9-20-10 Update – County staff called me to let me know a little bit more on the story below. The Friday rain caused trucks to get stuck on several driveways, which resulted in all of the traffic being routed to one driveway (which was a huge deviation from the original plan – and yes the driveways were supposed to be constructed with gravel so they wouldn't be affected by rain, but I'm guessing the stuck trucks were just off the gravel driveways). Things went downhill from there. Hopefully I'll get a chance to be part of the team that figures out the traffic plan for next year.
9-13-10 Post – Hay Days (a snowmobile swap meet and racing event – on grass) was held this last weekend and the traffic was so bad it made several news outlets. See Fox 9 for one of the stories – below is their video.
I worked for two years preparing the traffic study for the event. We knew there was going to be a lot of congestion, but we developed a mitigation plan to make the best of it. Key to the plan was a smooth system that waived people all of the way into their parking spot, rolling at 5 to 10 mph (based on the news story, muddy conditions prevented this). To do this the traffic was supposed to be split with half of it coming in to a north driveway via Highway 95 and half coming to a south driveway via County Road 15. They were supposed to have flaggers waiving in vehicles all the way to their spots.
I was not involved with the actual event planning this year (I offered, but the event organizers took it on in conjunction with Chisago County staff), so I'm not sure what was implemented. I just got off the phone with Mark Anderson from MFRA who attended and dealt with the traffic jam. Here are some of his observations on what happened -
- Very little traffic was coming in from the north via Highway 95.
- They had tractors shuttling people that intermittently shut down the driveways.
- People got frustrated and parked all over the road shoulders, leading to pedestrians jamming up the driveways.
- They charged for parking on site, which he thought slowed down entry and also provided motivation for people to park off-site.
Part of the mitigation plan was a feedback loop of detailed debriefings/refined traffic control plans every year. I'm curious to read the actual report. I'd like to know what happened.