To the editor,
Why is it that Nanaimo drivers cannot grasp the concept of the zipper merge? A good example occurs daily at the current repaving on Terminal/19A. Hundreds of metres before the obstruction are signs warning of the coming merge. Everyone immediately merges to the left creating a huge long single lane of crawling traffic backing up faster than it can clear. Beside this lane is a huge long single lane completely empty. With zipper merging both lanes are occupied up to the obstruction, then cars take turns to merge and get around and then continue on their way using both lanes again. There is only single lane traffic for the distance required to go around the obstruction, thus maximizing the use of the roadway and minimizing the delay.
I think it’s time for traffic controllers to take the initiative and begin educating drivers. This could be done with flag people directing traffic into the two lanes up to the merging point and/or with appropriate signs showing two lanes of traffic up to the merge point or even stating, ‘use both lanes’ or ‘use zipper merge.’ Several speed-reducing signs well ahead of the merge point would also help to get everyone into the best driving mode thus enabling the zipper merge to proceed smoothly.
R. Macdonald, Nanaimo
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