Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I Hate Trucks

I would personally like to thank the douche-bag who flipped his truck on I-95 yesterday, spilling part of the apparently toxic and flammable load, and causing the closure of I-95 (by the stadiums) for nearly 15 hours. It certainly made my commute much more interesting and I was able to “enjoy” it for almost 1 extra hour.

You know, I’m starting to understand people with road rage. No, I didn’t get road rage yesterday, but I felt my blood begin to boil. I’ve always had problems with these big trucks. I know that many of them are under time constraints – having to transport supplies across far distances in ridiculously short amounts of time. But, when transporting hazardous material, I would think a rational driver would make sure not to drive his truck so erratically and dangerously, that he puts himself and many surrounding people in jeopardy.

I felt like finding this guy and kicking him in the balls repeatedly for his move during the early part of rush hour yesterday morning. It seems like we see this every day – a truck going too fast to negotiate a turn, tipping over, and tying up traffic. Something needs to be done about this. I propose that the offending driver AND company pay each person who was affected by the delay (I’m talking everybody – people late to work, others who miss a favorite t.v. show because of it – everybody) some sort of “fee.” If we do this, then maybe the companies and drivers will act a little more responsible.

I’m not done with my rant, however. I’m finding it hard to understand why I-95 had to be closed for 15 hours – especially in a major city like Philadelphia. I understand that the truck flipped over the railing and dumped some hazardous chemicals onto the highway, and still had a bunch of chemicals in the tank. But 15 hours? Shouldn’t there be a plan in place that ensures an accident like this can be cleaned up in less time, especially on a major highway? Maybe I’m just not speaking rationally here, because it did inconvenience me a tad. But, I want to know. There must’ve been accidents similar to this one that have occurred elsewhere that we can compare this to. Did they take this long? Should I just let it go and get on with my life?

4 comments:

Jeff said...

I would personally like to thank the douche-bag who flipped his truck on I-95 yesterday ...
** Was the trucker the problem, or was he cut off? Nobody gives truckers the space they need to operate. Their job is unenviable.

... when transporting hazardous material, I would think a rational driver would make sure not to drive his truck so erratically and dangerously ...
** Agreed, if he's the problem. Maybe he reacted to some other jerk?

I propose that the offending driver AND company pay each person who was affected by the delay ... some sort of “fee.”
** Nothing like a de facto class-action lawsuit to keep trucking companies in business.
** That also wouldn't be rife with abuse. Especially not in Philadelphia.

I’m finding it hard to understand why I-95 had to be closed for 15 hours – especially in a major city like Philadelphia.
** You just answered your own question.

Shouldn’t there be a plan in place that ensures an accident like this can be cleaned up in less time, especially on a major highway?
** You mean, like New Orleans' well-conceived and thoroughly-ignored hurricane plan?
** What's to say the plan doesn't already exist, and 15 hrs is what Philly can do? You gotta build in at least 3 hrs just for the competing unions to figure out whose job it is.
** If you want to clean these messes quicker, then arm truckers. Once the city hears the word "gun," they'll send everyone in.

Should I just let it go and get on with my life?
** What life?

Jeff said...

One more thing I should have added:

I would not be surprised in the least if Philadelphia's accident rate and truck accident rate are WELL above the national average. Our freeway system is wholly inadequate.

We do not have enough freeways for a 4+ million metro area, and those freeways have only 2-3 lanes in each direction.

All roads are in bad shape, with lots of potholes despite being constantly under construction.

And I've never seen any other city with so much large debris on its roads.

Add in ridiculously aggressive drivers -- not to mention NJ drivers -- and every day is a disaster in waiting.

Ink and Stone said...

Dogs love trucks.

Rev. Smokin Steve said...

You have just hit my area of expertise.

OK, 15 hours was surprisingly long. In fact, I had to deal iwth it at 7 pm when I had an appointment in New Jersey. I was surprised to see it was still out there. I managed to avoid it, take the Platt Bridge over to 76, and access the Whitman from there avioding the mess entirely. I was fortunate. I don't know if that was a good option during rush hour or not. I'm sure others took that route too and clogged the alternate up big-time. But when I did it, the rush had ended.

As far as accidents taking 15 hours to cleanup, yes I have covered several accidents like that before as a reporter in both Philly and Boston. It is rare, but it does happen in other cities too. Philadelphia is not unique in that aspect. I covered the infamous tire fire in 1996 on the radio and that closed I-95 for a week and a half, then left it a two lane road for three months. Nothing was worse than that.

I agree and don't agree with Karl's ranting. Yes, I was surprised that it was still closed later, and I'm sure so many others were as well. But I don't know what the situation was totally. Maybe there was a real threat to the environment there that needed to keep people away. So I won't blame anyone for keeping it closed. I know for a fact that polce officers would rather have a road open and not have to deal with it anymore than keep it closed. It just means more work the longer it's closed. So I'm sure the goal of the offcers and agencies was to open it sooner rather than later. No one wants a situation to go longer than it should.

However, let's just say that in my years of dealing with certain agencies through my reporting, it wouldn't surprise me if something went wrong in the communications out there which caused more delays. Philadelphia does not have a perfect system in place. I honestly don't know of any city that does. But I can't confirm that was the case. I will say that knowing what I know about Penndot's cameras and where they are as opposed to 10 years ago, things have gotten better than before. But stuff happens, and that's unavoidable sometimes.

Are Philadelphia roads more susceptible because of their age? I wouldn't say that about I-95 because that stretch of road in that area is still relatively new. I think that area of 95 has only been around about 30 years. And believe me, I covered many worse items in Boston were those roads were a huge problem downtown before the Big Dig opened this decade. Things happened in Boston that were simply devastating traffic-wise. The old Central Artery was legendary for huge problems.

I will, however, say that the layout of the Schuylkill Expressway makes that road much more dangerous than it should be. I don't think Philadelphia is the most dangerous like New York still is, or Boston was. But I will say that I do agree that Philly is above the national average due to I-76 alone. It's not a fun city to report traffic in, that's for sure.