Traffic at Burning Man: What YOU Can Do About It

Let’s get one thing out of the way right off the bat: this post will not reveal a magic solution to Burning Man’s traffic woes. There is no wand to wave to quickly transport you onto the playa and prevent you from ever having another exhausting Exodus experience. If I said that, you’d know I was lying, because getting 60,000 people in and out of Black Rock City using a two lane rural highway is no easy task. Traffic will, for the foreseeable future, be a part of the Burning Man experience.

Exodus 2005. Photo by Borealis Aurora

Yep, I said it. And I know you know it. So, let’s talk about what we can do to make getting in and out of BRC a better experience for everyone, and consider what constitutes reasonable wait times.

We are continually evaluating ways to improve the process of getting into and out of Burning Man. Some of these will require years of planning, while others can be implemented more easily. Here are some of the changes we are working on for 2012:

  • The Temple will burn at sundown this year to give you a little more time to leave on Sunday night.
  • We are developing a communication system to let you know when a Pulse is about to happen during Exodus.
  • We’re doubling the number of porta potties along Gate Road. While this won’t solve traffic problems, it will make your wait more pleasant.
  • We are working closely with the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) and other local agencies to analyze and address traffic issues; in 2012 a team from Burning Man and NDOT will drive the roads to evaluate traffic patterns and map all of the sticky bits.
  • We are placing additional flaggers in Gerlach during ingress and egress to address safety concerns around the gas station.
  • We added a traffic section to the Black Rock City Census, through which we’ll collect important planning information.
  • We hired a traffic engineer to evaluate our traffic plans and help us figure out how to grow sustainably. We are considering multiple forms of transportation, the viability of shuttles, and changes to the design of the event. Right now we are deep in research mode, so stay tuned for more info on this in 2013.
  • In addition to our normally scheduled programming on BMIR, we will broadcast information about getting in and out of BRC on the new GARS (Gate Area Radio Station) – 95.1 FM.
  • Talking about traffic! Help us spread the word.

But wait, that’s not all! We need your help! Here are some things that we can all do about traffic:

  • Carpool. The fewer vehicles in Black Rock City, the shorter the lines will be. Visit our Rideshare Board.
  • Plan for your departure. Knowledge is power and traffic is real. Know what to expect so that you can plan your arrival and exit accordingly.
  • If you don’t want to wait in long lines, don’t arrive on the first day of the event and don’t leave on Sunday or Monday of Exodus.
  • If you hear on BMIR or GARS that Exodus lines are long, use that time to MOOP your camp or favorite hang out space.
  • Part of a theme camp or art project? Schedule your tear down so that your crew leaves after peak travel times.
  • Fill out the 2012 Black Rock Census, especially the traffic section.
  • Read the Gate & Exodus FAQ for important info about what to expect and how to plan.
  • During Exodus, take some time to make sure that your neighbor’s trash and gear are strapped down tightly.
  • If you do get stuck in traffic, make the most of it! Last year participants played music, shared food and created “One Hour Neighborhoods” with their fellow Burners.
And lastly, Gate, Perimeter & Exodus relies on volunteers to facilitate traffic in and out of BRC. The more volunteers we have, the smoother things go. We’ve been recruiting heavily since the day we returned from the last event. Want to help? Sign up for a training. More info here.

Like so many of the challenges that we’ve faced in Burning Man’s history, this whole traffic thing can only get better if we address it as a community. While there’s no magic solution, there are many things that every single one of us can do to help. We promise to keep working on our end; what will YOU do?

About the author: Kristy Evans

Kristy Evans is a senior manager in the Gate, Perimeter and Exodus Department, where she has helped manage the task of getting people in and out of BRC since 2007. The logistics of traffic, people movement, and staffing a huge department still fascinate her, and with an ever growing Black Rock City there is always more work to do. She first made the trek to the Black Rock Desert in 2003 and began volunteering in 2005 with Gate. She is a member of the Burning Man Leadership Forum and you can read the rest of her bio here.

99 thoughts on “Traffic at Burning Man: What YOU Can Do About It

  • My 2011 exodus sucked rotten eggs. It was MISERABLE. And unnecessarily HARSH.
    It was my 3rd burn. I spoke with many seasoned Burners about exodus & when to leave and how long the wait can b. 4 hours seemed to be the scary #. I did not know estimated departure time was announced on the radio until I was stuck in exodus & I could not go back. Ack! I was prepared in all the radical self reliance ways, but I missed that piece.

    I spent 8 hours & 45 minutes – most of it in the blazing sun – trying to leave BM.
    This is unsafe, horrible and unkind.

    By the time I left the gate, I wasn’t safe to drive because I was exhausted, but I didn’t have much choice since I’d reserved a hotel in Reno and needed a place to rest b4 traveling on.

    Many people didn’t have adequate water or shade –
    being prepared is one thing, but planning for the ridiculous is another.

    How would you get medical attention to someone quickly if they passed out from the heat or had a heart attack? How would you know?

    When you’re stuck in the exodus lines and can’t go back to camp, it’s not like being on playa where you can make a different plan or go hang out in someone’s shade. THERE IS NO SHADE. I wandered around serving cold mango beverages to nearby cars to make the best of it, but I didn’t c anyone else hydrating the masses.

    (The 2 previous years I left shortly after dawn & after the temple burned. After dawn exodus was short, but I spent 20 hours on the road back to Berkeley stuck in traffic on the road with no AC in the hot sun. After the temple burned was hard because I was really too tired to get home safely, so I had to pull over a bunch and sleep. And still got caught in holiday traffic). At least I had options, tho.

    So, here are my SUGGESTIONS:

    What about a RETURN LINE? One separate line of traffic on 1 side or the other that is only 4 folks who wish to go back to camp to wait.

    What about a SIGN at the start of exodus line that says (for example):
    “8 hours getting out”
    & have a volunteer change the # of hours 2 departure during sunny hours?
    Or a sign that says “Exodus can take 2 – 10 hours! Be sure to check BMIR radio station for exodus updates before leaving.” I’ll gladly make such a sign.

    Ask for VOLUNTEERS TO DONATE WATER & HAND IT OUT on the exodus line – not just at the gate . Agree to put it in the JRS I’ll ringlead hydration for our little exiting nation.

    What about a lottery system? U sign up for your exodus time to drive in 2 or 3 “express” lanes. Otherwise u go in a general lane.

    I did not know until my last day – this 3rd year – that one could stay until Tuesday & miss the super long exodus. I didn’t know how long exodus could really b. What about advertising this option more and informing folks of the average wait time if you leave during certain hours? Maybe u tried that & I missed it.

    I’ve decided to lodge a complaint with the non-BM authorities that b if I do not see a clear good exodus plan. What happened to me and many thousands last year was simply dangerous.

    Thanks very much for listening. Exodus needs help. And radical change.

    Rawk on beautiful dusty people!
    Mango

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  • Only thing you can do to reliably guess a good time is leave before the Man burn or late evening on Monday. In between those 2 times, it’s all about luck. I left at 3pm on Sunday last year, that turned out to be perfect. I know others who left earlier that day and later that day who got stuck, and then of course on Monday, the 8 hour waits. I’ve heard the theory that the waits were so long last year because the weather was perfect and more people stayed for the temple burn than usual. That sounds reasonable. With the likelihood of a very dusty year this year, I’m willing to bet exodus times will be less as people decide to bail early at various times.

