which way Michael?

Milwaukee readers are probably familiar with the recently-completed Marquette Interchange project…but one of the oddest aspects of the interchange’s new configuration is the ramp from northbound I-43 to eastbound I-794. I should say “ramps”…since in fact, there are two ways to go from 43 to 794, even though signs tell you not to do the one.

Which is odd – since depending on your destination, the “forbidden” way is actually safer, as far as I can tell. Here’s a map of the interchange, with the official route outlined in red and the prohibited one in green: merge

The designated ramp, after a sharp curve presumably designed to slow traffic, compels a merge with traffic flow coming from southbound I-43 almost immediately after that curve. During the morning commute at least, you’re then in one of the two most heavily-traveled lanes, since the majority of eastbound traffic at that time is exiting at the Jackson-Van Buren ramp.

By contrast, the “prohibited” route doesn’t merge at all: one lane continues to the Plankinton exit, while the other lane (from southbound I-43) continues on to eastbound I-794. If you change lanes from the Plankinton ramp to the left lane, after you merge with I-794 you have your own lane, which is mostly traffic-free (again: the leftmost two lanes have the most traffic, exiting at Jackson-Van Buren) – and if you’re going either to Lincoln Memorial Drive or continuing on I-794, you don’t have to merge with any lanes.

It strikes me that the idea solution would be to designate the “red” route for people exiting at Jackson-Van Buren and the “green” one for those either exiting at Plankinton or continuing to I-794 and either going to Lincoln Memorial or continuing on I-794. But the signage conveying that info would be more complex.

And one thing I’ve noticed: drivers don’t do well with complicated signage. People are still not noticing the signs for the westbound I-94 exit, or those noting that the lane for the Michigan Ave. exit ends…and madly veering over at the last possible moment. I’m not sure whether these are cell-phone blabbing morons, or victims of lame educational policy – whether poor reading education or deleted driver education programs, or both.

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3 Comments

Filed under mwawkee, traffic

3 responses to “which way Michael?

  1. Aaron

    which way Michael?

    I see what you did there.

    I recently named an external hard drive “Pieta” and so I’ve had that song in my head for two weeks.

  2. I’d had that CD for several weeks before I read the lyric sheet (partly because it’s printed in eensy print, partly because I often ignore lyric sheets), and so I was disappointed to find that the lyric referred to the song’s main character directly as “Doubting Thomas”: I’d thought they’d been much cleverer, and dubbed him “Dalton Thomas” (allowing us to get the reference upon hearing). Should I ever write anything involving a character who’s aptly named such, I’ll have to use that myself…

  3. I hate ramps where you have to merge from the left, so maybe they are looking out for me.

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