By all accounts the new Golden Gate Bridge barrier is a success. The barrier, which you likely remember was installed early last year, replaced the previous flimsy plastic pylons that were shifted by bridge workers to accommodate varying traffic flows. The new, heavy-duty divider has had one unintended side effect, however: it seems to encourage more drivers to speed.
“Almost immediately we saw an increase in speed, and that has continued," bridge manager Kary Witt told the Chronicle. "I think what it has done is make people feel safer in that middle lane, and they drive faster.”
Indeed, driving in the center lane of the Golden Gate Bridge used to be a somewhat unnerving experience — the fear of some truck careening over from oncoming traffic into your lane ever present. This concern was not altogether an idle one, either, with the Chronicle noting that 16 people have died as a result of head-on collisions on the bridge since 1970.
The new center barrier is sturdy enough to prevent a cross over, and in fact has already done so on several occasions. This added element of safety apparently has not gone unnoticed by drivers who take it as an opportunity to hit the gas just a little bit more.
“I always used to be concerned about driving in the center lane,” regular commuter John Schneider told the paper. “Not with the barrier.’’
The speed limit on the bridge remains at 45 miles per hour, and California Highway Patrol spokesman Officer Andrew Barclay noted to the Chronicle that barrier or no, CHP is still writing tickets.
“Our officers are continuously enforcing speed," explained Barclay, "and it continues to be a priority.”
So, watch yourself.