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  • My exodus last year was very memorable and fun! I planned it to be. I knew I would be alone in my truck cab for hours. It was about 9 hours turns out. I planned a few things: Food, beverages, spray bottle, sunblock, umbrella for window, notebook and pen, camera, all in cab. i wrote out my thoughts and kept myself cool. Met new friends and talked to my husband who does not go on my spotty cell when recep was available. I just treasured the last moments, did some mental work with myself, it was like my own personal mini decompression. Gotta have a good attitude and some supplies to even bare it…This year I am going to try to leave with some friends or wait til eve or even until Tuesday to make it even better. Exodus is a big part of the week I think people forget about it and really make it last priority….to make it better make it part of your plans.

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  • I am pleased to hear about the hiring of a traffic engineer. Having been to 14 burns, I have watched the traffic grow into one of the biggest negatives people cite about TTITD.

    Since I work in transportation, I’ve done a bit of study of traffic engineering and am curious as to what studies have been done in the past on the traffic volumes in the various potential chokepoints? To really improve things you have to understand each of those chokepoints and the issues when fixing one just creates another. The key areas of interest to me are:

    a) The final merge from playa up the ramp
    b) The left turn onto the blacktop
    c) 34 itself as far as 447
    d) The town of Gerlach (particularly gas station area)
    e) The Empire store
    f) 447 itself, from Empire to Nixon

    What are the capacities of these channels? I have heard very low numbers reported for 447. A typical rural highway should be able to pull off almost 2,000 v/h, but this number drops when you add a lot of trucks and RVs, especially underpowered burner ones. Plus the usual road distractions. But it should still stay above 1,000 v/h — even stop and go lanes can generally pull that off.

    Of all these the turn onto 34 is easiest to speed up but reports I have read indicate that it is instead deliberately throttled to prevent bottlenecks further down. Would love to hear more about this.

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  • Hey there.

    A fundamental concept has gone unnoticed: As the size of the event grows, so must its duration. The equation is:

    Highway Capacity x Time = BRC Population.

    So in future years…. Determine the Highway Capacity that allows normal traffic flow without delays. The BRC Population is set in advance (60.900 this year). Solve for Time.

    Something like three days.

    The fixed point in time is the morning after Labor Day, when many must be back at work. So move the Temple burn and the Man burn a couple of days, not a couple of hours. And open the event several days earlier. Increase ticket price to match increased costs. Poor slobs like me earn tickets by volunteering. Done. :-)

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  • “The fixed point in time is the morning after Labor Day, when many must be back at work. So move the Temple burn and the Man burn a couple of days, not a couple of hours.”

    absolutely, this is KEY! you cant increase the population and not change the Exodus accordingly. burning the Man on Thursday or Friday should not be a big deal. you should allow for 2-3 days for people to leave. all i heard last time on BMIR is “Burning Man is over, get the hell out!”

    -i like the turn around and go back to camp lane option.

    -how about an exit carpool lane or two? the more people you are moving out per vehicle, the faster you can leave. buses and shuttles should be given priority. this will motivate people to carpool more and bring less vehicles.

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  • why can’t they just let you drive on the playa the whole way down to empire and bypass that shitty little town on the way out and hit the road in a straight shot!

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  • Carpool lanes won’t work, the only reason they work in the default world is because you run the risk of getting an expensive ticket if you abuse it. What would be the penalty (and who would enforce it?) during Exodus? Bad karma? Well sure, but that’s something many people are willing to risk, ha.

    A turnaround lane might help. Those who decide the wait is too long can head back and that would thin out the current line of cars.

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  • @Brad – NDOT has done many studies of the local highways around the event site and has a system to determine loss of service levels. Or traffic mitigation plans require that we stay within those levels. Our flaggers at the gravel (turn onto 34) significantly speed up throughput onto 34. They maximize it by allowing two lanes off the playa. Of course there is only so fast that vehicles can make a left turn.

    If we were to run two lanes off the playa all of the time, traffic would back up from Gerlach to the event site. This is because of the slow down through Gerlach (and yes, for safety reasons there must be a speed reduction). So when you see that there is space between vehicles on 34 it doesn’t mean we need to get more vehicles off the playa, because all of that space disappears as you reach Gerlach.

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  • 2000 v/h on a rural highway? That doesn’t sound safe at all. Following distance would be less than 1.8 sec; not much time to hit the brakes if you need to slow down. 1000 v/h (3.6 sec) sounds like the theoretical maximum (and hasn’t the BLM in fact made 1000 v/h a condition of the permit?)

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  • +1 on pulsing inbound traffic; sure it’s a different beast than the outbound traffic, but staring down the third year of arriving after a long drive in a van full of non-drivers (seriously, 5 people in a minivan, and I’m the only one with a %^%^#@% license), I’d really appreciate the opportunity to rest a little in line, before I have to get back to work setting up camp.

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  • Obviously, it is after the end of the two big burns — the Man and the Temple — when people start leaving. How about having the Temple burn about an hour or two before the sun comes up on Sunday? Everyone is awake anyway. It would be beautiful. Default-world notions about the timing of events do not apply.

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  • shelly Says:why can’t they just let you drive on the playa the whole way down to empire and bypass that shitty little town on the way out and hit the road in a straight shot

    That was a shitty little comment shelly

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  • My Exodus in 2011 was hassle free. Why? Because I care about MOOP and the playa, and always stay for Strike with whatever camp I am with. I take the extra time and have some AMAZING interactions in this period, and feel gratified by helping BRC disappear without a trace. Last year, our camp was onsite until Thursday morning, making sure all was fit and ready for a green grade. This year will probably work out the same. The best night of my entire 2011 Rite of Passage…why that would be Wednesday night when we rolled the art car around, looking for people to assist, and stayed out under the stars until the dawn…it was an amazing experience, and surprised me because it was so special! Other than that, if you are scared of a hot and miserable Exodus, all it takes is a little pre-planning, and that Principle we call ‘Radical Self Reliance.’ Don’t expect others to hydrate you or entertain you during this time…do it yourself, and if you’re really awesome, you might even plan to have some extra to share..the other thing about staying for Strike is that you get to witness first hand the amazing miracle of our City disappearing into the dust…hope everyone heeds the advice in this blog and has a safe and tolerable Exodus…see you in the dust!

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  • “There is no wand to wave to quickly transport you onto the playa and prevent you from ever having another exhausting Exodus experience.”

    Yes there is. It’s called a plane.

    :P

    Anywho, the first year of the Exodus Pulse System (EPS) in 2010, I was miserable for a great many reasons the biggest of which was I didn’t understand what EPS was.

    Last year I was prepared and decided to take advantage of the opportunity EPS provided. I made sure to have food/drink/sunscreen/playa goodies all within arms reach and used the 5+ hours I spent in line to cap off my BM experience by sharing and conversing with my new temporary neighbors each hour. I gotta tell ya, it was one of the Top 5 things I did last year.

    As for the improvements on the route in/out, THANK YOU! I do hope though that the ‘announcement’ of a pulse starting is not a blaring horn.

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  • Sounds like we need to widen the road. That’d cost rather a lot, but BRC is a pretty big city. Let’s raise a tax and get it done.

