The End of the Road

The End of the Road
6:45 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Why Most Highway Signs Aren't All Caps Anymore

The sign at the end of the road.
Credit Gregory Castillo

A drive down I-95 is full of dozens, probably hundreds, of tiny design decisions that are ultimately about driver attention. From the lettering on a road sign to the shape of a road, engineers are constantly trying to find a sweet spot between getting a driver’s attention and distracting them.

As part of our End of the Road series we wanted to ask an expert about the thinking behind some of the things drivers see everyday on I-95 but aren’t supposed to pay much attention to.

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The End of the Road
4:47 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

What It's Like To Have A Gun Pulled On You On The Highway

Photos of Alyce and Neil Robertson from the beginning of their marriage and from recently.
Credit Alyce and Neil Robertson

Alyce and Neil Robertson were running late to a wedding one day 20 or 30 years ago. Because they were running late, they were arguing in the car, until some maniac on the road did something crazy.

Naturally, some of the details have slipped over the years. But the two agree they were on their way to a friend’s wedding and Alyce was mad at Neil for making them late. Here’s how they remember the rest...

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The End of the Road
6:55 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Are "Lexus Lanes" Really Lexus Lanes?

The term "Lexus Lanes" seems originated in the mid '90s and became a synonym for all express lane projects. But how accurate is it really?
Credit Concavo Wheels, (Creative Commons License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

Brian Rick is on a crusade. As a spokesman for the Florida Department of Transportation he has chewed the ear of dozens, maybe a hundred people -- reporters, friends, anybody who refers to 95 Express as the “Lexus Lanes.”

“You don’t see a Lexus every two or three cars," Rick says. He notices the pickup trucks and work vans. "If you're delivering auto parts or you're delivering medical supplies... that's where reliability becomes essential. "

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The End of the Road
4:09 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

WLRN-ify My Commute: Let Us Give Your Daily Drive The Public Radio Treatment

Let's go for a ride.
Credit tiverylucky / freedigitalphotos.net

We spend a lot of time together on the road, you (audience) and us (WLRN). If you’re like most of our listeners, we’re with you in the car just about every day -- through your speakers, at least.

But we want to take it to the next level: We want to actually get in the car with your family, your friends, your coworkers.

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The End of the Road
6:00 pm
Sun June 8, 2014

Seriously, What's So Great About I-95?

Credit Kenny Malone

As part of our End of the Road series -- about the final 87 miles of I-95 -- we’ve asked a lot of questions: Why don’t people seem to get in trouble for speeding in the express lanes? What even is the speed limit in the express lanes? When you accidentally cut someone off, what should you do when they pull a gun on you?

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The End of the Road
5:39 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

I-95: Road Songs With A #@!%ing Twist

One of the 1,000 vinyl copies originally made of August Campbell's "The I-95 Song."
Credit Photo by Kenny Malone/Record courtesy of Kathy Heinly

This story originally ran on February 12, 2014.

They write songs about roads: "Route 66," "Highway 61 Revisited"."Dusty, old roads with iconic signage that belongs on a pair of blue jeans.

“When you talk about ... the road as an attractive proposition, usually it’s open and it’s driveable,” says composer Carlos Rafael Rivera, who teaches American creative music at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. “I-95 is a little bit of the opposite. So I can see how songs would be written in a negative way about it."

"Negative" is, perhaps, kind.

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The End of the Road
8:54 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

95 Express Has Hit New Max Toll At Least 12 Times, But Appears To Be Working

95 Express toll sign at an onramp just north of NW 36th Street.
Credit Kenny Malone

The maximum possible toll on 95 Express increased from $7 to $10.50 on March 1. Two days later at 5:30 p.m., the cost of using the northbound express lanes hit the $10.50 maximum.

Rory Santana from the Florida Department of Transportation says a truck jack-knifed and backed up the highway, so people flooded 95 Express and drove the price into the ceiling.

Since March 1 the cost of a ride in the fast lane has hit $10.50 at least 13 times.  Nine of those cases occurred on the northbound express lanes, seven of which happened between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. 

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The End of the Road
5:13 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

I-95, Road Rage And How The Robertsons Learned Miami Time

A photo of Neil and Alyce Robertson taken around the time of their harrowing I-95 tale.
Credit Alyce and Neil Robertson / Courtesy

There are details of this story that Alyce and Neil Robertson don’t quite agree on.

“We were on our way to a wedding on a Saturday afternoon,” recalls Alyce.

“A Sunday, yeah,” recalls Neil, “we were on our way to a wedding.”

