July 2009 Archives

Beyond the "Texting While Driving" question

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Audi-console-handwriting-recognition.jpgA certain gadget blog has pointed out that car makers are not exactly on the same page with the rest of the world when it comes to dealing with distractions while driving.

As Congress considers forcing states to enact laws banning texting while driving, Audi has gone the other way, putting a feature in the dashboard that would require you to use a stylus to write on a screen when you want to query the system.

Try doing that at any speed.

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7-year-old leads police on chase

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Two traffic videos today: the now-famous 7-year-old driver and some guy who probably said, "Watch this!" and went on to regret it.

This dash cam video has cropped up everywhere. I'm almost embarrassed to post it, because everyone has it!

It really isn't all that compelling: a few shots of a car driving around.

But the punch line comes when the kid gets out of the car. If you don't know a 7-year-old is driving the car, it's a visual shock to see this pint-sized driver. Even when you do know the story, it's still amusing.

As amusing as all that may be, the reason he took the car is just as good: he didn't want to go to church. Serious stuff in Utah, where this incident took place.

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Looking Ahead: Lake Dr to close, paving on I-96

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Here is what to expect next week:

East Grand Rapids logo.jpgLAKE DR, EAST GRAND RAPIDS: A favorite shortcut is about to be shut down. LAKE DR will be closed Monday (8/3) between the East Grand Rapids city limit just east of WEALTHY ST and LOVETT AVE, which is east of PLYMOUTH AVE. Construction will continue into October. PLYMOUTH AVE will remain open through the LAKE DR intersection until construction progress requires closure.

Detour: The City of East Grand Rapids has not issued an official recommended detour. If you just want to get into East Grand Rapids, use WEALTHY ST east to LAKESIDE DR. If you, like most people, want to cut through EGR to get to BRETON RD and head south, use FULLER AVE south to HALL ST, then east on HALL ST to BRETON RD.

I-96 logo small.jpgI-96: Resurfacing of the highway between 68TH AVE and M-104 will begin Monday (8/3) through September 14. Don't let the sight of barrels on the shoulder cause you concern: all lane closures are scheduled for 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. If you sleep normal hours, the only inconvenience should be slower traffic if you stay late at the beach in Grand Haven.

I-196: The left lane will be closed on EASTBOUND I-196 over BYRON RD/Zeeland Exit from 9 a.m. Monday (8/3) until about 2 p.m. Wednesday (8/5). Expect backups at high-volume times.


Midweek Update: New lane closures

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I-196: Watch for rolling lane closures EASTBOUND and WESTBOUND, as a painting crew will be laying down new pavement markings between COLLEGE AVE and 28TH ST through Thursday (7/30).

I-96 logo 100x100.jpgI-96: The right lane is closed EASTBOUND between the EAST BELTLINE and M-21 to allow for paving of the new ramps. Tough one: the highway goes from three lanes to one in a very little distance when you factor in the lane closure. Expect backups until the work is done, which will be around 3 p.m. Thursday (7/30).

What'd I tell ya?

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"I told you so" is self-aggrandizing, but it's satisfying.

All morning, I reported a lane closure on I-96 from the East Beltline to M-21, and I predicted backups until the barrels are pulled back on Thursday.

The screen shot below is from our Beat the Traffic data at 10 a.m. today.

The arrows turn red when speeds drop below 25 mph.

I told you so. (So satisfying.)


Bridge sway is "no cause for alarm"

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Okay. Big bridges are built with some "give" in them.

I'm not sure there's anything in this scientist's video that I would be alarmed about.

I want this guy to do give the same time-lapse photography treatment to the Big Mac. Now there's a bridge that I bet has some sway to it.

FOX 17 home

Texas-sized chase video

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It seems the really good (a subjective term) police chase videos come from California, Texas, or Georgia. The reasons can probably be found somewhere in the mishmash of ingredients that include large freeways, free-wheeling criminals, free-wheeling law enforcement, and large cities with helicopters flying around.

Today's video chase started in Mesquite, Texas, one of the beltway communities of Dallas.

The chase lasted 90 minutes. (It takes less time to watch some movies!)