    As far as the slow-down in Gerlach, that’s about the stupidest thing I’ve heard. The motor-sports crowd knows how to lease a road for dedicated purposes. Let’s lease the road through Gerlach and close it to non-exodus traffic. Get traffic up to highway speed immediately and keep it there.

    Close the gas station and don’t allow any stops at all in Gerlach or at the Empire store. Don’t have enough fuel to make it? Better leave on Saturday or wait till Tuesday.

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  • You could have several ‘carpool lanes’ before the exit onto 34, of increasing density: lots of lanes for single occupant, then a lane for double, then a lane for triple, …, and give the big buses a free pass, which would optomize the burners per hour exitting.

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  • YES to the suggestion about pulsing entrance! It never fails that as soon as I decide to turn off my engine the line starts moving. And haven’t we all had to pull around an empty vehicle or 50?

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  • Don’t forget to be nice to fellow drivers. There is always that one car that thinks he needs to cut people off to get to the front. Not cool. Leave burningman with kindness.

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  • @Shelly There are a couple of good reasons why they don’t let you just drive across the playa straight into Empire. The first is that the south end of the playa is much much wetter and muddier than where the event is held, sometimes with standing water. Routing traffic through there is a good way to get every single vehicle hopelessly stuck. Even the locals don’t drive through that area.

    The second reason is that to get from the BM site to Empire, you have to cross the railroad tracks. The only current spot besides the highway to do this is near Frog Pond, and the quality of the crossing and the road that follows it are nowhere near acceptable for a large volume of passenger cars, RVs, and trailers. Once you are across the only way to Empire is Jungo Road, which is like highway 34 all over again, except narrower, unpaved, and full of blind corners. Sending event traffic that way pretty much guarantees a few accidents, and won’t be any faster than using the main road.

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  • Hi All. Blue Cross, Exodus and Traffic Manager here. Want to give brief feedback from some of the comments you have made above.

    @Mango – Some good points. Very glad you know that 4 hours is a fantasy of bygone years now! As for no shade and water, my experience was that there was tons of both, what with the road being packed with RV’s, most of which were open to visitors, and nearly all with tons of extra water. Radical self-reliance!! Maybe I saw something different than you did though…

    We do announce wait times on BMIR, and now also on GARS 95.1!

    Lottery has been discussed for 10 years now. We simply don’t have the resources currently to administer and police such a system.

    @G – I-80 was never closed. And if there were problems on I-80, it is likely too far away to have an effect in BRC. Yes, we have discussed inbound pulsing, and are looking at many options to make the inbound experience better. It’s currently a resources issue.

    @Peace – Exodus thins Monday generally after midnight. That’s 12:01 AM Tuesday. Generally.

    @JV – You got super lucky with a great Sunday because no one left! I expect Sunday will never be good again.

    @Brad Templeton – Lots of data we have. NDOT has done pretty complete studies of the roadway sections all the way to Reno. We have data on all of your areas of interest.

    @Elliot – Yes. And, you are not considering that most people want to leave Sunday and Monday. We could calculate that 500,000 people can leave over 20 days, but 500,000 people don’t have a 20-day window in which they can leave. They have to get back to work, but want to stay for the Man Burn. You are on the right track…the trick is to spread out the departure period.

    @Homiesinheaven – We lack the resources to police extra lanes. And if you think that just coning them off will work…well, come on out and see the madness that is 30,000 vehicles. You couldn’t keep some of them in lanes with tanks and troops. And once one goes, they all go. Believe me. Maybe someday, when we have more resources.

    @shelly – Driving direct to Empire has you cross railroad tracks, be on a gravel road, etc. Currently there is no good-enough road infrastructure to go any way except the way we do…NV34 through Gerlach, onto Empire, and to lands beyond.

    @Andrew – There are specific carrying capacities for types of roads, all vetted by engineers and stuff. I believe, if my memory serves me, a 2-lane paved highway capacity is somewhere near 1000 veh/hour. If my memory serves me.

    @Dennis Farias – Lots of options exist for moving burns around. And, they all have implications (political, experiential, etc.). We will keep trying to extend the peak exodus period though, and take any successes we can get.

    @DZL – Glad you get pulsing now. And we will not make the announcement any more jarring than it has to be, in order to get people back in their vehicles and ready to go!

    @Cheeky – Interesting idea to shut down Gerlach and Empire for our exodus. There are political / social / relationship dynamics that your comment doesn’t address, which would make this not feasible.

    Thanks all! We will keep working on the problems and trying creative solutions.

    Blue Cross
    bluecross here: bluecross (at) burningman.com

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  • @shelly-why can’t they just let you drive on the playa the whole way down to empire and bypass that shitty little town on the way out and hit the road in a straight shot.

    The exit from the playa at 0 mile entrance is potentially very hazardous. Most of the year it is not passable for many vehicles. More-over, while you may find the quaint and wonderful community of Gerlach, “shitty,” it is home to our generous hosts and neighbors. The town is home to good people who consent to allow our community to set up camp for months each year in their backyard. Please show some respect to the people you share this beautiful place with.

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  • @Andrew – Correct, the BLM permit stipulations do reference a maximum of 1000 v/h

    I am not even sure if that is viable, but then they know more than I do in that matter I guess.

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  • At BMIR – Burning Man Information Radio (94.5 FM) we will once again be working closely with the Exodus team to get you information on wait times, info on when is a good time to leave and more.

    We know that you want Exodus information when you need it and you don’t want to wait for a DJ to finish playing three songs. So we encourage you to tune into GARS (Gate Area Radio Station) – 95.1 FM which will broadcast just info about Exodus, get the information you need and then tune back to BMIR for entertainment while you’re in the line.

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  • One problem that never seems to be addressed is the yahoos that drive across the open playa, creating their own roads and circumventing the lines. In the process they create problems when they all try to squeeze back into line just before the road. Maybe a few Rangers, DPW, or BLM, out there to keep everyone in line and on the established road.

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  • Have folks considered staging people turning right at NV-447 separately? It seems like a bunch of people turn and go north there, and letting groups that were going north stage up and then shutting down the other NV-34 lane to let them get through in waves. That would enable NV-34 to keep going most of the time and also to reduce the amount of traffic backed up waiting to get into Gerlach.

    I read the various parts of the EA ( https://www.blm.gov/epl-front-office/projects/nepa/28954/37412/39212/Burning_Man_DOI-BLM-NV-W030-2012-0007-Final_EA.pdf ) having to do with traffic, but not being a traffic engineer, I’m not sure about the conclusion. Certainly, it would be easier for going to the Northwest.

    It’s a big challenge, thank you all for taking it on. –Corprew

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  • Those people who skip lines are in for big tickets. Don’t let ‘em in line, leave ;em hanging out for the cops to get.

    I don’t remember pulsing in 2010 – I do remember being stopped a lot, but there was some flow much of the time – maybe other people hadn’t figured pulsing out? I quite enjoyed pulsing in 2011 (fewer stopped cars: esp. drained batteries from dust covered belts slipping, fewer jumps needed), once I figured out what was going on. Definitely a win.

