Anyway, speaking as someone who was unfortunately caught in it (heard the warning on KLBJ at 4:25 or so, got off Mopac, and then immediately spent the next hour and change stuck on Lamar) I noticed several things about how things were handled, good and bad:
- There are no alternate routes in Austin. Whoever designed the freeway and street systems here ought to be ashamed of themselves. (Aside: one local blogger said here that this should be an incentive to get people onto buses or bikes. That would be great, if I weren't coming back from a client's office in Georgetown. Some of us need our cars, and there's no getting around it. (Aside to the aside: the link I just posted invited comments from people who couldn't switch to buses or bikes, but there was no way to leave comments.))
- It takes very little to make a lot of people lose their patience. Both the blogger I just mentioned and I heard people on the radio wondering whether it would have been better to let the man--I think this was the phrase used on KLBJ--"off himself" and get the roads open again. Yikes. (I heard someone a little more humane as well, who said they should have used a tranquilizer such as for large animals, but I don't think that was on the radio.)
- I can understand the closing of Mopac...if the highway hadn't been closed and, God forbid, something had happened, the cops would have been excoriated for it. But come on, guys, why in the world was there no one directing traffic at Mopac and 360? Reports were that ten cars got through at a time, and that particular light is not a quick cycle.
Or they could just make 360/Mopac into a full freeway interchange and finish the 290/360/Lamar and 290/Mopac interchanges already.