24 February 2009

Miscellaneous St. Tammany UPD*TE

I recently added some pics from a couple of brief trips - one to roadgeek in Lacombe, the other taking me through Folsom and Madisonville.


Old US 190 (Lacombe, LA): Eight pictures from a very old segment of US 190 in Lacombe.
LA 1077: 52 pictures of LA 1077. Coverage includes end to end southbound, and some pictures of northbound from Lake Ponchartrain to the LA 21/LA 1077 split north of Madisonville (some copied from the LA 21 album). Also contains a shot of my car.


US 190: Added a picture of the intersection with LA 1089 from westbound
LA 21: Added three pictures of southbound in Madisonville of the LA 21/LA 1077 concurrency (also in the LA 1077 album)
LA 22: Added 11 pictures of eastbound from Madisonville to the eastern terminus in Mandeville
LA 25: Added nine pictures of northbound between the southern terminus in Covington and Folsom
LA 434: Added 23 pictures of northbound and southbound south of US 190, including coverage of Lake Road after the END! of LA 434, as well as one picture of northbound between US 190 and Old US 190
LA 1093-1 Added three pictures of northbound - both termini are now covered northbound
Other: Geotagged LA 1093-1 album - this was an oversight on my part, so my bad. All albums that are supposed to be geotagged should now be geotagged. Also, due to another corrected oversight, all pictures in my Picasa albums are now Creative Commons licensed. Share, but share alike, credit me, and don't try to sell my pictures. Other than that, use them if you want.

Sidebar links will be updated with the new albums later on.

19 February 2009

Warning: Very Profane Rant.

Times-Picayune - State vows I-12 link in St. Tammany will be built

You vow, huh? Ain't you been vowing to get the damn interchange built for years now? I seem to remember that it was supposed to be built in the '90s as part of the LA 3241 project. As a standalone, it's been pushed back several times in the last few years alone. I'd still be willing to wait even now if waiting for that highway was an option. But at a time like this, it's not optional anymore. There's a school going up soon, a high school that will choke a "minor secondary highway" to the point of being absolutely useless. Ten miles of peaceful driving will soon become ten miles of brain-numbing gridlock.

There's plenty of problems with that scenario. First off, LA 1088 isn't "minor" or "secondary" to the people who live on it. It's our lifeline to the rest of the world. As it is, I have to go way out of my way to get anywhere now without having to pass through a damn school zone. I'm sure others here feel the same way, they're just too scared of getting lynched by the pro-family morons to make a peep. There's also the fact that any traffic coming in from the west or south have to go through a residential neighborhood to get to that school, until the interchange is built.

Seriously, what the hell are you idiots at DoTD smoking? Do you bastards remember how badly LA 59 was choked in the 90's having to support a high school, and how much it worsened when the junior high opened up next door? Those kind of schools, a two-lane highway simply can not do the job. Even a two-lane highway with a turning lane of some kind can't handle it. High schools in this area require four lanes at minimum to ease any impact on traffic.

Remember, you not only have to deal with bus traffic, car traffic from parents dropping their kids off and more car traffic from faculty going to work daily, you also have to deal with hundreds of stupid teenagers trying to get in there at the last possible minute because they overslept. You hope they were cramming for exams, but they were probably either getting high or getting laid. Most likely, both. The teenagers around here are far from being angels, after all. (I speak from personal experience.)

In case you've forgotten about all this, feel free to drop by any time. The gridlock's still there, all those years later.

At the least, though, LA 59 has an interchange at I-12 that helps relieve some of the traffic. LA 59 North past the Interstate is a breeze even during school zone hours. Ah, but LA 1088 doesn't. It needs it before anyone even thinks of opening a damn high school. Yes, I'm also talking to you, St. Tammany Parish School Board.

What makes you think some of us want a gridlock and beaten sheep factory on our highway anyway? (Calm, calm... I will not be a NIMBY, I will not be a NIMBY...)

Fact remains, at the moment, the roads in the area of that new school can't possibly support it. Aside from being a lonely two-lane highway, there are no lights... in fact, there's nothing nearby. The nearest Sheriff's substation is about 12 minutes away. 12 minutes is a lot of time for mischief and mayhem. It's a ton of time if someone gets hurt or worse. There's no services nearby - if you run out of gas or overheat your car, you're mega-screwed. In fact, that school's almost begging to become an unofficial annex of Lacombe (which is the crackhead and crime capital of the parish).

They may as well call it Lacombe North already.

At the least, can't they hold off opening the thing until there's an interchange, so a residential neighborhood can be spared a lot of headaches, unnecessary emissions and noise? More importantly, so my sanity can be spared? Some of us like being able to start the day with a few miles at max speed before hitting Congestion City, after all.

They can't and they won't, naturally. Delays are only tolerable so long as a school isn't affected. "Think of the children," after all. I say to hell with the damned children already. "Why" is a matter for a different post entirely, probably on the Livejournal.