    I’m in charge of a theme-camp, and have scheduled stuff for after 12:01… however that’s caused some hassle, since potentially a truck needs to go out, and then come back in, then go out – and one of my subcamps has a tight schedule, so we have to move workers and truck thru exodus and then do it all again, which is going to do a number on their exhaustion levels.

    8 hrs in the vehicle in exodus, after doing 8+ hours of moop and teardown meant stopping roadside last year because of exhaustion. Did a number on me (since there was plenty that needed to get done in camp duties the next couple of days). By the time I was ready to start tearing down my personal shade, it was the time it was, and got into exodus after that. Going back to camp, when there isn’t a camp there is… well, not a great option, and every other camp was pretty busy doing their own teardown, not-so interested in visitors, and me even less interested in imposing on them.

    What’s the status on the rail-line? Roll on/roll off, esp. if it’s somewhere far down the line might be interesting.

    I’m pro-more burners per hour. But, in the end that’s going to leave the infrastructure guys holding the bag, and having to stay later (to avoid lines) or running the trucks and trailers holding the bulk of the camping infrastructure in the ‘individual’ line. I’ve ride-shared in RVs in prior years, and usually we schedule one person (me) to do the exodus drive, then put someone who’s been sleeping in as a fresh driver. Multiple people per vehicle have more/safer options for driving, than singles. Which, if we were to assist singles, wouldn’t encourage people to carpool.

    Making a deadline to use a reserved space is difficult when you’re the guy waiting for other people to get their shit together and leave so you can moop / teardown the shade structures / box it all up for storage / etc.

    That said, I’ve had some (fairly) good times in exodus lines over the years.

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  • Two things I’d suggest that would help people spread out load in a distributed manner:

    1) Publishing an average wait time graph that shows the wait times for any given hour of departure in previous years, for the whole event. Update every year.
    2) Funding some massive art project (massive in size or distribution) that indicates the current wait time, so people can decide live whether to leave or chill out for a bit.

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  • @Blues Bob – Those types of violators are exactly why BRC has a Perimeter Patrol. Among other things, they make sure anyone who tries to bypass the line on gate road is intercepted and returned to the proper path, and any locals or other non-participants stay out of the event closure area. BLM also patrols those areas regularly, and will ticket anyone they get to first.

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  • One thing that people seem to forget is that there have been minds dedicated to this problem for the past decade and that the current situation is the best it can be given the circumstances and réal politic. Almost every suggestion i’ve read on here is a legal or cultural impossibility that has been considered already. This is not to say stop lobbing suggestions(as someone can always think of something new) , rather to temper your judgement when your theory on how things could be better is not implemented. Chances are it has already been suggested and rejected due to a lack of feasibility.

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  • Seems to me you know where the choke points are and how long it takes to travel from one to the next… so observe the traffic and ask people to stay until delay is not long… much safer not to leave until traffic delay is minimal. It would require people to be cooperative. Or to stop people at the first choke point and where water and other service would be provided/ available. this would allow people to be in line but not get left out in middle of know where. In summary my contribution is to suggest that you manage your flow so that choke points b,c,d,e,f are easily traversed and never have a long wait

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  • I would love for there to be shuttles between Reno and BRC, especially to/from the man burn and the temple burn. If these shuttles could use point 1 instead of the gate road, it would create a huge inventive to pack up and drive to Reno on Saturday and then come back for the burns. I’ve thought about going to Reno on Saturday and flying in for the temple burn, but since planes can’t take off after dark, we’d have to find a place to crash Sunday night and fly out Monday morning. Maybe a bunk house at the airport? Anyway, I’m very happy about the traffic improvements being made this year!

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  • @mike: The significant chokepoint is getting onto the blacktop. All the others end up being (comparitively) insignificant. Exodus is going to have people in Gerlach to help manage the traffic (potential chokepoint) there. And what Kristy (the author) has said is that there will be more information available during exodus about queues and wait times.

    @snacky: there are now shuttles to Reno. I think the details were in the last JRS (maybe… but a google search will sort that out).

    Remember that there is a special place in hell for people for people that queue jump pulsing lines.

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  • Single lane highway right. Means two lanes. Why not use both lanes for the exit. Just reverse the flow of the left lane for a few hours. In traffic cones we trust ;)

    The other problem I saw last year was dead cars in the line. Be it gas shortage or mechanical. Tow trucks should be standing by to pull these ones aside or assist hem back to health .

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  • @Sknytrate: We are not the only ones that use the road – traffic does need to enter BRC as well. I don’t think the “authorities” would agree to incoming traffic being diverted off the blacktop onto the shoulder! But even if you had two lanes of blacktop straight after exiting the playa you still have to merge that traffic to one lane at some point. This just creates another chokepoint. And dead cars… well a push onto the side of the road and some quick thinking drivers to help do that might be all that is needed.

    Sadly it is just not possible to make the eye of the needle any bigger for the traffic to flow through it.

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  • @Tow trucks should be standing by to pull these ones aside or assist hem back to health

    Because people sitting around for an hour helping others would really mess with your entitlement plans.

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  • Some observations from one who has flagged @ BM
    1. Make sure your gear is fully tied down, bins locked, everything ship shape ON THE PLAYA BEFORE YOU GET IN EXODUS DEPARTURE LINE. The whole process works most effectively if everyone can keep moving in an orderly way. Your even one minute stop to re-tie the tarp messes with traffic behind you no end. GO WITH THE FLOW.
    2. Don’t plan on stopping to “meet friends”, “join up your wagon train home” or for any other reason at the playa exit to the highway. Get in the order you want to be in before you leave the playa and stay that way right into Gerlach and down the road home. Such stops are unsafe, block traffic and visibility for other burners leaving the playa. If you want to do a meet up, choose Gerlach, Nixon, or some clear cut place down the road that has plenty of room for your whole party well off the road.
    3. If you have a breakdown or genuine emergency near the highway and can do so, move down the highway as far as you can. Vehicles, especially big ones (buses etc.) that park on the highway right at the 8 mile Playa entrance are a safety hazard big time. You have less chance of messing with others and less chance of getting hit yourself the further away from the main exit you can get.
    4. FOLLOW THE DIRECTION OF THE FLAGGERS! Stop means STOP, not slow, not almost stop. FULL STOP. SLOW means proceed carefully and safely as you turn. Don’t go 1 mile ah hour; don’t accelerate to Indy 500 speeds. The flaggers improve traffic flow. They help you get home faster IF YOU DO AS DIRECTED.
    5. Remember that 80% or more of the folks in line with you are BURNERS. They are ready for most issues, tied their stuff down, and can follow simple directions like STOP and GO. They will help you out in a heartbeat if you happen to run into unexpected trouble on the way home.

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  • One small thing I’d like to add is that besides the railroad crossing on the far side of the playa being unfeasible for exodous, the road on the other side, Jungo road is known to locals and the crew as a killer of tires, and sadly, the killer of people.

    The only constructive idea I have is that if there was a way of identifying and making a special line for folks heading up toward Cederville/Alturas (ie: Washington/Oregon – North on the 447, perhaps by license plate) and those folks were mixed into the ones heading South on the 447, that might eliminate some congestion just before Gerlach. (But I’m sure folks, hot, dusty and hungover would cheat all they could to hit the 34 quicker.)

