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City of Coquitlam wants drivers to ‘merge like a zipper’ this summer

‘Merging like a zipper’ found to make traffic flow more smoothly
Wed, Jun 28: If you do the polite Canadian thing by merging early and waiting your turn instead of driving up to the head of the merge line, you’re actually slowing down traffic. John Hua reports.

The City of Coquitlam is hoping to quell some of its traffic woes by schooling drivers in some road etiquette.

As most municipalities head into busy construction season, the city’s transportation manager Dan Mooney said Coquitlam is encouraging motorists to “merge like a zipper.”

READ MORE: ‘It’s OK to cheat’ when merging into traffic, AMA says

The idea means that when traffic is backed up at a choke point, drivers would use both lanes equally right up to the blockage — then alternate the right-of-way, like the opposing teeth in a zipper.

“We’re asking people to not merge over too early but rather come to the front of the queue where the merge lane begins and alternate at that point in an equal opportunity between the two lanes.”

WATCH: Four Metro Vancouver locations make list of Canada’s worst traffic bottle necks

Four locations make list of Canada’s worst traffic bottle necks
Four locations make list of Canada’s worst traffic bottle necks

Mooney said the procedure reduces congestion and improves road safety.

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“It appears to be a little bit non-Canadian in terms of our courtesy, but it’s actually the best thing to do for everybody.”

WATCH: Do you zipper merge?

But he said when traffic is free-flowing, drivers are still encouraged to merge early.

Mooney said the city took its cue from traffic regulations in Delta on Highway 99 northbound at the George Massey Tunnel, a stretch of road notorious for its congestion.

Drivers can expect to see red-and-black signs communicating the zipper idea to pop up in construction zones throughout the summer.