Maryanne Brown: Steamboat needs to embrace zipper merge |

Maryanne Brown: Steamboat needs to embrace zipper merge

I love visiting Steamboat. I don’t always love driving in Steamboat.

On my last visit to town, I was particularly frustrated by the forced merge on U.S. Highway 40 between town and the mountain. I understand this is a small, friendly community nestled in Northwest Colorado, but for the sake of everyone, learn to zipper merge.

This maneuver is actually quite simple: move over when the lane ends. Vehicles alternate merging as the two lanes become one. Traditionally, this tactic is frowned upon, as you are cutting others off.

However, according to every study on this topic, the zipper merge reduces the overall length of traffic backup. I learned that Colorado Department of Transportation also agrees that the zipper merge is the best solution in heavy traffic (like U.S. 40 between town and the mountain).

Drivers will wait in line less if this community can learn to effectively zipper merge. Steamboat will be better.

So next time you find yourself in the left lane on U.S. 40 and see the sign “Left lane closed ahead,” don’t merge right immediately. Instead, enjoy your time in the left lane and merge when you run out of road.

The entire community will be better off for it.

Maryanne Brown

Portland, Oregon

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