    Probably the only realistic solution is a few more pullouts on the 447, and possibly no passing being enforced. (With no evidence to support it, I am under the impression that a majority of post-event accidents on the 447 have been due to passing.)

    Last, Blue Cross is a righteous guy, and I am certain that the Exodus crew is as concerned with getting you home as quickly and safely as you are.

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  • DON’T HURRY!!! WE ARE TIRED, AND…….DUSTY…… AND SOME OF US ALITTLE NERVOUS ABOUT HOW THE BUS IS GONNA HANDLE THE BREAKNECK SPEED AND HERE COMES SOME FUCKING DUDE, GOING FASTER, PASSING AND RAIS’N ONE LAST HEAP OF DUST PISS’N OFF ALOT OF PEOPLE , I MEAN, MY GOD MAN HAVENT YOU LEARNED NOTHIN’ IN THE PAST FUCKIN WEEK? IF SO, WHY WOULD YOU PISS OFF PEOPLE YOU LOVE? …..WAIT………ITS COMING TO ME……………EXODUS ESCORTS, BOY THAT WOULD SLOW THE DUDE DOWN, NOW HE’D BE ONE OF THE SLOW ONES WE ALL PASS. FUCK IT WE’RE ALL DOOMED LETS ALL GO JUST AS FAST AS WE CAN AND RACE TO GERLACH…. ON THE PLAYA!!! YES, 20,000 VEHICLES AT 60 MPH. IT WOULD ALL BE OVER IN 10 MINUTES, AND WHAT A PILE-UP AT THE END……NOW THAT’S AN EXODUS!!!!!!!
    STOP BITCHIN, YOU ARE NOT OUT OF BURNING MAN YET! DONT LOSE THE ENERGY! BE HAPPY! ACCEPT YOUR CONDITION AS THE PROCESS OF FERTILITY.

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  • I’m always surprised how at the moment burners enter their cars, all that peace & love bullshit goes out the window. Then it’s every one for themselves – just like in the default world. All it takes is shutting the door to your car and you’re back home, your REAL home, where you hate everyone again.

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  • Last year when I arrived on Monday morning I left the highway and 6am and started queuing up. As the lines formed up things began to move more slowly so people got out, walked around, unpacked a few bikes and generally began to get into the rhythm of BM. And then we came up to the gate. I think there were maybe six lines. One person handling two lanes at a time. This person said to the car in front of me, “Everybody back in the car and put the bikes back on the racks”. This took easily 15 minutes for these guys to reassemble. And that was just one car. So my suggestion is simply this:

    Please have some gate people telling folks to get reorganized about 10 cars back from the checkpoint. This will save so much time and is so easy.
    Looking forward to another great burn.

    Gregg Krogstad

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  • I volunteered for Exodus as a Pulser in 2010, and it was a great experience. Some of the good suggestions above aren’t feasible because of lack of resources – eg, lack of volunteers – so why don’t some of you volunteer for Exodus? I am not going to the Burn this year, but when I return I will definitely be helping out Gate on this very trying day.

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  • I too am constantly baffled by the mood that surrounds exodus. It is a part of our culture and Burning Man doesn’t end the moment we enter our cars. Keep the happy energy going!

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  • Blue Cross, Christy — I would love to see the data. I am not sure why, but in 14 years of exodus I’ve not seen significant backup in Gerlach even though I have often heard reports that it is the chokepoint. I believe there is an easy solution at the left turn onto 34 — if you want it — namely a rental traffic light. When drivers see a human flagger on the road, their instinct is to slow, use caution and eventually obey the flagger. When they see a traffic light, their instinct is to turn quickly to make sure they make the light. Two marked lanes and two left arrow lights would make it clearer. The flagger would reverse the lights when traffic appeared on 34 going south.

    However, improving this chokepoint does not help that much if we just fill up the next chokepoint. For that, flag crews in Gerlach can help, the more serious approach with NV cooperation would be building a Gerlach bypass — it’s not as expensive as it sounds, at least if that graded dirt track just north of town is legally available to be chipsealed. Don’t know who controls that land, though. Once you get to building on less stable ground like playa where you have to grade as well as chipseal, it’s a whole other story. A single lane, one-way bypass can be quite inexpensive to chipseal if grading is minimal and land purchase is not required.)

    One reason I am surprised it is in Gerlach is that all the folks heading north on 447 have left the road by then.

    How many vehicles total are there at Burning Man? How many cars vs. how many heavier? What fraction of the city goes north on 447?

    The most extreme plan: Chipseal 49 (Jungo Rd.) from the closest available track crossing and playa entrance. Have a flagger for the rare train for safety. Cars only. Seal only one lane if possible. It is 14 miles to main Trego entrance, there is a lesser entrance at 10 miles. One must also widen 447 between Empire and Gerlach by one mile to build a merge zone, and have another temporary light. A large project, perhaps $300K, but amortized over several years it pays back nicely. But none of it can increase capacity on 447 south from Empire itself.

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  • I’d like to restate what I said before. Jungo road is not an option. I’m not being superstitious in saying it’s a tire and people killer. (Though I’ve almost been killed on it!) The railroad crossing is not suited for Exodus, and couldn’t be beefed up, due to the soft condition of the earth below the tracks, muddiness on that side of the playa. Beyond that, if you were to split the traffic in two sides, or have folks cross the playa solely in that direction, the burden on Playa Restoration would be that much worse. I was tasked with inspecting and troubleshooting the moop on gate road (from greeters to the 34) last year after the event, it took days. To move that mess for more miles onto the other side of the Playa and for 14 miles down to Empire? And what about Exodus having to cross the airport?

    Please folks, leave Jungo road out of this. It’s not an option.

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  • I second what openmike said.

    in 2011, I chose to leave just as the temple started burning on Sunday. There was very little traffic getting out, but I was surprised and upset by how many drivers sped by at up to 40 mph, raising massive walls of dust that lingered for minutes, making forward movement all but impossible. These inconsiderate drivers must have been kind-hearted burners at some point. It took a concerted effort on my part to keep my anger in check, as I felt totally helpless and at their mercy, as their speeding kept me stuck on the playa. All told, I still exodused from the playa in under an hour, which is a miracle and nothing to complain about. Even still, I would have hoped for more traffic speed enforcement, for safety reasons if nothing else. Without a deterrent, what stops everyone from racing towards the exit?

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  • thank you for the info/update!

    this year, as in years past, we are carpooling. we’ll be arriving & departing in the BLACK ROCK CITY SPARKLE PONY EXPRESS (a 35′ school bus to RV conversion).
    7 souls and all our gear & theme camp’s gear onboard. all gear stored inside with the exception of two bikes on a real & secure bike rack on the front of the bus. no gear tied on the roof. no trailer, no gear hanging off the sides or back. all our shit inside, under control.

    not going to mention our arrival and departure times, but non-peak.

    we will drive slowly, follow traffic folks instructions, and have a good attitude.

    part of getting into and out of burning man is part of the burning man adventure. we already know it will be slow going, so we’ll just be prepared and go with the flow.

    sad things i’ve seen in years past…one, a big van was leaving the playa, going faster that it should have been, kicking up tons of dust, cutting people off on the way off the playa, all with big PEACE & LOVE with cute flowers, written on the sides of the van. now how fucked up it that? i don’t think they learned a thing while on the playa. sadness.

