Thursday, August 21, 2008

David Allen Encounters Traffic Calming in Ontario California

I should tell you something about myself, if you don't know it about me.

I hate traffic calming.

I absolutely, positively hate traffic calming.

During my brief recording career, I even recorded a song ("Non Sequitur 15") about it.

At one point during my blogging career, I even devoted an entire blog to the topic.

Now, a couple of years later, David Allen writes about it:

I hung a left on Sixth Street in Ontario and took it east. Much to the consternation of Sixth Streeters, I'm sure, who don't like it when their quiet street is used as a freeway alternate.

That's why "traffic calming" devices were installed a decade ago. These were small planters in the middle of the street that make motorists to pay attention and slow down. (Whenever I mention traffic calming, I always get an amused note in the mail from Sixth Streeter Bruce Henning, who finds the islands slightly ridiculous. We'll see if he finds this online.)

The islands to the west are small and rather ineffectual, as they're easily maneuvered around; the islands east of San Antonio Avenue are bracketed by curb extensions that do force you to go slow.

Well, sometimes to amuse myself, I drive along Sixth Street exactly as the traffic planners intended me to do. Unfortunately I'm in Kentucky and can't take a picture of their intent, but the next time you're there, take a look at the street. You're supposed to zig-zag left and right more times than Amy Winehouse. Even when you're going slow, it's enough to make you carsick.

Luckily, I don't drive a fire truck. You see, fire trucks need to get to fires quickly. Not that it matters to Mike Mooz of Kingston:

He's also unimpressed with the city's plans to put into place special speed cushions that will force vehicles to slow down, but will enable larger emergency- type vehicles such as fire trucks to avoid reducing their speed.

Speed cushions allow buses and emergency vehicles to pass unhindered, but slow down other vehicles. They're similar to speed humps, but speed cushions have openings in them that allow the wheel base of a fire truck to pass through completely unimpeded....

"Whether my family gets hit by a car or by a fire truck [doesn't matter]," Mooz said.

And whether Mooz's house burns down or not apparently doesn't matter either.

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