Introducing the alternate merge

I feel unfair posting this in my Boston category, since it’s equally applicable to Seattle residents, but I feel compelled, after my 30 minute commute stretched to an hour this morning, to introduce a new concept to my fellow Massholes Boston-area motorists:

al-ter-nate merge
(n.) A method of bringing two lanes of traffic together into one lane in which a motorist from one lane proceeds and the motorist behind him yields to a motorist in the other lane to allow them to merge into the flow of traffic.

You think this is funny? That the term doesn’t bear defining? Well, the number of motorists who speed up to cut off mergers from the other lane, or who attempt to merge two or more cars in front of a motorist from the other lane, or who don’t come over when it’s their turn to merge even when you open a space for them, tells me that it’s not a well understood concept.

In Seattle, the problem is typically that the lane being merged into is populated by people driving under the speed limit and not leaving enough space between their cars for a motorcycle, much less another vehicle, to merge into traffic. In Boston, it’s worse:

  • People in lane 2 speed up when they see someone coming over from lane 1;
  • Drivers in lane 1 try to beat their turn to merge by cutting over behind the front driver in line, and blocking his merge attempt;
  • Drivers in lane 1 pull out and drive well past the merge point rather than wait their turn to merge, often cutting into lane 2 at the last possible second whether a space exists for them or not. (Especially common at the junction of Rt 2 westbound and 128 south in the mornings.)

I don’t know. Maybe I’m making up this whole concept. Am I alone in thinking that everyone should understand alternate merge?