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  • On another note…..For those posting/writing in just to belly-ache and whine, and offer no solutions….

    The world is a huge place, with many other opportunities to explore, so go do something else if you can’t wait in line for 4, 5, or 6 hours getting in or out. Face it, it’s part of the Burning Man reality and experience.

    Either prepare yourselves for possible long waiting times, heat, dust, and some short tempers.
    Leave at night to beat the heat? Beating the dust? Good luck with that.
    Short tempers? All you can do is control yours.
    OR…go do something else.

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  • Gate road is roughly 5 miles long (Greeters to pavement). Pulsing takes place along the last mile just before pavement and is divided into 4 sections which filter 15 minutes each section. That is about 1 mile/hr under the ideal operations of the pulsing team. Sometimes it takes longer when that little country road backs up, it just isn’t designed to handle 10s of thousands of irritable drivers trying to get to work on Tuesday.

    If you get impatient (it happens) and cut people off, it slows everyone else down. You end up screwing over everyone you just had the time of your life with and putting traffic staff in danger. Play the game well and stay in one lane. It doesn’t matter what lane you are in as the pulsing sections are released in sections. If you are stopped at Greeters and you have a 5 hr wait (1mile/hr) under ideal conditions.

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  • If it was just a rumor that there was an accident on I-80 last year, why did BMIR announce there was and beg people not to join the exodus line and stay til Tuesday?

    That said, the only thing that made it take a hour to get to pavement on Tuesday was the horrid ruts & potholes on Gate road. I don’t remeber The road being so bad in the past, when my exit time was very early Monday morning.

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  • @Pink – WE makes those ruts and potholes so I guess we are all to blame. You may ask yourself, well, how did they get there? Changing lanes and rapid acceleration would be some factors to note. That and people driving on wet roads. Avoid those and things might improve.

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  • I had just never experienced it so bad before. But then again, this was the first time I left Tuesday afternoon rather than very early Monday morning. 40k more people in front of me. Screw speeding-at parts I think I was going about 1mph.

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  • I have been leaving on Tuesdays for years, and last year’s scary potholes, ruts and washboard on the access route was exceptional.
    Where I live, dirt roads that are freshly graded stay smooth until it rains, and only then do they develop washboard. I am assuming the same factors applies to playa as well.

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  • The org numbers may show as many 20% of vehicles are from points North – Oregon, Washington, Canada and Eastern Idaho, and do not even need to stop in Gerlach for gas and supplies outbound. Any way to take advantage of that?

    A survey of Route 34 North to Vya should be done and a decision with the highway department on recommending that route needs to be done and publicized.

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  • free radical Says:
    … I was surprised and upset by how many drivers sped by at up to 40 mph, raising massive walls of dust that lingered for minutes, making forward movement all but impossible…

    Same issue arriving in quiet time when there are open lanes. Some hit the playa and hit the gas. They have to get there first. Any speed over 10 mph, even 15 mph, puts tons of dust up into the air. So with idiots bombing by at 20 mph, 30 mph and 40 mph to get into BRC ten minutes quicker, they go for the windward lane and shutdown the other lanes with a whiteout that lasts until a cross-breeze blows it to the side. If the wind is blowing towards BRC, parts of the City get a white-out too. Particularly bad Friday night before the burn as people rush in for the weekend.

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  • Blah, blah, blah….BMorg cares my ass. Expect horrible Entry and Exodus again this year. Just like last year … and the year before that … and the year before that … and the year before that. They got your ticket money already. Customer Service is *not* part of the business model for this out of touch CORPORATION!

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  • THERE IS A SOLUTION!

    Advance allocation of exit slots would save incredible amounts of time, gas and frustration.

    Not too late to implement this even for 2012.

    These systems really work, as the traffic engineers among us know. Please, please do implement something, simple or complex, so we can wait in camp for our exit slot, and not in line.

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  • I second these motions:

    Single lane highway right. Means two lanes. Why not use both lanes for the exit. Just reverse the flow of the left lane for a few hours. In traffic cones we trust ;) You could even dedicate the right lane, on exodus, for north-bound traffic only.

    The other problem I saw last year was dead cars in the line. Be it gas shortage or mechanical. Tow trucks should be standing by to pull these ones aside or assist hem back to health. Indeed. I’m pretty sure even if the nice people next to me wanted to, they couldn’t push my 12,000 lb bus out of the way without some help.

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  • Re: Potholes and Ruts.

    There was rain on opening night of the event and just before. It is likely that those potholes and ruts were made as people were *entering* the city… as individual cars picked up giant clods of playa (like playa platforms on boots) and redistributed them…. creating both Holes and surface bumps.

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  • There is a gravel road leaving Gerlach,I believe it comes out in Susanville. I have a camper who comes and goes that way to and from every year and it would service many California campers. The road could be improved and lighten up the traffic on the two lane road heading to Reno.
    I really don’t know much about the road but it’s the ONLY way to exit more people quicker. Perhaps some of the grants and other giveaways could be curbed for a year and could help fund the improvements to the road.

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  • hey! i have an idea! put a BIG signpost at 6:00 and the exit road(s) displaying estimated “hours to reach the highway”. Could be a big pointer that is rotated to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, … hours

    Knowing how long the queue is would INFORM ME whether I want to park in the queue (ugh) or chill under a shade structure with my (soon-to-be-ex- :) neighbors, and leave room for those with tight schedules who NEED to get out due to work schedules or whatever.

    As it is it’s a gamble, is it 2? 4? 8?!!!! hours parked in the hot sun?

    Updated once an hour on the hour would be good enough.

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  • The worse thing is people passing. You really aren’t going to get there any faster by recklessly passing multiple vehicles on the two lane highway. It can be pretty hazardess for all. Chill out. Slow down and be safe. You will get there eventually!

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  • RE: traffic going north on 447
    While increased traffic heading north on 447 would reduce traffic through Gerlach and points south of there, it will not affect the time it takes to get off the playa (since vehicles going north on 447 still have to head toward Gerlach on 34 with the rest of the traffic). We are already moving vehicles off the playa and onto 34 as fast as we can (without backing up to the event site, which we cannot do).

    @Burning Crotch
    Customer service is not the main model for this event, community and participation is. All of us in Gate, Perimeter and Exodus, like all other Burning Man departments, are participants like you. Anything and everything that happens at this event does so because of the participants who make it happen. I look forward to seeing you out in the dusty lanes of Gate Road with us.

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  • I would still like a survey of Route 34 North to Vya and Cedarville, but a quick investigation leads me to think it’s gravel for much of its length to the California border, no mobile coverage and little traffic in case of a mishap. So don’t go that way yet, maybe another Trego!

    Suggest the org look at more bus-like services, there is a huge demand.

    Suggested before, set up FM transmitters along the route between gate road and I-80 with status and guidance in real time.

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  • I left last year around 6-6:30pm on Sunday, and sailed out to the road without ever stopping. I vowed at that point to always leave before Temple Burn. Now I’m hearing that it was a fluke that last year’s Sunday Exodus was that way? Damn.

    Not going this year, as I’ve been unable to find my Playa mojo, but hope that solutions are discovered, since this is a major sticking point for many Burners.

    I still say that consideration should be given to re-siting Burning Man in a place that is more easily accessible and can handle the increased attendance.

