Predictions that never materialized : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Disclaimer: Everybody should be prepared to to do medical, hydrological, scatological, horticultural, culinary, and ballistic "social work" on their own behalf and not rely on institutions, organizations, or governments before, during, or after y2k or any other year.

*** Now, with that out of the way:

I'd like some traffic engineering expert to comment on why predictions of traffic disasters/gridlock subsequent to major road shutdowns don't seem to occur. Can we learn anything about our y2k predictions, which stress "interconnetions", "dominoes", "mission critical systems", etc. ?

From Seattle Times, Sunday 1999-1-24:

San Francisco's Embarcadero Freeway collapsed in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Citizens and local officials decided not to rebuild it. Horrific traffic jams were predicted; they never materialized. Ditto seven years later, when the upper deck of San Francisco's unstable Central Freeway was torn down. The widely predicted Bay Area gridlock didn't happen. Nor has Portland ever regretted closing the six-lane Harbor Drive beside downtown in order to build its handsome Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

-- Runway Cat (, January 24, 1999


Tom McCall Waterfront Park is wonderful, grows more beautiful each year as it is expanded & more & more trees planted. Now they want to rip out the freeway on the other side of the Willamette. Light Rail is awesome, more ppl starting to use it. The upper deck of another major roadway is being planned as a "city in the air" mix of dense artsy housing and real estate. But, surface traffic is getting heavy. Ppl are finding alternative routes to getting around. But the car cholesterol is building up.

Ashton & Leska in Cascadia, who don't commute :)

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx x

-- Leska (, January 24, 1999.

Howard Ruff's hyperinflation in the early 80's.

Gary North's depression.

Japan gobbling up economically in the 80's. "The Coming War With Japan."

Arabs gobbling up US wealth with 70's oil price rises.

That AIDS would also devaste the heterosexual populace.

Many predictions that the world is running out of oil by x date.

Perot, during prez debate, that 100's of banks would go belly up that december because of a new law.

Also his sucking sound of the American jobs rushing south.

Immigrants sucking us dry with welfare.


-- fly . (.@...), January 24, 1999.

Hubby called for a honeydo: I'm back.

"The most ethical .... ever!"

"I won't lead you into WWI"

"WWI will all wars."

"She's unsinkable"

"This program will ...." Repeated 1000's of times.

"You are pessimist."

-- fly . (.@...), January 24, 1999.

Personally, I don't think we will have any traffic problems because most people won't even be going to work (as during the earthquakes).

-- (, January 24, 1999.

A major worldwide depression will start in 1993 - Paul Milne (this is the one he originally ran away from)

JAE effects next January (1999) will be as bad as rollover, if not worse - Paul Milne

The DOW will fall below 5000 by the end of October 1998 - Paul Milne

FY99 effects will be devastating, New York will melt down - Paul Milne

-- Flint (, January 24, 1999.

For the Olympics in Los Angeles in July of 1984, it was predicted we'd have freeway-gridlock to end all gridlock.

As it turned out, traffic conditions for the 2 weeks were a commuter's paradise.

-- Debbie Spence (, January 24, 1999.

The sun will come up tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar on tomorrow....

-- Bill (, January 24, 1999.

Runway Cat ,

In the 1994 Northridge Quake, of Southern California fame (hardest hit in the San Fernando Valley), shortly after the 4:30 a.m. event, people just waited outside, looking at the awesome stars, huddling together, listening to community radios and waiting for dawn. I was about seven miles from the epicenter.

That Monday -- a holiday -- they mostly stayed at home if it wasnt crunched, moved in with family, friends or near neighbors, or set up camp in their car at a local park. Power was down and the phones didnt work until later that evening in some places. In others, they did not have power or water restored for as long as a week. Again, it depended on what got damaged.

The commute on Tuesday was lighter than normal, packed, but relatively polite, despite taking three times as long to get anywhere on side roads. (Many main roads were closed or collapsed). When rattled collectively to your core, the little things are tolerated better, because everyone was affected in the same way. Some companies got innovative and told workers to work at home. Mass transit saw a boom time. People figured workarounds because that was the only solution that worked. There were no riots then.

