Nov 30, 2007

I Hate The Government

Sneedlet One (the dark-haired one) is here for the weekend because his mother is in Yuma, AZ, visiting her soon-to-be-husband's parents. They will be back on Sunday evening. I took Sneedlet to have lunch with my friends, Lonnie and Chuck. It was like taking a baboon to lunch. Everyone thought he was cute at first, but then the cuteness wore off and the simian behavior set in. The problem is that he thinks that his misbehavior is funny and there is no way to get him to understand that it isn't. Short of smacking him, that is, which would get me in a heap of trouble. If he was at home I could put him in his room, but at a restaurant, that's not an option, so we left and went home. I hope that this is just four-year-old misbehavior and not pre-serial killer behavior. We had to take Son Sneed to a doctor's appointment today and it is raining heavily here, so traffic was bumper-to-bumper and moving at glacial speed. Evidently, we don't have any real traffic engineering here in our fair city. The traffic engineering department should be redesignated the Neighborhood Appeasement Department, because their engineering decisions have more to do with pleasing the neighborhood honchos than moving traffic smoothly. That and maximizing traffic fine revenue by setting unreasonably low speed limits. It is possible that we are the largest city in the United States without any local freeways. With the exception of Interstate 10 and 19, which pass through our city, we rely exclusively on surface street. This is because our local government is afraid of angering anyone by building an actual crosstown freeway. The State of Arizona built something called a limited-access roadway along the Union Pacific right-of-way, from midtown to downtown and the first thing that the idiots at city traffic engineering did was to set the speed limit at thirty-five mph. The second thing that happened was that the police started handing out speeding tickets by the bushel basket. It took a law student to discover that the city cannot set speed limits for a state roadway under Arizona law and get most of the tickets dismissed. The State has reset the speed limit to fifty-five. A six lane, divided, limited access roadway and the buffoons from the city try to set the limit at thirty-five. Apparently, reducing traffic to a crawl isn't enough for the brain trust at traffic engineering, so they are installing something called High Intensity Activated Signals to slow it down even more. They have given these signals the acronym HAWK. Someone should really explain to these bozos that the acronym for High Intensity Activated Crosswalk, is HIAc, not HAWK, but that is the least of the problems with these things. HAWK signals stop traffic to allow pedestrians to cross busy street. They are not replacements for stop lights at intersections, they are in addition to them. The problems with HAWKs include high cost, questionable pedestrian safety results and of course, the disruption of traffic flow. As you can see in the video I linked, all it takes is a single pedestrian to stop all traffic in both directions. Once the button is pushed, the signals stops traffic immediately. And it doesn't matter how often it is pushed, it stops traffic every time. Ten pedestrians can line up and each push the button as soon as the previous one has crossed and the signal will activate ten times. An interesting thing about the video is that a single pedestrian approaches the light, but in the middle there are two guys at the light and then when it activates, there is only one again. When the camera pulls back, two guys are crossing the street and finally it shows only the first guy again. The guy in the white shirt might be a ghost or something. So this afternoon, we headed to the doctor in the pouring rain, rush hour traffic was heavier than usual and we got stopped at every HAWK light we passed, we got stopped for a single pedestrian. In fact, there is one outside a Circle K convenience store that seems to exist entirely to keep the winos from being hit trying to stagger across the street. I can truthfully say that I cannot ever remember passing this light without being stopped. I think that I am turning into an anti-government crank. But they brought this on, not me. Things in this blog represented to be fact, may or may not actually be true. The writer is frequently wrong, sometimes just full of it, but always judgmental and cranky

5 comments:

Steve said...

I'm confusing my Sneedlets: #1 is the blond kid, right? He's wilder, if I remember correctly...

35 mph on a limited access road is nuts.

Anonymous said...

#1 is the dark haired one right? I used to take the kids out to the car for a chat. I told them if they didn't act nicer , the next time they ask for a treat I will say "You didn't act nice at XYZ restaurant with my friends, so no treat." and I would stick by that. Also before entering the restaurant, I would remind them to be polite and tone down the annoying factor. It works. This time of year, you can play the Santa card too. But you have to remove them from the restaurant and have an "eye contact" talk.

d. chedwick bryant said...

That video you posted was so good I watched it 16 times. I just love the way the guy walks across the street, and the way the traffic stops for him.

Can you get a video of the winos straggling across?

Kurt said...

Ugh.

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

Oh boy...

until they put people movers over the Strip area here in Vegas...


it didn't matter what time we left for the airport...

I'd almost always be late b/c there were soooo many people crossing the street... we couldn't go!

Thank God they changed it about ... um.... ten years ago...

I want to say it was off of Tropicana and the Strip...

we'd just sit for the longest time and watch pedestrians cross ...

they need to do something like that at the airport...

you can hardly get dropped off b/c there are sooo many people crossing all the time...