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Friday, July 30, 2021

No Left Turn

Then I took them to see the storied “NO LEFT TURN 7 AM - 9 AM  4PM - 7 PM” sign at Beverly and Normandie. That’s a classic I never get tired of seeing and love to take out-of-towners to gaze at it.  It’s such a sweet thought back to memory lane. Those wonderous days when the morning rush ended at 9 a.m. and the afternoon rush didn’t start until 4 p.m..  Imagine that. Back then, from 9 am to 4 pm - seven hours! – drivers hummed along in Los Angeles streets like they were Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton zooming around the Nürburgring racetrack in Germany. 

My uncle and aunt stared at the sign it wistfully. “Wow, what a, well, I guess, in a way, a melancholy sign,” said aunt Sheila, who was born in Manchester, England and grew up fairytales about Los Angeles allowing left turns from non-“left turn only” designated lanes. “So back in the day, the evening rush hour didn’t start until four? And only lasted three hours? That’s crazy. What a delight that must have been to drive in those days.” - Krikorian Writes

Driving into downtown Portland these days I often get stuck in creepy-crawly traffic for several minutes while we descend from the top of Sylvan to the Vista Ridge tunnel. Once through the tunnel, things open up, but of course, now I am downtown where parking lot driving rules apply (10 MPH max, watch out for homeless people in the middle of the road, hipster pedestrians crossing against the light, bicycles, electric scooters, people opening car doors into travel lanes, etc.). But it usually only takes another five minutes to get where I am going. Not like those poor bastards who are taking I-5 North to Washington. They are going to be stuck in that crap for another week or two.

I am pretty sure neither more freeways or mass transit are going to help. More cities might help. That way cities wouldn't need to be so big. But we used to have more towns, but small towns are shriveling up and dying. Everyone moved to the big city. Maybe we need more tariffs on stuff coming from China, and maybe a tax on automation, and maybe some public works projects. I really don't know, but I expect things are going to just continue to get worse. On the other hand, maybe most people don't mind putting up with traffic congestion.

1 comment:

xoxoxoBruce said...

I can't imagine anyone not minding congestion, but I suppose it gives them more texting time.