[Kristy Evans is a senior manager in the Gate, Perimeter and Exodus Department, where she has helped manage the task of getting people in and out of Black Rock City since 2007. The logistics of traffic, people movement, and staffing a huge department still fascinate her, and with an ever growing city there is always more work to do. She first made the trek to the Black Rock Desert in 2003 and began volunteering in 2005 with Gate. She is a member of the Burning Man Leadership Forum, and you can read the rest of her bio here.]
Getting participants in and out of Black Rock City is one of our greatest challenges, and we figure it’s high time to share our ongoing work on the traffic front with you. For most Burners it isn’t the most vibrant topic, except for some of us nerdy types who like to think about systems and logistics (which is probably how we found ourselves huddling around fire barrels drawing traffic scenarios in playa dust for fun).
After the 2011 event, we received more responses (through our Feedback Loop process via firstname.lastname@example.org) about traffic and wait times than any other topic. And we are listening. Those of us in the Gate, Perimeter & Exodus Department have been reading your feedback for years and have carefully considered the many suggestions put forth by the community.
This year the eight-day Burning Man Special Recreation Permit from the BLM is from 6pm on Sunday, August 26, 2012 to 6pm on Monday, September 3. The Gate will open at 6pm on Sunday, August 26th to ease traffic and ensure public safety. We’re working to do our part and but we need your help keeping the wait times as short as possible. We are passionate and interested in solving the problem. We know traffic in and out of the city can be frustrating and exhausting — many of us have sat in those long lines with you.
Some suggestions from participants include building another exit off the playa and implementing a regulated departure system, which unfortunately aren’t feasible because of real geographic, legal, political, and cultural issues. There is also a physical limit to the number of vehicles we can responsibly (as in safely) release onto the road in any given time period. For a more detailed explanation please read our FAQ.
That said, we really do value your suggestions so please keep them coming! In part thanks to your ideas we developed Pulsing for Exodus — a system of moving vehicles at regular intervals to avoid the long slow creep that challenges the sanity of even the most patient among us. With Pulsing, vehicles can stop and turn off their engines, then are “pulsed” forward all at once. While you wait, you can get out, stretch your legs, and share food and fun with your neighbors in line, creating, in effect, “one hour neighborhoods“.
Your feedback says that it’s working, and it’s a great example of how this community rises to a challenge and comes up with creative solutions. Cheers for Radical Self-Reliance, Communal Effort, and Participation.
See our blog post “Traffic at Burning Man: What YOU Can Do About It” for more detailed information about how you can help us cut down wait times and increase safety, because we’re all in this together, folks.