AFTERBURN REPORT 2013
City Planning Department
If you downloaded the 2013 city plan, you may have noticed the faint, dashed line indication of auxiliary streets M and N. These streets – and the blocks they define – were surveyed and opened mid-event week. This somewhat relieved the higher population density on the nine o'clock side of the city, but led to problems, as they had not been properly incorporated into the Exodus traffic plan.
The four blocks between 5:45 and 6:15, and GDP and Interstellar streets were reserved for Burner Express Bus (BXB) patrons. This proved unnecessary as we discovered that most BXB riders had other final destinations in Black Rock City. We will therefore adjust the BXB reserved camping space in 2014.
The rougher playa surface on the eastern side of the playa impacted more than just those camping in that half of city. For the second consecutive year, an airstrip-worthy surface could not be found between the fourth and fifth points of our perimeter fence. (Point One is at the lower west-most corner, and the points are counted clockwise). The landing strip was moved out to the front of the city, between Greeters and Point five. This became an issue as, for the first time, our staff had received agency dictates regarding the design of our Gate Road, which would intersect the airstrip. Very late in the game, with several trips to the desert, a compromise was found to allow for smooth aircraft landings and taxiing, while ensuring the safety of participants and Gate staff.
In 2012, post-event speeding traffic and the curved design of Gate Road led to damage and deep playa dust-filled ruts. Redesign in 2013 eliminated these issues. A slight increase to the inner esplanade diameter, and transitioning all 30-foot streets up to 40 feet may provide the needed breathing room in our annular blocks in 2014.
Next year we must engage the community and act boldly to balance the city population, as the high density on the nine o'clock side of BRC negatively impacted important services such as medical and ice sales. Camp (re)placement will no doubt play the largest role in this needed readjustment.
The entry angle of Gate Road and the off-center placement of the Greeters station is under review. Satellite imagery suggests that the 2013 city plan could have held our population without the addition of the auxiliary streets, so we hope to rectify density by addressing the concerns participants have regarding the sparsely populated areas of BRC.