Keeping that personal experience in mind ... for Y2K ... Ill predict that Shift Happens and no one knows. Just expect the unexpected, and dont be too surprised. Conversely, be fairly amazed.

Isnt, with hindsight, that how most predictions turn out?


-- Diane J. Squire (, January 24, 1999.

The Leonid meteor shower resulted in no satellite damage.

Also, as noted, there were relatively few _reported_ 1999 01/01/1999 events than expected. So far, good news.

So far, we are not yet into "indian territory".

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (, January 24, 1999.

Runway Cat:

I'm no traffic expert, but I did listen to one at an emergency management seminar a few years ago. The question was brought up re: gridlock due to non-or-malfunctioning traffic lights. His answer was that the first eight hours are the worst for gridlock/traffic jams... after that, folks start treating the intersections as four-way stop streets and traffic proceeds at a reasonable, though lower than normal, volume. Even in a large outage, traffic follows the path of least resistance, and everyone sorts it all outafter a while.

-- Why2K? (, January 25, 1999.

Two thoughts: 1) Publicly predicting gridlock two weeks in advance is a sure way to prevent it from happening. Everyone makes alternate plans. Surely a good argument for Y2K awareness that has so far (but not surprisingly) escaped our fornicator-in-chief.

2) Someone mentioned the earthquake... The public's reaction after Loma Prieta wasn't all pretty (I was there), whatever the media would like you to believe. But at least everyone understood that life outside the affected areas (which were geographically very small) went on as normal. The really wealthy folks just went to their other homes. In Y2K meltdown scenarios, that won't be possible. There will be nowhere for all those spoiled, frustrated yuppies to GO. I shudder to think....

-- ex City person (nolonger@the.bay), January 25, 1999.

"Immigrants sucking us dry with welfare."--fly

Well, in Canada at least, that has been the stated cause of the social medical system being busted.

And here in the US we have a 5 trillion debt...if that's not dry I don't know what is ;-)

-- Chris (, January 25, 1999.

The economy will collapse under the weight of national debt when it reaches the level of

80 billion 100 billion 500 billion 1 trillion 1.5 trillion 3.5 trillion

Seems to be a bit more resiliant than it is being given credit for. And BTW - the bulk of the national debt was run up under Republican administrations - I do get tired of hearing Democrats are the ones solely responsible for the national debt. (Vote Libertarian - they are not responsible for any of the national debt! ;) )

-- Paul Davis (, January 25, 1999.

Paul - Sorry, bro, but the Dems have OWNED Congress up until very recently. Congress has far more power to initiate and alter spending than does the Office of the Prez. Mr. Reagan's budgets were far better balanced before the Democrat-controlled Congress voted to keep porking out on various pet programs. If social programs had just been held in check, the much-needed military "rebuild" would have had very little impact on the deficit. The programs were not even close to controlled, however, and the deficit expanded.

Note also that it was the dreaded GOP-controlled Congress that forced Mr. Clinton to propose a truly balanced budget, which has since resulted in the "surplus" now being much ballyhooed. Don't you remember all the negotiations and the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the Dems as programs were controlled (rarely reduced) in order to achieve a balance? They fought the changes tooth and nail, predicted plague, pestilence, and starving schoolchildren, and called Mr. Clinton every name in the book for his "traitorous behavior."

All the dire impacts they screamed about didn't happen. Now THERE are a few predictions which never even came close to coming true...

-- Mac (, January 25, 1999.

You're absolute right Paul, don't worry, the economy could never collapse, what's 5 trillion anyway? The gov. will continue its magic.

-- Chris (, January 25, 1999.


wish it were only 5 trill. That's in budget. Of budget it's more than 12 trill. Keep cool.

-- fly .:. (.@...), January 25, 1999.


wish it were only 5 trill. That's in budget. Off budget it's more than 12 trill. Keep cool.

-- fly .:. (.@...), January 25, 1999.

"Peace in our time." -Neville Chamberlain, c. 1938.

-- *69 (, January 25, 1999.

"you'll be lucky tonight"--Fortune cookie

-- No Luck Joe (don', January 25, 1999.

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