Commuters, I beg you: Don’t leave work when I do in Monday snow (OPINION)
Dear fellow New Jersey and Philadelphia-area commuters:
I am begging you to make plans now for Monday's rough weather. I don't want to be stuck on the road sitting next to you in stopped traffic for hours upon hours.
Do you remember what happened on Nov. 15, 2018? If not, I'll give a quick refresher: things quickly went awry as the snow started piling up by mid-afternoon that day (exceeding the expectations of forecasters). As a result, we all left work early and crammed onto the roads in the early afternoon that day. Some motorists reported being stuck on New Jersey highways for more than 5 hours.
One of them was ex-Gov. Chris Christie:
One of the biggest issues with the storm was that we all left work at the same time, and therefore, we backed up the highways across the state. Snowplows also got stuck in traffic that day creating a vicious traffic cycle. (Yes, I know there were criticisms against some public officials for a lack of preparedness as well, and that may be true, but this isn't about that).
So let's not do that again.
While the forecast seems to be changing each and every minute (the latest from Dan Zarrow's weather blog is here), and nobody really knows exactly what is going to be happening, I am BEGGING YOU to make a pact with me:
We will not rush out of work at the SAME EXACT TIME causing mid-afternoon gridlock.
The forecasts have certainly varied and changed all weekend, but to the credit of meteorologists everywhere (and especially Dan) ... we know that there is a storm coming. So even if you're a cynic and don't think we'll have a lot of snow, please make plans now so I don't get stuck doing my "I told you so dance" as we sit next to each other for hours on the New Jersey Turnpike or I-76 in Pennsylvania.
I understand that your friend's cousin who posts short novels about the weather on his Facebook page says that we won't have too much snow. Plus, I also know that you will say meteorologists "get paid even when they're wrong." I hear your excuses, and they're probably pretty valid.
But I'd much rather a situation where we're all home safely as you pontificate on Facebook about why the "weatherman/weatherwoman is always wrong." In fact, if you're right ... YOU can do your "I told you so dance" from home.
(Editor's note: If we blow it, feel free to complain politely to Dan Zarrow on his Facebook page here — there's a good chance he'll reply. Just make sure to give credit where credit's due for all the times he gets it right and urges calm when his peers are screaming snowmageddon.)
So do me a favor and let's do these two things on Monday:
1. Check the forecast EARLY and OFTEN. You can get alerts and hear our live reports on the New Jersey 101.5 app.
2. Make a plan so you're not racing out of work with EVERYONE else at 1 pm when you see the snow is starting to stick to our local roads.
I recognize that not every job offers this kind of luxury. For those who NEED to be at work through the storm or if their employers won't let them out until the rush hour, I feel for you.
As a result, it's on the rest of us to do our part to help with traffic flow by staggering our departures. So If your job allows the luxury of adjusting your schedule (like mine) then it's on us to help with traffic flow tomorrow.
In fact, if you can work from home on Monday or Tuesday ... extend the holiday weekend. You know you weren't going to get much done at work on Monday as you browse all of those Cyber Monday deals anyway, right?
Your friend in commuting,
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