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Zipper merge alleviates traffic problems

The orange-cone forest seems to be never ending in Nevada and Boulder City is not immune to its disruption in our daily commute.

Most states are asking drivers to reconsider their long-held notions of highway courtesy and adopt the “zipper-merge” method when approaching lane closures, most often associated with road construction. Using all available lanes until the last moment, then alternating entry into the open lane helps reduce accidents by keeping both lanes moving at the same speed.

The goal is to change a mindset among drivers whose first instinct is to get in line as soon as they see a sign warning of closed lines ahead. For those folks, drivers who buzz past in the lane that is ending and crowd back into line at the last second are considered rude or inconsiderate.

Many states have been using the technique since the early 2000s and consider it an “active zipper merge.” Several states also use the “passive zipper merge” that uses permanent signs — but no electronic ones — to tell motorists of an upcoming lane reduction and encourage them to use both lanes.

Now, if we can come to a good solution for the emergency lane abuser, the off-and-on ramp sneaker, the impatient lane jumper, the turn-lane avoider and the 1,001 other road pet peeves, we will be really doing something for world peace.

July 14. Assist other department: The homeowner evidently thought a can of paint, a curb and a creative mind were all that stood between him and a parking problem. The city decided otherwise at 2:47 p.m. in the 1500 block of Della Court.

See person: The caller wants officers to force the subject with emotional issues to go to a facility somewhere and take that person there; however, that is not a criminal matter at 4:32 p.m. in the 600 block of Adams Boulevard.

Thought for the day: The mentally ill are often in a quandary. They have the right to make health care decisions, just rarely the capacity to do so.

July 15. Disturbance: A man is aggressive and reportedly trying to start issues with juveniles in the area so he is formally trespassed at 9:05 a.m. in the 800 block of Nevada Way.

Damage: A fire in nearby trees damages a fence lining and tennis courts at 7:37 p.m. in the 800 block of Eagle Drive.

Thought for the day: Quick reporting of the fire prevented much worse damage. Thanks to all of you who assisted in this effort.

July 16. DUI: The driver in the unregistered car should have used the “alcohol money” to pay for registration instead at 1:45 a.m. in the area of U.S. Highway 93 and Veterans Memorial Drive.

DUI: Another country song in the making tonight at 8:52 p.m. in the 800 block of Adams Boulevard.

Thought for the day: Buzzed driving is drunk driving, folks.

July 17. Suspicious: Officers are dispatched to a report of a woman sleeping behind a building at 10:32 a.m. in the 900 block of Nevada Way.

Welfare check: The female driver suffers a diabetic issue and a quick-acting person gets help on the way at 1:28 p.m. near Utah Street and Adams Boulevard.

Thought for the day: Thanks for keeping an eye out for people in distress during these hot, potentially deadly, times.

July 18. Suspicious: The caller insists that her motel room smells like urine and she wants an officer to come take a report so she is not blamed for it at 3:58 a.m. in the 1000 block of Nevada Way.

Private property accident: The property owners request assistance when their property is damaged and it will take several thousand dollars to repair at 3:45 p.m. in the 1200 block of Industrial Road.

Thought for the day: Some days it’s really hard to decide what is the most bizarre call of the day.

July 19. Suspicious: Two subjects are seen walking around with flashlights in the quest for a video game character at 2:08 a.m. in the area of Adams Boulevard and Utah Street.

Disturbance: Officers are dispatched to an altercation and discover one party is just not acting normal and may need additional assistance at 8:01 p.m. in the 100 block of Ville Drive.

Thought for the day: Officers can often help alleviate unnecessary stress so that the real issue can be identified.

July 20. Family disturbance: The altercation results in one of the parties getting a night in jail at 2:51 a.m. in the 800 block of Nevada Way.

Civil: The customer is unhappy and requests assistance when he feels he is not given the correct change at 2:31 p.m. in the area of Ville Drive and U.S. Highway 93.

Thought for the day: The employee retraces the transaction, discovers the error, corrects it and the parties separate amicably.

Call of the week: motorist assist: An officer finds the owner of the medical supplies in a bag in the roadway, calls the owner, and drops them off with a third party so the owner can retrieve them — going above a beyond his everyday duties at 1:56 p.m. on July 20 in the area of the overpass on U.S. Highway 93.

Tina Ransom is a dispatcher with Boulder City Police Department. She is coordinator of the Boulder City Citizen’s Academy.

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