During the video, you will see police try everything in their bag of tricks, and they got so desperate to stop the guy that an officer at one point ran across the freeway and THREW spikes under the car and nearly got run down by a motorcycle.

As with many of these wild chases, it ends in an intersection.

Vanity Shots for July 27

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We featured two Michigan vanity plates on this morning's FOX 17 Morning News:

The first is a mystery to me. Jon Shaner noticed the plate frame was from Penn State, but we couldn't connect the Nittany Lions with "Scribby," unless people at Penn State give one another silly nicknames the way Yalies used to:

072709 SCRIBBY 04-21-09 CROP.jpg

If you have any ideas, email me.

The second one I figured out as soon as I saw it. Jon got it after a quick thought. Others on the Live Blog were completely flummoxed.

072709 02BNWDW crop.jpg
We gave the answer on the air. I give you the answer here tomorrow.
But don't lose any sleep over it.

New construction: Week of 7/27-7/31

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I-196 at BYRON RD (Zeeland Exit): The right lane EASTBOUND will be closed from 9 a.m. Monday (7/27) to Thursday afternoon (7/30) for bridge repairs.Slowdowns and backups will be intermittent.

I-96 logo small.jpgI-96 near PORTLAND: One lane will be closed all week on WESTBOUND I-96 from just before Exit 73 to just before Exit 67 all week until Friday afternoon (7/31). Bridge work.

Heads up this weekend heading for the beach

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The only way to get to Grand Haven from Grand Rapids is to use I-96. (Who wants to drive Lake Michigan Drive and then US-31, and then ... oh, never mind.)

This weekend, there will be slowdowns on the way to the beach:

I-96 logo small.jpgI-96 at 48TH AVE (Exit 19): One lane closed WESTBOUND and EASTBOUND from Friday night (7/24) to early Monday morning (7/27). Bridge repairs. Expect backups at times, especially Saturday afternoon.

Beginning Monday, here's what will be new:

I-196 at BYRON RD (Zeeland Exit): The right lane EASTBOUND will be closed from 9 a.m. Monday (7/27) to Thursday afternoon (7/30) for bridge repairs.Slowdowns and backups will be intermittent.

Government can't keep up with reality?

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The U.S. Transportation Department apparently cannot keep up with reality.

Our Tribune pals at the Los Angeles Times produced the graphic below based on statistics from the government.

Notice anything?

Michigan, according to the graphic, has not approved any road projects using Recovery Act dollars. As you and I know, the roadscape is dotted with signs touting exactly the opposite fact: Michigan is spending those federal bucks like crazy.


Not much new this week -- to start, anyway

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We start the week with a couple of lane closures and not much more. But then, every day there will be something new ...

I-196: The left lane EASTBOUND will be closed just before the M-6 interchange from Monday morning to 3 p.m. Wednesday (7/22) for bridge repairs. Expect slowdowns and afternoon backups.

I-94 logo 75x75.jpgI-94: Travel lanes both EASTBOUND and WESTBOUND will be reduced to one lane between Mile Marker 101 and 103 for bridge work over the Kalamazoo River near Battle Creek on Wednesday, July 22, only.

Ramp closures and other stuff

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I will be off for a couple of days. So until Monday, here are the construction changes I have heard about:

I-96 logo small.jpgI-96: The ramp from EASTBOUND I-96 to ALPINE AVE closed at 9 a.m. today (7/15) for a couple of weeks due to construction on 3 MILE, where traffic from the ramp ends up.

Alternate Route: Exit early at WALKER AVE, south to 3 MILE, east to ALPINE AVE.

I-196: The entrance ramp from 44TH ST to EASTBOUND I-196 will be closed from 6 a.m. Thursday (7/16) until August 6. The reconstruction of the eastbound lanes will block access for that time.
Detour: Use WILSON AVE north from 44TH ST to the entrance ramp to I-196.

Leffingwell Avenue: Closed at 3 MILE in front of Oakview School until August 13.
Alternate Route: Use the EAST BELTLINE or watch your speed through the neighborhood, because county cruisers are watching you.

