Pete's Prep: Tuesday, May 22, 2018

We need to learn how to "zipper merge"

Yesterday, we inadvertently veered off into a three-hour debate about the "zipper merge."

 Specifically, we all need to do it. But few of us do.

Here is what the "zipper merge" is:


This kind of merging - in heavy traffic - is a safer and superior method to get everyone through the bottleneck.

But as the discussion yesterday on-air showed... people feel like it's not fair.

Computer simulation models and, perhaps more important, real-life application has proven the zipper approach is superior but — and here’s where the psychology and change management come in — places that have implemented the approach have also struggled to have drivers “get it” and to consistently follow the approach. Consistency is key here because if a driver doesn’t get it then road safety (and sanity) are at risk.

North Carolina has not attempted any real sort of education program. But Minnesota did. And they encountered difficulty in convincing people that the best way to merge is also the fairest and safest.

Part of the problem is awareness. Not many states vocally encourage the zipper merge, so every newcomer has to learn the rules. But the other half is guilt and fear. “I don’t know if it’s a Minnesota thing, or an education thing, but people just do NOT zipper merge,” one sad driver wrote on a recent DOT survey. “And they get irate at the people who do. Seems that the choice is to either sit in line like a lemming, or do the zipper merge and endure the wrath of those who have been sitting in the line.” Another wrote, “Maybe it just feels wrong? I feel guilty about passing all those people and merging at the end.”

Perhaps one day... in the distant future... we'll learn that zipper merges help us all.


Local paper ignores Asheville Police Captain suspension

It's been six days since Asheville Police Captain Mark Byrd was placed on Investigative Suspension. WWNC broke that news on Wednesday afternoon.

The rumor around APD is that Capt. Byrd was the one who leaked the police body cam video to the newspaper. (Keep in mind, that the original rumor around APD was that Capt. Stony Gonce did it.)

Jason Sandford at Ashvegas covered it yesterday.

Byrd is the second high-ranking police department to have been placed on suspension in recent weeks. Capt. Stony Gonce was placed on administrative leave in March and then fired in May. In the termination letter detailing his firing, Asheville Police Chief Tammy Hooper wrote that there were multiple departmental complaints of Gonce’s inappropriate behavior.

Gonce also interfered in an investigation into the case of Johnnie Rush, a pedestrian who was beaten, choked and Tasered in August 2017 by Officer Chris Hickman, according to Hooper’s termination letter.

WLOS did the story, as well.

But at the Citizen-Times... not a single story.

If Byrd was not the source of the video, I have a hard time believing that the AC-T would wait this long to mention his suspension.

Pete Kaliner

Pete Kaliner

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