Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Google Maps Takes Me on a Ride in Seattle

When the sun comes out in Seattle, all these pear-shaped, shabbily-dressed, pale white people come outside from their caves. Some of the men take their shirts off, which is not a good thing to see. The city becomes crowded with people who walk in the streets instead of the sidewalk. Folks who should not be driving decide to take their car out for a spin. Perhaps even the computers that serve up directions on Google Maps get a little heady. I was the recipient of this stuff from Google Maps.

I asked for directions from Google Maps, from a friend's house to the Seatac airport. Attached are the resulting directions.

The directions aren't bad at first glance. I drove following the first 8 lines just fine. When the directions said "turn L at Mercer Street" then I started to get into trouble. Mercer Street was closed for repairs. I don't blame Google Maps for this, and the city had posted detour signs.

However, trying to follow the detour, I ran into a huge traffic jam. Seattle drivers do not know that they should leave intersections open with their cars. As a result, even if a light turned green, no one could move. I threaded my way for about an hour to get to a street where I could finally get onto I-5.

I had been to Seatac several times before, but I was not confident, so I followed Google Maps. If you look at the directions, you will see that Google Maps must have wanted me to see different parts of the city before arriving at the airport. It had me get off I-5, get onto I-90 East, then exit at Rainier Avenue and then take a leisurely loop tour in the North Beacon Hill area. This took another hour or so. I went through all kinds of small streets, having no idea why.

I was finally directed back to I-5 after this side trip, and I made it to Seatac airport, about 2 and a half hours after leaving my friend Dave's place near Ballard Locks.

I checked the same route for Google Maps today, and I could not re-create the route it gave me yesterday. The directions put me on I-5 and kept me on I-5 until I reached Seatac, very direct, very easy, 30 minutes rather than 150 minutes. WTF?

Thanks again to my friend Dave for inviting me to his wedding party, the only social event I've been invited to in about 4 years.

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