Ramp closures scheduled for M-6/Broadmoor interchange

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M-6 100x100.jpg
The M-6 resurfacing project continues ...

M-6 at M-37: These ramps will be closed overnight Monday and Tuesday (7/13-7/14, 7pm-7am):

M-6 WESTBOUND exit ramp to M-37*
M-37 NORTHBOUND entrance ramp to M-6 WESTBOUND
M-37 SOUTHBOUND entrance ramp to M-6 WESTBOUND

*Detour: Continue west to KALAMAZOO AVE.

Casual Friday in Fox 17 Traffic

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Dressed like this, who cares about traffic?


Some consumers don't necessarily want a small car

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Chevrolet-Camaro-2010 200x134.jpg
It's all the rage to say that Americans want small, efficient cars, and that's the reason Detroit's Big Three have failed.

In a recent post on West Michigan Business, Erich Merkle, an auto expert in Grand Rapids, argues that Americans want what Americans want. Some want small, efficient vehicles. And some want the new Chevrolet Camaro, and that's why the Camaro is selling out.

Muscle car beats mini-car.

Erich is right about the Camaro. Chevrolet has made a car that people will buy. And any company wants to make what people will buy. Detroit's problem is that the Big Three have concentrated on high-profit, big vehicles, and treated small, efficient vehicles as less than an after-thought. Who really wants to drive a Chevy Aveo?

Toyota and Honda also make high-profit, big vehicles. But when you want a well-made, efficient car, who do you turn to?

Not Detroit.

And that's a rap they deserve.

Night closures delayed: US-131

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This overnight closure was originally scheduled to occur the night of July 7, but it has been rescheduled to the nights of July 8 and July 9:

US-131 logo 75x60.jpg
US-131: The SOUTHBOUND lanes will be closed south of 36TH ST from 10 p.m. overnight to 6 a.m. Wednesday morning (7/8).

Traffic will be routed onto the 36TH ST ramps to use DIVISION AVE south to 54TH ST.

Night closures: US-131 and M-6

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A portion of US-131 will be closed tonight, and resurfacing will reduce M-6 to one lane overnight:

US-131 logo 75x60.jpg
US-131: The SOUTHBOUND lanes will be closed south of 36TH ST from 10 p.m. overnight to 6 a.m. Wednesday morning (7/8).

Traffic will be routed onto the 36TH ST ramps to use DIVISION AVE south to 54TH ST.

M-6 100x100.jpgM-6: Resurfacing between EAST PARIS AVE and I-96 will close lanes in both directions. One lane will always be open.

This Week: Major work at M-37 & M-46, plus other changes

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For some, the July 4th holiday marks the mid-point of the summer. It's pretty much the same for the road construction season, which began April 1 and will end around November 15.

M-37-100x100.jpgM-37: Beginning today (7/7), M-37 is CLOSED north of the junction with M-46 to BAILEY RD.

The intersection of M-37 and M-46 (which continues west to Muskegon) will be converted into a roundabout, which should make it the largest and busiest roundabout in West Michigan when it's done in November.

I am told there are people who avoid roundabouts like the one recently opened in Coopersville, but it's only because Michigan drivers are not familiar with them. They actually are a safe way of dealing with an intersection, and the junction of M-37 and M-46 is a spot where accidents happened, and they tended to be bad.

During construction until mid-November, there will be a detour that will cost you a little extra time: Canada Road and Bailey Road.

I-96 logo small.jpgI-96 RAMP CLOSURE: The exit ramp from EASTBOUND I-96 to ALPINE AVE from 9 a.m. Monday (7/6) to 3 p.m. on July 27.
Detour: Exit early, at WALKER AVE, take 3 MILE east to ALPINE AVE.

I-94 Project at Westnedge Avenue begins Monday 7/6

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Three years of work on I-94 begins Monday, July 6.

The freeway will be expanded from the current four lanes to six lanes along a two-mile stretch between the Lovers Lane overpass and the Oakland Drive exit.

While work begins Monday, it's hard to say at the moment if any lanes or ramps will be closed at that time. I will update you with what I know on FOX 17 Morning News Monday morning.


About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from July 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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