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  • @ Some Seeing Eye

    34 to Vya is all gravel after Fly Springs going north. Not suitable for the city/suburban vehicle type tire. The gravel loves to tear open the sidewalls on street radial tires. I came down it last year in my 3/4 ton truck with heavy duty tires and still had a flat on the way…! I only passed 2 other vehicles on my way down over 70+ miles. Not recommended as an alternate.

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  • wow people, come on, most complaints i’ve read are totally invalid. Wait times are announced on BMIR, and apparantly new this year a gate area radio station, besides, 55,000+ people on a 2 lane highway, theres going to be some wait, Dont have any water? Its kind of your responsibility to ensure you have enough water for the week, including exodus. Worried about the heat? Take some steps to reduce it, theres many things you can do to cool yourself off. Almost every complaint about exodus is user error. Do just a little bit of thinking people, All you need to succeed at any task in life is to be a minimum of 2% smarter than the task at hand, If you cannot manage to be 2% smarter than a line of vehicles in a barren desert, im not entirely sure you deserve to be alive, Fack i hate stupidity

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  • Fast and slow vehicles together in the same lane hinders overall traffic flow.
    Set times may allow better management.
    Option 1: Use 2 lanes for 1 direction at certain times, slow vehicles in right lane only, cars in left lane only. So people know when traffic will flow the fastest.

    Option 2:For 2.5 hours traffic flows one direction, then takes 30 minutes to get onto the shoulder, then for 2.5 hours traffic flows the other direction, then takes 30 minutes to get onto the shoulder, rinse and repeat. The advantage being that people will have a pre-published schedule to follow.

    Option 3:Slower vehicles must arrive first, a day or 2 in advance of smaller/faster vehicles only time. Thus encouraging carpooling in large vehicles. Larger vehicles carry more provisions, so they are better prepared for a longer stay. Reverse for exodus (faster vehicles leave first, then slower the next days).

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  • My biggest issue is with the entrance. The exit is a physical limitation of the roadway. The entrance is MAN MADE and that is B.S.!

    Has anyone noticed the railway that goes from Reno to Gerlach and along lake bed?
    You can haul a lot of weight inexpensively on Rail! It is owned by Southern Pacific Railroad.

    I might mention that I volunteered to work the entrance and was turned down! No kidding!
    The more inspectors you have, the faster the entrance, the smaller the line!

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  • I was one of the ones stuck in that 2011 8 hour Monday exodus (really, 8 hours, damn!). If I could afford to leave on Tuesday then I would love to do so! In years past I remember leaving on Sunday and it not being a huge ordeal.

    It was kind of fun leaving, though, that hot Monday afternoon as we finally had a reason to eat our 2 watermelons that we had “forgotten” about (the watermelons disappeared in seven minutes), opportunities to bum cigarettes and see what was happening, a chance to fly kites and run across the desert, finally meet those hard to meet people, meet people who live right by you, listen to some (and please no offense) ersatz DJ music, and three more effing final hours to sit in the hot car :) I am amazed that folks even dreamt up “exodus care packages.” In 2005 someone gave me a stay cool spray bottle that kept me sane. Very thoughtful. I’ll pack the watermelons again this year.

    I do like the idea on an optional return line and plenty of porto-potties. Driving across the open desert like it’s North Africa is very foolish idea and only thing you can get into fast is serious trouble (not to mention getting arrested).

    We also have to keep in mind that Black Rock Desert is a very rural area and this is not Las Vegas! Thank God! No 8-lane, black top mega highways for us here. There is a slower pace of life and environmental limitations to consider. Not to mention respect for the local folks who have to deal with all our company and plan around our annual salmon run. I am sure that we have already considered the fastest and safest possible ways to leave our art festival and we are continuously improving our process.

    With all that said I am bringing my airplane next year.. just kidding!

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  • @Steve “Sparky” Pucillo:
    You are not the only one who has noticed the railway. I know some Burners that have been trying to get SPR to lease time/space to ‘us’ for years, to get both freight and people to BRC more quickly and safely. I know there was a need for an Environmental Report on the station in Gerlach–asbestos insulation, maybe? I’ll try to see if I can rustle up someone with more info.

    @ Everyone:
    Yup, those folks who ‘have to’ speed once they get on playa are annoying. Sure, the limit may be 10mph between gate & greeters, but, eh. I usually stay 5mph anyhow, just ‘cuz I don’t want to make dust clouds for my neighbors. It really isn’t that hard to wait another minute or two, to get to camp.

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  • Thanks for the link, Ali Baba.

    Yes, I’ve been in talks with Amtrak and Union Pacific to discuss the idea. It’s not popular with UP because it involves a nuisance. Corporations don’t like nuisances especially ones that are infrequent and not a huge revenue generator.

    First, the tracks from Gerlach to Reno are westbound traffic only and UP is not interested in changing that. So that forces us on to the eastbound set of tracks through the Sierra Nevadas. Not a huge problem but the tracks go to Winnemucca.

    Second, freight lines really are not up to the same specs as those used by passenger lines. UP will not invest dollars in maintenance to bring the Winnemucca to Gerlach section up tp passenger rail inspection standards especially for a once a year gig. Usually rail cars pay a wheelage fee to the host railway for use of track. This case would be unusual but a fee could be established with UP for use of track from Winnemucca to Gerlach and Gerlach to Reno.

    Having taken this discussion with the railways as far as I could, I still don’t think it’s impossible.

    We could buy a bulk number of seats on Amtrak from SF to Winnemucca ($125 return/person) and add on a rental baggage car for extra gear ($10.00/person). At Winnemucca, have Amtrak crew set off the baggage car.

    Our crew then hooks it up to a rental train (available from railway restoration and tourist railways – cost = $1000/day/car). That locomotive, passenger cars and baggage car could travel to Gerlach.

    Cost for this section of the trip depends entirely on the insurance requirement put on us by UP and the wheelage fee. I’ve organized these kinds of trips before and the national carriers try to prohibit this from happening by demanding outrageous amounts of insurance – usually $25 million (cost – $25,000).

    At that point we would end up with a bunch of burners landing in Gerlach with their personal gear and needing a way to get to the Gate. We could then investigate hiring bus transportation from Gerlach to Gate for trips on entry and vice versa on exodus. The return trip to SF could then go on the westbound line to Reno for hooking up with Amtrak.

    Ali Baba was correct about the station. An Environmental Report needs to be conducted if the station will be used by the public. Asbestos removal would be necessary. However, using the tracks does not necessarily mean you have to open the building.

    I’ve examined cutting out the bus costs by dropping folks on the edge of the playa north of Gerlach station however it is wetter on that side and it’s a heck of a hike with gear from there to BRC. This plan extends the MOOP field and would need to be orchestrated with the BMorganization.

    Would be happy to hear from anyone who sees flaws in my planning to date. Any new ideas would be welcome. I’ve talked with UP and Amtrak and with various tourist train outfits. Would like to pursue the idea but not sure if it is economically viable.

    Are there enough burners prepared to pay a couple hundred dollars each for a return trip by rail?

    And would taking a couple thousand burners (~1000 cars) off the highway really provide a significant enough impact to the exodus situation for all the energy involved.

