Minh’s Notes

Human-readable chicken scratch

Minh Nguyễn
January 12th, 2005


Turning point

Maybe you heard about today’s capture of a bank robber on Cross County Hwy. I was there, and I have some nice photos drawings to show-and-tell with you.

Read on for the lowdown…

This stretch of Cross Country Hwy. is bad enough…

Coming home from my only exam this morning, I suddenly heard sirens coming from the back. The highway at the time was almost packed with cars, so the first police car had to climb onto a median to get by, and the next few cars honked at us incessantly until all the cars on the highway pulled into the shoulders.

This stretch of Cross County Hwy., the junction with I-71 near Montgomery Rd., is notorious for being horribly designed. Maybe they hadn’t invented overpasses yet or something; I don’t know.

The accident just made matters worse.

Those who want to go eastbound on Cross County from I-71 North first have to wait for a break in traffic from the end of the entrance ramp. Then after crossing, you’d have to wait for a break in the other direction, this time from a tiny little cut in the median, enough for one car, though two or three usually squeeze themselves into that space – go figure.

Apparently as the police car arrived, it was hit by a minivan. Police police-taped the scene, and traffic was stopped entirely. I was right behind the big truck you see in dark gray to the side.

In New Orleans, this is called a “contra-flow” plan. A really bad one, at that.

As the police tried to decide where to take us all, some of the people stuck on the road started coming out, taking pictures, and getting frustrated.

I suppose the police eventually decided that, since the cut in the median could only fit one car through at a time, we had to turn around. Not U-turn, I mean turn around. One-hundred eighty degrees. In New Orleans, they call it a “contra-flow” plan. A really bad one, at that.

Surprisingly, it went well. Except, we didn’t go anywhere. Now we were stuck, backwards. Some people started coming out onto the nearby pedestrian bridge that crosses over the highway. And of course, some people took pictures. It’s not every day you see some fifty cars or more stuck backwards on a busy highway.

Eventually – an hour after traffic had been stopped – we started to flow again. Despite the pleas of several onlookers, we still had to go backwards instead of taking the highly practical advice of turning around again to use the little cut-in-the-median. (rolls-eyes)

So we started our engines. And we nudged forward a little every few minutes. And we fought for every foot of road. I finally got out, more than an hour after we had been stopped. I survived! :^)

Believe it or not, I’m actually greatful that the police even took the time to get us out of that mess, albeit with a few problems. They had to devote a whole lot of manpower and time to stop traffic in most directions, setup officers here and there along the highway, and get the road cleared.

Just remind me to take the Norwood Lateral next time, okay?


  1. I know of no other program where drawing a dark line with a marker involves going over the same spot three times, and drawing a purple line over a green one makes for an icky shade of gray – but that’s what happens in real life.