Solving Burning Man’s Traffic Issues

Line of Cars, 2011 (photo by Peg Ortner)
Line of Cars, 2011 (photo by Peg Ortner)

Traffic is the greatest impediment to the growth and sustainability of Black Rock City. Burning Man is under pressure from the Bureau of Land Management and Nevada Department of Transportation to reduce the number of cars entering the event. Highways 447 and 34 are at max capacity during the event and we’re being asked to pay for road damage caused by participant vehicles. Road travel represents 60% of the carbon emissions related to the event.

And the #1 challenge experienced by participants last year? Entry and Exodus.

Clearly, it’s critical we address the traffic issue — and we can only solve this problem by working together as a community. To that end, Burning Man is expanding existing programs and launching new ones to encourage participants to rideshare or take alternative transportation. These programs include:

Awareness
Our community has always policed itself — and changed its behavior when necessary — through awareness. That’s how we became the largest Leave No Trace event in the world, against seemingly impossible odds. Burning Man will continue pushing this information out into the community throughout the year so we can solve these issues together.

Burner Express
Burner Express exceeded all expectations during its inaugural run in 2013, accommodating 2,459 riders to and from San Francisco and Reno-Tahoe International Airport, and participant feedback about the experience was overwhelmingly positive. This year we will expand the service, increasing capacity to 5,000 riders. Tickets for Burner Express will go on sale in late February … keep an eye out for an announcement of exactly when. (more…)

Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Offers Trash Collection

Photo via USDA NCRS on Wikipedia.
Photo via USDA NCRS on Wikimedia.

We’ve talked a lot about trash: how to reduce it, ways to manage it, and where to take it after Burning Man is over. The latter is always the biggest challenge, year after year.

New this year: The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe’s stores on Highway 447 in Nixon and Wadsworth will be accepting Burner refuse for 24 hours a day, starting Saturday of the Burn until Tuesday after the event (more details below).

The program is offered through the Public Utilities Department (PUD) of the Tribe and is designed to target last year’s issue of nasty overflowing dumpsters at both stores.  The PUD will have dumpsters at both stores again, but this year they will man those stores for 24 hours a day, Saturday of the Man Burn thru Tuesday post event. The PUD will charge $5.00 for regular and properly bagged refuse. They will also accept (but charge more for) carpet ($25), sofas, bedding, etc.  Check out both stores on Highway 447 to properly dispose of your trash, support the tribe and grab a snack for the road.  And don’t forget to say “THANK YOU!”

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe (PLPT) has lived here for thousands of years. The land we travel through–and the land we camp on–is considered sacred and has always been theirs. Visit the Paiute Tribe’s website to learn more about their history, Pyramid Lake, their business amenities, and the incredible work they do with endangered and ancient trout.  By providing trash services to Burners, this year the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe (PLPT) is raising money for the community while doing you a BIG favor. Don’t forget to say thank you!

Details on trash drop-off:

  • Drop off points are at the PLPT stores  on Hwy 447 in Nixon and Wadsworth (at Interstate 80).
  • Trash is $5 per bag.
  • Carpet and oversized items will be accepted, but will cost more to drop off.
  • All of the money collected will benefit the tribe.

Ways to say “thanks”:

  • Drive slowly through town! You are passing schools and neighborhoods.
  • Stop at Fry Bread stands, have a snack and donate to the local food drive.
  • Visit the Museum and Visitors Center (near the junction of 446 and 447 at the Nixon store) to see great art and learn about Paiute culture and history.
  • Respect the lake: you must obtain a permit to camp there.
  • Saty “Thank you” to everyone you interact with from the tribe – it’s that simple!

A final reminder: Nixon is 60 miles from Gerlach. Your trash needs to be secured well enough to make that 60 mile drive. There is no place to drop trash near the Black Rock Desert. Pack it out!

What’s the deal with dropping off trash on the way home?

Photo by aturkus on Flickr.
Photo by aturkus on Flickr.

It’s almost that time! The excitement, the drama, the sleepless preparations are mounting and our hearts all beat a little faster with each passing day. What are you excited about? The fire, the art, the art on fire? Not me. This time of year, people like me and Nathan Aaron Heller (not pictured) can only think about one thing: trash.

Nathan volunteers his time to organize EXTRA, the network of trash drop-off points stretching from Gerlach to Reno to Cedarville. As one-man shows go, EXTRA is a big job, and it makes a big difference: instead of carting your cans and rinds all the way home, you can now drop them off and help support local businesses.

Who wouldn’t be excited about that? Hot trash! Love it!

So how does it work?

Just sort your recyclables and bag your trash, and take them to one of the drop-off points. It’s probably best to find a place that’s not overcrowded — Highway 447 in particular can be a pretty amazing traffic jam — so, if the road is busy, head for one of the spots in Reno or Sparks. Many of them are even open 24 hours during the height of Exodus.

What can I drop off?

Everything but poop. I’m serious folks (and not sure why I need to tell you this), no excrement.

