Gridlock – it’s a word that instils fear and trauma into any peak hour motorist. It’s defined as “a state of severe road congestion arising when continuous queues of vehicles block an entire network of intersecting streets, bringing traffic in all directions to a complete standstill”. Whilst last week’s Barangaroo barbeque didn’t quite generate quintessential textbook gridlock on the streets of Sydney, we certainly came close.
Given the highly congested nature of our roads and the inevitability of breakdowns and incidents like the Barangaroo inferno, it seems only a matter of time before Sydney does in fact achieve the perfect storm of unmitigated gridlock. When this does finally occur we wonder what kind of strategies will be in place, not only to get the city moving again but deal with the psychological damage to drivers and passengers trapped motionless in their vehicles for what might seem like an eternity.
Should the dreaded gridlock strike during the morning or evening peaks we are looking at a period of emotional distress that could leave some motorists scarred for life. What then can be put in place to alleviate the shock and suffering that thousands might endure if the mighty city of Sydney grinds to a calamitous halt? Here at the Naked City we have come up with a number of innovative solutions designed to make the best of a bad situation and lift the spirits of the stationary.
We would love to see the ABC’s 702 switch to an all-karaoke format for their morning or evening drive shows. All motorists are encouraged to wind down their windows and join in a chorus of mass communal singing to tunes such as Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive or Pete Seeger’s We Shall Overcome. The ‘peak’ is normally a dog eat dog combat zone of jostling vehicles and bad-tempered drivers but for once a sense of harmony, mutual love and common purpose would prevail. Peace!
Given that motorists could be stranded for an hour or two, the City of Sydney Council could rally over a thousand bike riders, Clover herself included, to weave in and out of the gridlock distributing complimentary bottles of Mount Franklin, blueberry muffins and assorted nibblies. The often despised cyclists would soon be seen as angels of mercy and embraced forever by their former nemesis in the daily traffic scramble.
Finally the State Government could actually profit from the chaos by conducting a snap ‘Gridlock Rescue Lotto’. Using their smartphones, stranded motorists could enter a $5 lottery, with a different winner drawn every ten minutes. Employing a fleet of heavy-duty helicopters, the lucky winners would be whisked away, car and all, and deposited safely at their final destination. The monies raised could go towards building even more roads and expressway projects. It mightn’t solve Sydney’s traffic problems, but hey it does guarantee an even bigger and better gridlock when the inevitable strikes!
THE HIT LIST: Adrian Cunningham is a Sydney jazz musician who has made New York his base for the last six or so years and has just survived one of the coldest winters ever experienced in the Big Apple. Back in sunny Australia for his annual sojourn, Cunningham will take sax, flute and talented quartet to Venue 505 on Wednesday March 26th to launch his brand new album Ain’t That Right, recorded in New York and featuring the compositions of the great Neal Hefti. adriancunningham.com.