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Lileks: Don’t even think about driving in the Twin Cities this summer

May 4, 2018 GMT

As you might have read, Interstate 35W heading into downtown Minneapolis will be reduced to 2 inches for most of the summer. You will be required to park in Bloomington, then walk single-file, crab-style, the rest of the way. Itll be great for those inner-thigh muscles.

A wall will be built around downtown, with archers who will shoot out the tires of anyone who thinks theyll find a parking space.

You will be able to exit by the university, but traffic will be so slow that we recommend signing up for classes by audiobook; by the time construction is finished you will have an advanced degree. I plan to go for a Ph.D. in Exclamatory Linguistics, meaning my oral presentation will consist entirely of cursing the people who designed this freeway in the first place.


What were they thinking? Lets jam 35W and 94 together and give everyone 2 yards to merge, knowing that failure to get over means you end up in Iowa instead of St. Cloud! It looks great on paper, but so did Napoleons invasion of Russia. And compared with the rush-hour commute, that was faster and had fewer casualties.

The good news: The 35W/494 interchange will be remade. At present, the cloverleafs are so small you have to barrel through them to merge. The centrifugal force pulls your car so strongly to the left that if youre listening to Rush Limbaugh, he starts supporting universal basic income.

But thats not the worst of it. If youre heading east on I-494 and you want to go north on 35W, youre funneled into a little concrete tunnel they carved out from the overpass. Theres traffic coming up behind you, so you have to straighten the wheel, check your 6 to merge, then make sure you dont smack into the concrete, all in about four seconds. Its like trying to fly a 757 through the Panama Canal at Mach 3.

We want to interview the designers:

So, how did you think this would work out?

Our guiding idea wasnt built around cars per se, but very careful sloths. Sloths that were Lutheran and would get out of the way in case they touched another sloth.

Have you considered designing something for sociopathic jack rabbits? Because thats always whos behind me when Im trying to merge and not hit the walls of your murder tunnel.

Were not entirely convinced a Protestant sloth-based model doesnt have some merit.

Its a familiar pattern. We complain about the road. They announce theyre going to fix it. We complain about construction. When its done everyone thinks, Oh, this is better for about 30 seconds, then forgets it ever was a problem.

Hurry up and finish it so I can complain about another road!