Let’s get one thing out of the way right off the bat: this post will not reveal a magic solution to Burning Man’s traffic woes. There is no wand to wave to quickly transport you onto the playa and prevent you from ever having another exhausting Exodus experience. If I said that, you’d know I was lying, because getting 60,000 people in and out of Black Rock City using a two lane rural highway is no easy task. Traffic will, for the foreseeable future, be a part of the Burning Man experience.
Yep, I said it. And I know you know it. So, let’s talk about what we can do to make getting in and out of BRC a better experience for everyone, and consider what constitutes reasonable wait times.
We are continually evaluating ways to improve the process of getting into and out of Burning Man. Some of these will require years of planning, while others can be implemented more easily. Here are some of the changes we are working on for 2012:
- The Temple will burn at sundown this year to give you a little more time to leave on Sunday night.
- We are developing a communication system to let you know when a Pulse is about to happen during Exodus.
- We’re doubling the number of porta potties along Gate Road. While this won’t solve traffic problems, it will make your wait more pleasant.
- We are working closely with the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) and other local agencies to analyze and address traffic issues; in 2012 a team from Burning Man and NDOT will drive the roads to evaluate traffic patterns and map all of the sticky bits.
- We are placing additional flaggers in Gerlach during ingress and egress to address safety concerns around the gas station.
- We added a traffic section to the Black Rock City Census, through which we’ll collect important planning information.
- We hired a traffic engineer to evaluate our traffic plans and help us figure out how to grow sustainably. We are considering multiple forms of transportation, the viability of shuttles, and changes to the design of the event. Right now we are deep in research mode, so stay tuned for more info on this in 2013.
- In addition to our normally scheduled programming on BMIR, we will broadcast information about getting in and out of BRC on the new GARS (Gate Area Radio Station) – 95.1 FM.
- Talking about traffic! Help us spread the word.
But wait, that’s not all! We need your help! Here are some things that we can all do about traffic:
- Carpool. The fewer vehicles in Black Rock City, the shorter the lines will be. Visit our Rideshare Board.
- Plan for your departure. Knowledge is power and traffic is real. Know what to expect so that you can plan your arrival and exit accordingly.
- If you don’t want to wait in long lines, don’t arrive on the first day of the event and don’t leave on Sunday or Monday of Exodus.
- If you hear on BMIR or GARS that Exodus lines are long, use that time to MOOP your camp or favorite hang out space.
- Part of a theme camp or art project? Schedule your tear down so that your crew leaves after peak travel times.
- Fill out the 2012 Black Rock Census, especially the traffic section.
- Read the Gate & Exodus FAQ for important info about what to expect and how to plan.
- During Exodus, take some time to make sure that your neighbor’s trash and gear are strapped down tightly.
- If you do get stuck in traffic, make the most of it! Last year participants played music, shared food and created “One Hour Neighborhoods” with their fellow Burners.
Like so many of the challenges that we’ve faced in Burning Man’s history, this whole traffic thing can only get better if we address it as a community. While there’s no magic solution, there are many things that every single one of us can do to help. We promise to keep working on our end; what will YOU do?