This Saturday (or Sunday) wedding trip roughly 20 (or 30) years ago has become a go-to party story for the Robertsons, who can at least agree that they were disagreeing at the time.

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The End Of The Road
11:11 pm
Sun April 13, 2014

If You Thought The Driving Was Crazy, You Didn't Know About I-95's Drug-Smuggling Years

In his new book, Tony Dokoupil explores his fathers secret life as drug smuggler.
Credit Courtesy of Tony Dokoupil

NOTE: Author Tony Dokoupil will be speaking at the Miami Book Fair International on Sunday, November 23rd at 5:30.

Like many born in the '50s, Interstate 95 had some pretty wild days in the 1970s.

Florida was essentially “a 600-mile bong through which pot was pulled into the lungs of the country,” writes Tony Dokoupil. And “Interstate 95 was the glass tube of the bong,” he told WLRN. “You could not get high in America without touching something that had traveled on that particular stretch of asphalt.”

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The End of the Road
7:02 am
Mon April 7, 2014

On The Miserable Road: The Poetry of I-95

Inspired by I-95: A.R. Ammons was on I-95 when he saw the inspiration for one of his most decorated works.

Interstate 95 inspires more than just four-letter words, it turns out.

Twenty five years ago, poet A.R. Ammons and his wife were driving home from a visit with family in South Miami. Somewhere north of Dade County -- on I-95 -- Ammons looked out his window and there it was: one of South Florida’s infamous mountains of trash.

Garbage: A Poem was born.

garbage has to be the poem of our time because
garbage is spiritual, believable enough

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The End of the Road
2:26 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

PHOTOS: Highway Landscaping May Have Squelched Your Road Rage

Ponds, palms and poincianas. The roughly $6M makeover of the I-95/595 interchange is one of Florida's biggest highway beautification projects. Click through the images to see more highway landscaping.
Kenny Malone

There’s a good chance you’ve seen the work of Elisabeth Hassett and an equally good chance you didn’t really notice it. Hassett is the landscape architect for the Florida Department of Transportation’s District 4, which includes Broward and Palm Beach Counties. When there’s a need for highway-side landscape design, Hassett has almost definitely had a hand in choosing the plants and the layout -- a far more complicated art than you might imagine.

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The End of the Road
11:22 pm
Sun March 23, 2014

We Want Your I-95 Ire And Art

Commuter misery turned postal art, the I-95/395 interchange was featured in the U.S. Postal Service's "EARTHSCAPES" collection of Forever Stamps in 2012.
Credit U.S. Postal Service

If you wrote a play about road rangers or made a quilt from fallen mattress, or glued together a Fabergé-style egg from pieces of shattered headlights, then for the love of highway please contact us.

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The End of the Road
2:39 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Here Is What It Looks Like When Traffic Engineers Design Highway Signs

I-95 according to North Carolina: 76 different designs were submitted between 1956 and 1957 during a contest that would shape the interstate's image forever. North Carolina's colorful design is pictured above.
Credit Kenny Malone

If North Carolina had its way, the interstate system would look very different today.

Before President Dwight D. Eisenhower had even signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, the American Association of State Highway Officials was discussing the need for “a distinctive interstate route marker.” 

The U.S. Highway System already had the iconic shield you see along U.S. 1, AASHO decided the fledgling 40,000-mile superhighway needed its own brand.

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The End of the Road
4:17 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Trying To Free Up 95 Express, FDOT Prices 'Lexus Lanes' At Lamborghini Rates

Credit Jeffery Katz / Florida Department of Transportation

“Lexus lanes” may have been too cheap for Miami. This past Saturday morning, South Florida drivers traded in for “Lamborghini lanes.”

The maximum possible toll on the 95 Express lanes increased from $7.00 to $10.50 — the mininum has doubled to 50 cents — in response to record numbers of motorists forking over what was thought to be a discouragingly high amount of money.

“That day you paid seven bucks, we were trying to get you not to go there,” said Rory Santana, who oversees Miami-Dade County’s stretch of 95 Express for the Florida Department of Transportation.

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The End of the Road
2:54 pm
Sun February 23, 2014

How Madonna Shaped My Romance With I-95

Mark, left, and Clark.
Credit Clark Perks

In 1990, when we were both 22 years old, my friend Clark and I drove from New Jersey to the Canadian border, bought a box of donuts, turned the car around, and drove the entire length of the southbound Interstate 95 non-stop, as quickly as possible. It was what we called a “high-velocity vacation."

For reasons unclear we decided to only listen to one song the entire way: Madonna’s “Like A Prayer.” We had the cassingle.

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