has always been a solution and it certainly can, in the short-term, ease congestion. More car pool lanes. But Americans have a love affair with cars. Perhaps it is the last bastion for quiet solitude away from the masses, and we won’t let that go..

One BBC report said some cities are banning cars from an area.

A Georgia Institute of Technology study blamed aggressive driving and timid drivers as factors causing roadblocks. Sudden braking causes a ripple effect to slow traffic even miles away. Another challenge is business districts is waiting for a car to find a parking space and then to park. San Francisco and LA are testing out sensors that tell cars where vacant parking spots are located, eliminating gridlock caused by people looking for a spot.

Rather than hovercrafts that were portrayed in the “Back to the Future” movies, science fiction is coming to life with cars communicating with each to help keep traffic moving. In addition, social media has come to the rescue. An Israeli-app, Waze, is a GPS map that uses social media to help drivers navigate problem areas.

Public transportation services and carpooling also have been a public policy, which, if more people take advantage of it, could help. But who hasn’t felt road rage when during rush-hour traffic you are bumper to bumper and the  HOV lane is empty. I’ve wondered whether traffic would be eased if all the lanes were used by drivers. Certainly, if people shared sedan services or taxis going to work, that could help.

Cities can also look at the innovation that New York, Sidney, Australia and Curitiba, Brazil have employed. New York’s Midtown in Motion project aims at using sensors and E-Zpass readers as well cameras at 23 intersection to collect traffic data that will be then analyzed, and then used to help traffic flow. More than a decade ago, New York implemented software to optimize traffic signals.

Sidney uses the “Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System (SCAT) to determine how many vehicles are on the road and then adjust traffic signals, accordingly. Curitiba’s bus system uses transit-only traffic lanes, ticket counters and sensors to coordinate traffic signals.

There is a lot to be done before traffic jams are footnotes in history. People don’t want to spend their livings honking others. Quality of life is very important in today’s society.

Not spending half your life in gridlock is not conducive to quality of life. There are many factors that can help alleviate traffic jams — technology, smarter use of taxis and  and mass transit to help improve traffic flow. More roads and wider roads


Rock the Night Away in Safety with a Luxury Sedan Service

Some rights reserved by badgreeb RECORDSRock and roll comes to Sarasota’s  when the musical “Buddy” rocks the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in January.

“Buddy,” which tells the story of Buddy Holly, is the “World’s Most Successful Rock ‘n’ Roll Musical” and has been rocking audiences for 25 years.

We know how rock ‘n’ roll legend Buddy Holly’s life ended “the day the music died,” but “Buddy” tells the life of this musical genius and how his songs touched us.  We all have our own “Peggy Sue”  and understand how our hearts were broken on  “That’ll Be the Day.”

Well, that’ll be the day, when you say goodbye

Yes, that’ll be the day, when you make me cry

You say you’re gonna leave, you know it’s a lie

‘Cause that’ll be the day when I die

Taken from us when he was only 22, Charles Hardin Holly was a singer-songwriter at the birth of rock ‘n’ roll in the mid-1950s.

Born during the Great Depression in Lubbock, Texas, Holly grew up in a musical family and learned how to play the guitar with his siblings. The music he grew up with — country music and rhythm and blues shaped his musical identity.

According to Wikipedia, In 1955, Holly and his friend Bob Montgomery opened for another young rock ‘n’ roller, a fellow called Elvis Presley.

As his music moved from country music to rock ‘n’ roll, Holly’s big break was when he opened for Bill Haley & His Comets in 1955 and a music scout saw him and helped him get a contract with Decca Records.

With the help of record producer Norman Petty, Holly and his band recorded “That’ll Be the Day.”

Well, you give me all your lovin’ and your turtle dovin’

All your hugs and kisses and your money too

Well, you know you love me baby

Until you tell me, maybe

That some day, well I’ll be through

Here is some rock ‘n’ roll trivia: After Holly and his band recorded “That’ll Be the Day” Petty sent the demo to Brunswick Records who released the song, but credited it to “The Crickets” because Holly was still signed by Decca. And, thus, Buddy Holly and the Crickets were born.

“That’ll Be the Day”  became a hit in the United States and United Kingdom. Holly’s next big hit was “Peggy Sue”.

In the 1950s and 1960s musical talent knew they made it if they appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, and Holly and the Crickets were on the CBS show twice by 1958.

The band, as many do, broke up in the late 1950s at which time Holly,now married to Maria Elena Santiago, brought together a new band, which included Waylon Jennings, long before he became a country music legend.

Well, that’ll be the day, when you say goodbye

Yes, that’ll be the day, when you make me cry

You say you’re gonna leave, you know it’s a lie

‘Cause that’ll be the day when I die

With the new band, Holly went on a Midwest tour and “on the day the music died” as Don Mclean immortalized Holly in his classic, “American Pie,” Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper took a charter airplane from Clear Lake, Iowa to Moorhead, Minnesota, but never made it, killing all three rock ‘n’ rollers and the pilot.

Killed when he was only 22 years old, the world will never know all the songs Holly would have written if he had lived a long life. Holly was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2986 and Rolling Stones listed him No. 13 on its “100 Greatest Artists.”

Sarasota audiences will be able to relive the legend that is Buddy Holly at one-night performance of “Buddy” on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, at 8 p.m.

Make it a special evening for you and your spouse. Get dressed up like they used to for a Broadway show premiere. Call a sedan service, get picked up by a professional chauffeur and turn a night at the theater into a night for the ages.

For more information, go to the Van Wezel’s website.