Why Don’t Minnesotans Do the Zipper Merge?
Despite all the hype and public service announcements, Minnesotans STILL don't do the Zipper Merge-- and we all suffer, sitting there in traffic that's backed up.
My wife and I just spent a weekend up on Minnesota's North Shore, at a wedding of one of her high school friends. We took Asher to the kennel late Friday morning, packed up the car and headed up Highway-52 toward the Cities.
The drive was trouble-free, even through that stretch of 52 over the Lafayette Bridge in St. Paul (where traffic always backs up, it seems) and as we got going on north on I-35E.
But things came to a grinding halt when we hit a construction zone where MnDOT is building a new bridge over the Snake River in Pine County and traffic had to merge into a single lane. Things were so backed up, we were crawling along at the first Road Work Ahead sign.
And when the first Left Lane Closed Ahead sign appeared, instead of using both lanes during backups (as several other signs urged), a ton of fellow drivers, like lemmings, moved on over to the right lane, backing things up even more.
Why don't Minnesotans do Zipper Merge, like MnDOT wants us to? I don't know about you, but I don't think it's very fun to sit in a traffic back-up several miles long along I-35 because everybody merged into the open lane way too early-- even though the construction lane isn't closed for a mile or two down the road.
But if we all do the Zipper Merge and stay in BOTH lanes until signs say to merge (and then take turns letting other cars in), we can cut that time almost in half!
Problems happen, though, when only some of us (that'd be me) do the Zipper Merge. We tool along in the open lane-- LIKE MNDOT WANTS US TO-- while everybody else sits backed up in the other lane. And then, rather than taking turns to let us in at the merge-- like the signs say-- some jackbooted thug takes it upon himself to self-police things and blocks us from merging. Which, these days, could result in some serious road rage.
So most of us move over into the other lane way before we have to-- and keep traffic backed up. Which is why I say WE ALL NEED TO DO THE ZIPPER MERGE. Because I'm all for reducing the time we spend waiting to move through those orange barrels, right?!?
Need a refresher on how the Zipper Merge is supposed to work? Take a look...