So I'm putting any of the politicians who have any chance of getting either the school delayed or the interchange sped up on notice here - if you open that school sooner than an interchange is built and we suffer here due to it, you're not only getting a no vote from me, but from others. There are more than just me who think as I do, and I will rally them. Me personally, if it's you versus Charles Manson in the next election, I'll vote for Manson just to spite you. If it's you versus Satan himself, then I'm wearing my "Satan (next election year for your seat)" button proudly. I don't care if your next opponent's a thief, a serial killer, or if they eat babies. You will become the greatest of all evils in my eyes. I'll do everything in my power to put them over and shut you down.

Build the interchange first before you even think of overloading our highway system, or you will find out how bleak your careers are in the face of an angry voter with no life. I don't care if you in Baton Rouge have to use some of the one-time surplus this year... I don't care if you have to use it all, every last dime. Get this thing done, pronto!

P.S. - You should have never re-paved the section of 1088 north of I-12, DoTD. It would have been nice to make all those "elite" idiots lose their suspension for a year or two on that road. :P

14 February 2009

Stimulus Wishlist

Times-Picayune - Louisiana's share of stimulus pegged at $3.8 billion

Of that, $455 million is slated to go to bridge and road work and repairs. Here's some of the things I'd do with that if I was in charge of DoTD and wasn't hampered by pre-work things like environmental impact studies. (They're important, but not for hypothetical thinking.)

* Widening of Interstate 12 between Juban Road and I-10/I-59 to six lanes
* Putting gates and lights at all non-private rail crossings in the state
* Reconfiguration of the I-10/I-110 split in Baton Rouge
* Construction of an interchange between LA 1088 (Future LA 3241) and I-12 northeast of Mandeville
* Build a relief route for I-59 (designated as US 11) in eastern St. Tammany Parish (looking forward to hurricane season), utilizing the old US 11 routing if possible (it was good enough before) - US 11 can still cross the West Pearl co-signed with I-59 to save money

Now, obviously that kind of money might not be enough, especially with that I-10/110 split reconfiguration in there, but those are projects that I believe would drastically help traffic flow, especially in the Florida Parishes. That includes the relief route. I blogged last year about how hellish I-59 was, and I believe a relief route could at least make it a little easier to get the first important thing out of the way - getting the hell out of Louisiana when there's a hurricane coming. Designating it as US 11 just makes sense - it'd make that highway important here again.

As for the gates and lights suggestion, that's just my little pet crusade.

13 February 2009

One step closer to a wider LA 21.

Wider Louisiana 21, bridge getting closer

About time we got back to roads around here, eh? The scope of the project is as follows: Two two-lane carriageways (four lanes total) with a 24-foot wide median, six-foot wide sidewalks along two new two-lane bridges across the Tchefuncte, a six-foot wide sidewalk along the northbound side, and full shoulders on both carriageways. This will be between LA 1085 (Bootlegger Road) and 11th Street in Covington.

Now, it's nice and all. That part of LA 21 has suffered over the years from overdevelopment and the traffic that follows. The shoulders are a definite plus - that stretch used to have them, except for the bridge, but the three-laning last decade eliminated those. The sad fact is that four lanes won't be enough, by a longshot. Six will be needed for traffic to even resemble decent flow.

This is another example of development exceeding the fixes. Someone around here seriously needs to rethink this thing.

06 February 2009

One girl's rant against the legally sanctioned monopoly known as cable.

Long title, even longer ranting session. During my nightly aimless browsing where I often start at the Ubuntu forums and somehow end up looking at a Wikipedia article about a low-power radio station in Idaho by the end of the night, I stumbled upon some bullshit that my ISP's looking to get going soon.

DSLReports - Charter Confirms New Caps

Slashdot - Charter Cable Capping Usage Nationwide This Month

(Remind me, I need to kick a certain infernal package's ass for moving his IRC feedbot.)

Sadly, I'm in an area served by Charter, and only by Charter when it comes to cable TV and Internet. The only other options are the satellite companies for TV, and AT&T for DSL. The weather here is too unpredictable for satellite and AT&T's in bed with the **AA. (As we all know, I am most certainly against the illegal cartels known as the RIAA and MPAA. Any company supporting their aims is one to be buried.) Assuming there was realistic competition, I could do like a good capitalist consumer is supposed to do when they get pissed off over someone's services or goods - vote with my wallet by going elsewhere and doing without the offerings of the offending company. However, I'll note now that my parish has something known as a franchising agreement. In a nutshell, the only way to get cable here is through a single company.

Now that one company is screwing us.

One company, for a service that multiple provide. What's that called? Oh, that's right. It's a blasted monopoly, and last I checked, those are supposed to be illegal... not that it matters anymore. The pro-big-business laws enacted by the last few regimes have managed to destroy anything in business that would actually aid the people (sorry... consumers) when mega-companies screw them.

