South Florida Tries A New Way To Stop Speeding Drivers: Magic

South Florida transportation officials want drivers to slow down, but rather than relying on radar guns or speed traps, they’re trying a new trick: an optical illusion. The Sun Sentinel reports that the state has painted the road with hash-marks (think football field yard lines) that get closer and closer together. This creates the illusion that a driver is going faster, and will (in theory) cause them to hit the brakes and slow down.You can see a diagram of the new system here.

This isn’t the first time “magic” has been used target speeders. Oregon installed a similar system last year to save money, and Virginia, Texas, Kansas and Mississippi have all tested the program as well. In Vancouver, a more chilling pavement image was added to the road a few years ago:

What do you think? Are pavement illusions the magical solution to heavy-footed road warriors?

The Dania Beach Hurricane may be demolished

Last month Boomers in Dania Beach, Florida closed their wooden roller coaster known as the Dania Beach Hurricane. The ride could be seen from Interstate 95 just south of Ft. Lauderdale. It could also be seen from the Ft. Lauderdale airport as I found out a few years ago. I thought I was seeing a mirage when I landed there for a connecting flight as I wasn’t aware of the coaster at the time.

While details around the ride’s closing have been scarce, a Sun Sentinel article points to the high cost of maintaining a wooden roller coaster in a warm humid climate. The article stated:

“The high cost of maintenance and insurance, plus low ridership as the ride became rough,” likely contributed to the Dania Beach coaster shutdown on April 26, Doppelt said. “I’d say they couldn’t afford to redo it.”

The company that owns the coaster has cited “business reasons” for the closure, but did not offer details.

When news first broke that the park had closed the Hurricane, enthusiasts hoped that another park would buy the ride. Now it appears that there’s a good chance that the area landmark may soon be no more. According to Screamscape, the Dania Beach Hurricane may be scheduled for demolition as soon as June. Meanwhile, roller coaster enthusiasts at ThemeParkReview and CoasterBuzz have shared their love for the ride. If it is demolished, it sounds like it will be missed.

Photo of the Day (1.3.2010)

Don’t be fooled…this image is a mirage! Well at least it looks like one, right? It’s actually a fantastic snap by Flickr user ohad*, who caught this visually striking scene on a pool of water in Florida. The shimmering ripples of water and hazy outline of the palm trees make you feel as though you were staring at a desert illusion, conjured by the sizzling heat.

Want your pics considered for Gadling’s Photo of the Day? Submit your best ones here.

83-year-old lands plane on expressway

Imagine. There you are driving along an expressway in South Florida. You’re checking the rear-view mirror and side-view mirrors, watching the distance between you and the cars in front of your car, smoothly navigating traffic. You’re doing a swell job, and then there’s a surprise–something you weren’t planning on. A yellow object comes into view. A large yellow tropical bird, perhaps? Your heart starts pounding faster. You think “Gaad!!! WHAT IS THAT THING?” It’s a plane–a single-engine Hummelbird plane, and it’s landing in front of you. ON THE EXPRESSWAY for heaven’s sake. And the plane is being driven by an 83-year-old.

That’s what happened yesterday morning to drivers on the Sawgrass Expressway near Oakland Park Blvd. Luckily the plane didn’t hit any cars and cars didn’t hit it when it landed in the midst of traffic after pilot Ralph Squeglia experienced engine trouble.

Lest you think this mishap had something to do with Squelia’s age, on the contrary. He’s been flying since the mid-1940 and knows a thing or two–such as how not to panic when landing a plane on an expressway and what to do if the airplane’s wing clips a light pole. Oh, yeah–and how to do so without hitting cars.

According to Carlos Miller’s Miami News article, Squelia is not getting a citation from the state troopers and the FAA has yet to comment. As for the state trooper’s report, perhaps there isn’t a citation regarding how one should land a plane in traffic. Like “I’m sorry sir, you landed on the wrong side of the road. You’re supposed to be going with traffic.”

More crazy stories from the skies

Bicycling Shark Valley into the Everglades

Alligators are the first thing to come to mind when I hear Everglades. Following very close in second place would be visions of murky swamp waters infested with mosquitoes, so when I saw Shark Valley in the same headline as Everglades it was obvious to see why my curiosity would be piqued.

John Mc Namara invites visitors to the Florida wildlife area in a more intimate way than speeding through on a drive down I-75 or cruising the waters on an airboat. His suggestion as featured in Tropical Adventure is to take the 15-mile bike ride through Shark Valley. It costs $10 to cycle the path which actually leads you to the entrance of Everglades National Park and the author makes it a good point to mention how much wildlife, alligators, birds and scenery you’re bound to experience by going this route. His article is stuffed with really good info for first-time Everglades explorers and novice bike riders who want to explore Shark Valley. He offers tips like don’t touch the gators (which should be a no-brainer) and be prepared for the ever changing weather conditions in the Florida Everglades. Variable high temperatures, wind and unexpected thunderstorms should all be kept in mind. Considering the amount of physical activity you’ll be doing John’s notes become very important in knowing how you’ll find food or beverages. Those who wish not to complete the bike trek can hop on the Shark Valley Tram and see the area with a guide.

I’d totally make a day of it and go for the bike ride. Willy did a Hidden Gems piece on Everglades Airboat Tours which is also worth revisiting if you’re planning to see the area one way or the other. With that said I’d totally do, both! Now, are there any sharks in waters? I doubt it – just gator.