A pair of city councilors hope the permanent signage will help bring home the benefits of the cogwheel merger for Winnipeg drivers.
A motion presented by St. James Coun. Scott Gillingham and supported by St. Boniface Coun. Matt Allard, at Wednesday’s council meeting, asks the city to include signs that encourage zipper bonding when a lane is closed at roadworks sites next summer.
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“I think Winnipeggers felt the construction in an unprecedented way this year because of the record spending and road construction that occurred this year, so many people’s commuting was delayed,” Allard told Global News after the meeting.
“And part of that delay is due to the Winnipeggers, for the most part, not merging.”
Does the zipper merge?
The rack and pinion combination is used in construction zones where traffic loses a lane.
It asks motorists to use all available lanes to the barricade, and then take turns allowing cars to merge, rather than everyone lining up in one lane and motorists getting frustrated when someone cuts ahead.
Allard has worked for years to bring zipper fusion to fruition in Winnipeg.
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Helped spearhead a pilot project to encourage drivers to test the concept in 2015 after seeing it work in other cities in the United States and Canada.
And while that pilot project, in which the city put up temporary signs warning drivers to “Merge Here” and “Take Shifts”, had some success, a later city report eventually found very little difference observed in the “merge settings. before and after the zipper “.
But the report also noted that the pilot’s ineffectiveness was largely due to a lack of education about how drivers should merge in closing a construction lane.
Allard has had years of hope pushing the idea forward – his office still has bumper stickers that encourage merging of available zippers – and permanent signage can make a difference.
“I hope this is the policy that finally works,” he said.
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“I think that’s what the Winnipeggers need: they need to know that it is the norm and not the exception to the zipper combination.”
The zipper merge motion will need the approval of the council’s infrastructure and executive policy committees before returning for a final vote of the council as a whole.
Found to blend like a zipper to keep traffic flowing smoothly
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