25 September 2005

Run Away, Run Away!

I'm puzzled.

We've all seen the video of the evacuation of Galveston/Houston before Rita's arrival...
The slowly-moving parking lot...

It brought to mind memories of a trip we took some years ago to a family reunion in St. Petersburg, Florida.

We were traveling Southbound on Interstate 75, just South of the Florida State line. I checked the speedometer and it read 70, which I believe was 5 over the speed limit there.

And then a quick check of the rear-view mirror showed a big backwards "M" on the right side, a big reverse "K" on the left side, and a big backwards "CA" in the center!

Pretty frightening!

Traffic was VERY heavy... when I tried to maintain the safe, "two second" rule... two seconds distance behind the car in front of us, someone would pass me and cut the spacing to one second or less.

A quick conversation with Sara Jean confirmed that she was as uncomfortable with the situation as was I.
It was just a matter of time until there was an accident, and then, if we were lucky enough to not be involved ourselves, we'd be prisoners on the Interstate... either motionless, or moving at 2 m.p.h. toward the next exit 10 miles away!

A quick check of our map indicated that Florida Highway 19 paralleled our course. It was just two lanes, and went through lots of little towns, but it had to be preferable to this I-75 lunacy!
We took the next exit and went West 2 miles to Hwy. 19.

NO TRAFFIC! The road was excellent, and we could actually take our eyes off the road and traffic and enjoy the scenery!

So here's my obvious question: Why didn't folks fleeing Galveston take the first farm road off the Interstate highway and get away from that congested situation on the Interstate? I've lived in Texas. I know what their farm roads are like. If you've never been there, Texas has frontage roads that are nicer than some Interstates I've driven on in Michigan, or Arkansas!

Run out of gas on one of these roads, and help is just a knock on a "neighbors" door away. Texans are friendly folk!

Encounter an accident? Drive around it!

I bet the traffic they encountered would have been less stressful than on the bigger highway too!


Mike said...

Governor Perry mentioned the FM road system also.

When I lived in Houston/Huntsville there were marked evacuation routes. Most were FM roads that wound through the Piney Woods, but they are good roads.

They probably tried to use them but everyone stuck to the Interstate.

It has been a long time since there was a hurricane evac there. I had a buddy that took 24 hours to get to San Antonio.

I think I would have just stayed put (as a firefighter I know I would have had to stayed put) in my apt up along FM1960.

Lessons learned....

Anonymous said...

I've wondered the same thing. There had to be lots of other roads options. I have also wondered why those people did not cross the median and go north on the virtually empty southbound lanes. Why didn't they mutiny? I think I would ahve. Are we all such sheep? I believe we should obey the law but really there comes a point when our brains should prevail. I was surprised that Texans of all poeple allowed themselves to be herded that way.

Infinitegtr said...

The "real" Texans did indeed use FM roads. Those were the same people that had plenty of water, food, extra cash, simple shelter, and adequate self defense.

All those folks on the interstate...? Carpetbaggers left over from the North's War of Aggression, and people who think the government will be there for them when they retire...