Race post-mortem: traffic and parking

A couple years back, I wrote about how the Birkie really needed to fix parking and busing situation. Then last year happened. I spent some time this past summer talking with the Birkie, and a team from Georgia Tech, about fixing the parking. (It helps that it’s kind of what I do for a living in the real world.) My idea was basically that they needed to split the parking and not have two streams of parking trying to access one road, and minimize the left turns and crossing traffic. The Birkie, using their new trailhead, did one better, parking northbound traffic at the Birkie Ridge trailhead.

And you may have noticed: it worked. It helped that there was 1.8″ of snow this morning, not 18″ inches. But, on a daily basis, I see traffic which increases by 10 or 20% and goes from free-flowing to gridlock. The Birkie was over capacity. By cutting it in half, they brought it way under capacity. It works.

I talked to Ben Popp and he said that, at one point, he saw a line of people waiting in traffic and was disappointed. Then he realized it was only 18 cars, and they were moving. That’s not an issue. The hour-long backups, those are the issues.

Last year, it took us 1:45 to get from Hayward to Cable. This year, we made the trip in 25 minutes (it helped that we were traveling with an elite elite racer who had a start parking pass, but even with the buses, it would have been less than 45 minutes, or an hour less than last year). It was a huge success. Parking is one of the biggest constraints on the capacity of the Birkie, and it has been dramatically improved. And, yeah, I’m taking just a bit of credit for that.

More on the race, of course, later. FWIW, 154th, best finish ever.

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