Now, I don't actually use the TV component that much anymore... I think the only things I watch on television anymore are wrestling and Olbermann. (He makes me laugh. So does Rush.) Truthfully, I could do without cable TV nowadays, even with the (now-delayed) digital transition, and no digital equipment. (My 15-year-old Trinitron delivers crisp enough picture for my tastes... screw HDTV.)

What I do use is the Internet aspect, and I use a good bit of it. Ever seen Serial Experiments Lain? I'm a real-life her, but cuter and bitchier. :P I enjoy exploring the work of various open-source movements and organizations... so I end up downloading a LOT of Linux .iso files. I listen to music on last.fm, Jamendo, OC Remix and Digital Gunfire. I watch some YouTube videos, specifically Freewayjim's stuff. I also watch some TV episodes online where ever I can. Don't forget all the images and flash shit that everybody and their mother seems to be putting on their sites now.

On the upload side, I sometimes grab files from my home machine to listen to on my laptop when I'm out and about. Sometimes I'll grab a video from a DVD I ripped onto my hard drives. Sometimes I'll even grab a whole season of said videos if I'm going to be away for a while. (NCIS never gets boring.) Other times, I'm uploading hundreds of highway pictures at a time to Picasa, Flickr or Imageshack. (Or all three.) Let's not forget seeding my Linux isos so others can have them... sharing is caring after all. The point is, I use a ton more bandwidth than the average user.

Right now, I have 5 meg service. That's it for downstream. Even then, I can roll through the proposed cap in a few days of light usage. Of course, they're saying they'll have an uncapped tier, but that tier isn't available here. The 5 meg I'm on right now is the top one there is. That means no matter what, I can't move past the cap. I'm not allowed the option to be uncapped by agreeing to be extorted for more. Never mind that I'm not exactly willing to pay the extra $100 to stop them from screwing me.

Some of us can't work, after all. Ever heard of a fixed income? Specifically, disability? I can't just make more money when prices go up. Can't look for better pay and all that. Don't have much of anything I can sell to make ends meet every single month to come up with another $100. Chump change to you? Huge f'n deal to me. This month, I'm already doing without groceries simply because having a working vehicle does more for my mental health than having food does. I'm also having to do without medicine that I need that Medicaid doesn't pay for. Needless to say that when bills go up, sacrifices are often made. This month, "sacrifice" was food and medicine. Next month, it may well be Internet.

(And please, do not ask me why I can't just give up Internet so easily instead of resorting to starvation. Of all the skills that I have that could help me land a job whenever I can get my mental state sorted and become un-disabled, computers are the only ones, specifically network-related stuff. It's all I have. It's like asking a carpenter or mechanic to sell his tools.)

As it is, I have no choice, none at all... except to call bullshit on the whole thing. All of it. I heard Charter's circling the drain as it is... let's hope they get sucked in and go away. No bailout for these bastards.

Now, I must go get my 15 hours of sleep and pray tomorrow's not so depressing.

03 February 2009

Mississippi UPD*TE Part Deux

Ok, so technically, this upd*te isn't all Mississippi, and the sun ruined some of it. Bleh, I posted it all anyway. I can always replace the sunbleached pics come spring.


US 98: 11 pics of westbound between Foxworth and Tylertown - some sunbleached
LA 437: Four pics of southbound in Covington - part of the ongoing Old LA 25 project
Spur La 437: Four pics of southbound in Covington, photographically Clinched southbound - part of the ongoing Old LA 25 project
MS 27: Seven pictures of southbound from Tylertown to the state line - some sunbleached
MS 35: Five pictures of northbound from the state line to US 98 in Foxworth


I-12: Added seven pictures of eastbound between US 190 and LA 59, including pics of the replaced I-59 trailblazers at the LA 59 exit
Business US 190 (Covington): Added two pictures of westbound at the eastern end
LA 21: Added 37 pictures from Covington to the state line, photographically Clinched northbound
LA 25: Added 22 pictures from the state line to Covington, photographically Clinched southbound - some sunbleached

...As usual, all pics are geotagged for her pleasure, and snarky comments come free of charge!

02 February 2009

Mississippi UPD*TE

We've invaded the state next door, and came away with about 100 or so new pictures.


MS 604: Pics of the entire distance northbound. Or was that eastbound? It's hard to tell when there's no directional banners.
MS 607: Only 2 pics for now, but this will quickly expand.
I-110 (MS)/MS 15 (Southern Segment): It's a mouthful, isn't it? Nine pictures from I-10's only child in Mississippi. Clinched it again, by the way. Also marked for MS 15 since I-110 is co-signed with it the whole way.


US 90: Added a whopping 62 pictures spanning from US 190 east to I-110/MS 15, including pics from along the New Bay St. Louis Bridge.
I-10: Added 20 pics from I-110 west to Exit 31 (Canal Road).