    It’s been an academic exercise thus far and I’ve pursued it about as far as one could without laying out cash to proceed. In my opinion it would be an excellent project but not capable of covering its costs. That, in and of itself, is not a reason to not do it. Just bear in mind the costs are real.

    Feel free to contact me, if you are interested in pursuing.

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  • In perusing all this, it seems to me the Temple Burn should be on Friday, Thay may not make sense in an emotional or theatrical sense, but then people are hugely adaptable so would it make that much difference? Dunno. The Man burning is really the highlight of the event. If the Man burning were the final act of the week, people would start trickling out on Sunday, preparing and getting out the door. The lump in the snake would be hugely reduced.
    As it is, the only reason I stay on Sundays is to see the Temple, and more often now I’m skipping it to avoid the Monday Exodus zoo.
    The energy after the Man burns has this chaotic feel to it as the event’s major symbol is now dust and ashes. A huge night of partying followed by WTF moments, moop, collecting one’s sanity and preparing to depart back to Defaultia. Why not give people more time to collect their wits and get it together than have a major event Sunday night? It gives the impression of the event still happening when IMHO, when the Man burns, the event is over. Why not kiss, hug, say good bye and have a goodly space to get the fuck out.
    Besides, I love the Temple burns and hate to miss them. They should be happening in the fullness of the event, capped by the Man burn, not tacked on at the end as some kind of emotional bullet point. The Temple burn is always very sacred and special. Why not leverage that energy to mellow and balance the event before the Man burn? Wouldn’t that be a wonderful celebration followed by the Man burn? Fridays always seem overcrowded to me with events and too much going on at once. By pushing the Temple to Friday, the other events would also get pushed back a bit too, making it perhaps a bit less crowded. Also helping people to emotionally adjust to the actual end of the event (the Man goes down). Personally I’d rather have Sunday just be me and the desert recollecting my spirit before departure. The Temple on top of that is just too much.

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  • As I read the myriad of helpful, well-meaning “solutions” to the traffic problems, I am reminded of the old saying: too many cooks ruin the soup! Do burners really think the master planners haven’t had countless brainstorming sessions to try to remedy the situation? I recommend people stop clogging the site with their “insights” and use that time to better plan for exodus and adjust their default attitudes to reflect the BM spirit. Waiting is simply a part of the human existence – not just a BM issue. Most of us have spent considerable hours in airports, ERs, hospital waiting rooms, not to mention traffic!! Why bother yourself and others with complaint instead of just celebrating that you are one of just 60,000 people on the planet that get to participate/wait at BM. BM is certainly one of the best waits on the planet, people, so give up the grumbling!!

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  • Exodus starts with the outer perimeter road’s two lanes meeting up. Why are you opening up the roads to 4 to 6 lanes after that?? If it were kept to 2 lanes, you would only have one merge at the blacktop. Once cars are in their lane, if they could be a bit separated, it could avoid those lane changers.
    This would alleviate the cutters and speeders,
    The 8 hour parking lot issue,
    And burners in the city would know if there was a huge blockage on perimeter road, not to leave yet.
    Thanks,
    Kismet

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  • I have never had a bad exodus since I leave early or late to skip the waits and dust clouds. I stopped reading after Elliot’s comment.(See it below re-posted) It is the most obvious and simple solution to me from my experience.

    I would just add that the second best way to motivate people besides changing the main event schedule or duration of the total event would be to reduce ticket price for those who make an effort to leave at the not so popular times. A chance at coupons for next year ticket discounts would be a great incentive to wait or move early or late.

    This would be a great positive reinforcement to not leave a mess too. How about clean/green/moop camp awards using discount ticket coupons!

    The most contradicting part of non-corporate BLC is that we pay so much “legal tender” to buy/consume/purchase a ticket and fuel! Make this lesser item work to our advantage!

    Koiphish Moop Swimming Thoughts

    Re-post of simple solution!:
    Elliot Says:
    July 17th, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Hey there.

    A fundamental concept has gone unnoticed: As the size of the event grows, so must its duration. The equation is:

    Highway Capacity x Time = BRC Population.

    So in future years…. Determine the Highway Capacity that allows normal traffic flow without delays. The BRC Population is set in advance (60.900 this year). Solve for Time.

    Something like three days.

    The fixed point in time is the morning after Labor Day, when many must be back at work. So move the Temple burn and the Man burn a couple of days, not a couple of hours. And open the event several days earlier. Increase ticket price to match increased costs. Poor slobs like me earn tickets by volunteering. Done. :-)

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  • Love the attitude & spirit of this “One Hour Neighborhoods” posting.

    My suggestion is for ingress. Why have “they” not figured out that most of the hold-up is for all of the virgins who hold up the line for up to half an hour clanging the bell, rolling in the dust and taking pictures?

    Let’s create a separate line for those vehicles bringing in the first-timers. Let them take as much time as they please with this welcoming ritual and allow the rest of us seasoned burners access to our Home more directly!

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  • Major interstate highways can become made “uni – directional” rapidly in the event of a serious hurricane. Why this cannot be done at BRC is purely due to having no political will to do so. Planners for ingress and egress surrounding the event even have the luxury of knowing the date and possibly even the time for the influx of vehicles onto the roadway. Planning the evacuation prior to a hurricane is much more difficult because of this uncertainty – but somehow we manage to do that.

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  • Again, many thanks to everyone for being part of the conversation!

    @BeeWee
    Travel from the event goes through several towns on a rural highway. If those roads were made uni-directional, locals would not be able to traverse the roads as they need to. Think about how that would make you feel in your hometown. Do the needs of Burners leaving the event supersede the residents being able to get to and from their homes?

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  • my suggestion is for entry- why not widen the gates and the lanes up to them- and you could also divert the RVs and trailers to one side for inspection since they take longer to look thru – this might take more volunteers – so what? – people who have driven many hours and wait in line for hours are not interested in an entry ritual – patience is thinner – they’ll take their pamphlets and get inside – and it’s a teeth gnasher to have the gate keepers ignore the entry line and walk off to have a casual conversation with their fellow keepers

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  • Seems like the political, social, economic issues are not being finessed with the locals. It’s got to be a big economic benefit for them, but the additute is one of hostility by law enforcement. There should be cops taking down the stop signs and waiving people through, temporary increases in the many speed traps so that speed limits are uniform, use of both lanes wherever possible. Maybe even a temporary road bypassing Gerlach entirely. They do this stuff for rock concerts it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out. It isn’t just the dusty stretch of road to the pavement that’s the problem, its 90 miles of traffic to I-80 that slows everything down.

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  • I turn right once I get to the pavement and begin my 37 hour drive home, so the reason for the 6+ hour wait doesn’t even pertain to me. Just have to make the best of the wait. Many of you are superior at bitching btw.

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  • Parlye,
    I did my fair share of bitching but I also stepped up and volunteered to work the entrance this year. I was turned down because they evidently have “enough” people for the entrance!
    I guess there won’t be any wait at the entrance with all of those people the have!
    I feel the gate workers are a clique and if you’re not in, you’re out!

    toola had some pretty harsh words for entrance crew!
    http://blog.burningman.com/2012/07/building-brc/behind-the-scenes-dpwgate-work-weekend-at-the-ranch/

    I hope there are some BM management personnel with enough integrity to make sure this is not the case.

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