In late 2013, two lanes of traffic were closed onto the George Washington Bridge from Fort Lee, creating a massive traffic jam over five days. Although the reason for the closure appears to have been political retribution, the excuse given at the time was that authorities were conducting a traffic study.
The New York Times today, in a piece which relies on Twitter for 90% of its content, notes that “traffic study” is the new punchline. Your Amtrak train pulls over 30 miles outside of Huntington, West Virginia for 90 minutes? Someone must be conducting a traffic study! Get it?!
Here at ratpag, we know better than to tell people what we do while at a party. Just the mention of “transportation advocate” (or just “transpor—” before you get cut off) and you’ll get a five minute lecture on the stupidity of traffic lights, snow removal, and potholes. Better just to stick with “I work at a non-profit” or “I volunteer at a non-profit” or “I blog prolifically for a non-profit.” I imagine doctors have similar experiences, except no one ever blames the doctor they just met for their illness.
Now we have the traffic studies joke to deflect. Double points for ratpag, because we also love to hike the Appalachian Trail without everyone thinking we’re having an affair. Nevermind that there’s substantial evidence that the Fort Lee traffic study was legitimate. No, there’s only one way to handle this: an Appalachian Trail hike to perform a study of rail traffic at the AT’s only train platform. Fight fire with fire.