Friday, August 21, 2009

Call me Count Von Count (a.k.a. The Count)

This entry is going to be a brief one, lacking the abundance of informative and fun photos. I have spent most of the time since my last entry counting/observing traffic on Rimrock Drive.

I have basically been collecting traffic data by manual observation at four different locations, the East Gate, the East Tunnel, DS Road (Main thoroughfare to Glade Park), and Devil's Kitchen Picnic/Trail Parking area. Again, all of this data will help in determining the daily/hourly traffic flows at specific points on the road, as well as any potential safety issues that go along with it. In the future, I may need to do more observations to assist in determining the capacity of the road at certain locations. The type of data needed for this analysis would focus on speed and headways (time between vehicles). Also noteworthy, is the number of different looks I get when people see me on the side of the street. Some actually stop to ask me what I am doing, others just keep driving with a confused look on their face.

In my off time (not observing/counting), I have begun to familiarize myself with ArcGIS which is a mapping software that I will hopefully be able to use in my final report/presentation. It is quite a complicated program, and not very intuitive. Luckily there are a couple people here with limited experience, so that should steepen my learning curve. The mapping software will help me create visual aids in describing certain aspects of Rimrock Drive, like accident locations, appropriate sign placement, etc.

With regards to the violations and citations data, I have finally finished compiling that data and will begin the analysis once I finish my time on the street collecting data. This should take place within the next two weeks or so. Once I finish with observations, I will continue my analysis of all my collected data as well as the NPS Public Use, and accident data I had began working on at the beginning of my term.

I have also started drafting an outline of my final report so that I can determine gaps in my information base, and going forward can address those points specifically. It will also serve as a good tool to update Joan and Michelle on my progress and they can make any recommendations or edits according to what they want to get out of the study.

In other news, Obama came to Grand Junction last weekend (August 15th) to hold a town hall meeting on health care, but unfortunately did not visit the park. Joan, the Superintendent, did get to go to the airport and greet him though. It was a big event here in small town USA.

I also took a little trip back to Boston. It was a short trip, but packed full of excitement. I left on a red-eye Thursday evening and spent most of Friday visiting with my adorable nephew (he is walking now!) and the rest of my family. I also got to sneak in some time with another couple of friends of mine as well. Friday night through Sunday morning was a good friend's wedding. It was awesome. It was an Indian ceremony, so it was full of traditional Indian food, one of my favorites, music, and dancing. I was jealous of the Indian formal wear, since it looked a lot more comfortable than the suit I was in. All in all it was a fantastic trip, where I didn't get much sleep, but it was well worth it.

until next time...