There are drop-off points for bicycles, plastics (SPI 1-5), glass, all metals, paper, cardboard, plastic bags, household batteries (rechargeable and disposable), and nonperishable food and water. Please have your recyclables as clean as playa possible, sorted and de-bagged before depositing into the appropriate containers. Please deposit your trash separately into the appropriate dumpsters.

Phew! Well, I’m all worn out from the excitement. Talking about trash just makes my day. If you want to know more (and really, who doesn’t?), you’ll find complete information in your survival guide.

This is The Hun, live and trashy, signing out.

Burning Man is a Leave No Trace Event.

There is no garbage collection service at Burning Man. We are the largest Leave No Trace event in the world. This means that every participant is responsible for making the greatest possible effort to leave the Black Rock Desert in the same condition (or better!) than it was in when you arrived. That includes picking up Matter Out Of Place, packing out all your own trash, not polluting the playa and avoiding burn scars and oil drips.

Leave No Trace is one of the Ten Principles guiding our community. Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.

Exodus: Let’s do it again! This time with feeling.

[Kristy Evans is Burning Man’s Gate, Perimeter & Exodus Manager … she knows whereof she speaks, so listen up.]

exodus_2
Exodus. Don’t let this happen to you!

The most common question I received after the 2012 event: what did you guys do to make Exodus so much better? The short answer is that YOU were a major part of the solution. You spread out your departures over enough days and times, and did it in a fairly balanced way. That is the most effective solution to reducing Exodus wait times. Let’s do that again, shall we?

Now, here’s the thing … we can’t get complacent! Because if everybody thinks, “Well 2012 was a breeze, clearly the problem is solved and I can leave anytime!”, we’ll find ourselves right back in long Exodus lines again. What we need to do is make a plan for Exodus. All of us. (more…)

Burner Express Offers Bus Service to and from Black Rock City

No, not this bus. (Photo by Brian Erzen, 2010)
No, not this bus. (Photo by Brian Erzen, 2010)

In an effort to reduce traffic and limit the environmental impact of our event, Burning Man organizers are offering the Burner Express bus service with pickups in San Francisco and the Reno airport to Black Rock City and back. This service offers early arrival, speedier entrance, ticket pick up, reserved camping and quicker departures.

Burner Express is ideal for participants flying into the event and for Burners involved in art projects and theme camps having their gear hauled in by campmates. Tickets start at $60 one way from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport and $95 one way from the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. Additional charges apply for extra luggage or for a stop at a grocery store in Reno. Departures begin from both locations Saturday, August 24 and return trips begin Friday, August 30.

Not this one either. (Photo by Scott Kentros, 2010)
Not this one either. (Photo by Scott Kentros, 2010)

Large motor coach buses will take Burners to Gerlach, where they will hop on smaller buses for the ride into Black Rock City. There will be a “bus only” lane to sidestep traffic backups at Gate and Greeters, and bus passengers will have their own Will Call station for speedier ticket pick up. (Please note: ONLY Burner Express and Green Tortoise buses are permitted in the bus lane.)

Once inside BRC, bus riders have the option of camping in a reserved camping section on the 6 o’clock access road or taking shuttles out to 3 o’clock or 9 o’clock along G Street.

For more information, see the FAQ on our Burner Express page.

To purchase tickets, visit the Burner Express website.

Drive Safe! Do Not Pass, Do Not Get Killed

How important is it to NOT pass vehicles on Route 447 while driving to or from Black Rock City? Well, rather than our telling you, let’s ask Leslie, who has particular experience in this department: “I was struck head-on by a person passing and my car was left three feet shorter. I suffered unbelievable pain, spent time in a wheelchair and in physical rehabilitation as the result of his one bad choice to pass. Much of what was good in my life has been taken from me as a result.”

What’s the risk? She’ll tell ya: (more…)

The Guide to Getting Into and Out of Burning Man

I’m just another Burner like you, but I’ve done this a few times. After a couple years, you start to hash out a game plan for getting in and out of Black Rock City. Arriving and leaving always rank among the hardest things about the trip. That’s true for emotional reasons as well as practical ones.

As far as the feelings go, that’s all you. But here’s what you need to know about the down-to-earth part of going to and coming from Burning Man.

(more…)

Who Works the Gate? Great People! Maybe You?

The folks working the Gate are great people … and you might not realize this but they’re ALL volunteers. And they work HARD. Take a moment to learn more about this amazing crew, and you might just find that volunteering for the Gate is right for you!

This great video (thanks to the LOVE project) highlights the work of some of the volunteers who make the gate run. We’ve also got the transcript of a nice interview with Shimmer, an Exodus Pulsing volunteer working the job. Finally, you can learn the nuts and bolts of how the Gate works in our Gate FAQ. If you’re interested in volunteering with this hardy crew, visit our Gate participation page or visit the V-Spot on playa, in Center Camp next to Playa Info.

(WARNING: Volunteering may lead to meeting really incredible people and developing an amazing sense of accomplishment and belonging by helping to make BRC possible. You have been warned!)

Our LOVE crew showed up Monday of Labor Day, 2011, and talked to Shimmer at the last Pulsing spot. Here is what she said made her volunteer experience tick: (more…)