Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Where the streets are insane

I'm convinced that the traffic czars of Tampa Bay are making a concerted effort to drive us all nuts. Consider the following:

  • Kennedy Boulevard is closed just west of North Boulevard for some long overdue resurfacing. However, there's no advance notice, at least westbound, that the road is closed until you encounter the sign that says so. No "ROAD CLOSED AHEAD" or even a "DETOUR" sign a half mile or so in advance. Instead, you drive right up to the closure and the only option you have is to turn right on to a circular dirt road that turns into other circular roads that run you past some storage facilities and the University of Tampa varsity softball field. It's like Wile E. Coyote is in charge. I half expected to see one of the roads dead-end at a pile of ball bearings labeled "FREE BIRD SEED!".
  • I wind up behind a dump truck every day. It doesn't matter where I'm going or what neighborhoods I'm driving through, I am guaranteed to be stuck behind at least one very slow moving dump truck every day. Whether the trucks are full or not, they only go about 30 MPH at top speed on an open stretch of road. Sometimes you'll see two dump trucks pass each other in opposite directions, and they'll both be empty. You'd think if they were actually doing something productive that they'd flag each other down when that happens: "Listen, don't bother going that way if you're looking for rocks and dirt to carry around. I just came from there and they got nothin'". Since they're not being productive, what are they doing? Torturing me, that's what.
  • Consider the intersection of Twiggs and Morgan streets in downtown. I've been driving to my job downtown at least five days a week for more than a year and I always wind up southbound on Morgan and have never, not once, made this light. That's right, I have never just driven through it green. Not one single time in over a year. I am not exaggerating. I get stopped at that red light EVERY...SINGLE...DAY!! How is that even mathematically possible?
  • Red lights in general are designed to reduce your brain to a puddle of pulsating goo. If their purpose is to regulate the flow of traffic, why aren't all of them on sensors and not timers? There's a light at the intersection of Jackson and Franklin streets that will stop you at least 50% of the time, even though Franklin is a pedestrians-only walkway between City Hall and a couple of banks at that point and even on Sunday when City Hall and the banks are closed. How often have you found yourself sitting at a red light where maybe one or two cars pass in front of you and you find yourself staring at the back of the car in front of you, your attention drawn to the red glowing taillights, focusing intently on the intricate pattern of the tailight itself until you see...hey, that's the face of a kitty! And...and it looks like it's winking at you and...Meanwhile, there's drool running down your chin, your eyes are half-crossed and you've just been held hostage for four-to-six minutes during which you were incapable of accomplishing one single worthwhile thing.
  • Then there's the intersection of Morgan and Kennedy. Drivers in the westbound traffic on Kennedy routinely get caught blocking the north-south traffic on Morgan at this intersection, which is within plain sight of the Tampa Police Department headquarters. They don't have to put a car or even a cop on foot there. Just open the window and yell across Lykes Park to knock it off already.

1 comment:

chaaalie said...

Traffic control and/or planning simply doesn't exist in Tampa. Pick any street downtown as an example, you WILL get caught at a light ... but the magic is that as you look down the road in front of you, they all turn green at almost the exact same time. To a moron, this seems like the perfect solution, only to realize that there is no way to make more than 4 of them before they all turn red again! We should send whoever is in charge of this system over to St. Pete, and have them travel on both First Avenues over there. You can go from the Pier to Treasure Island and only be stopped once or twice ... if you go about the speed limit, the lights actually turn green just before you arrive at them, as if they were expecting you. What a concept! Saves time, saves fuel ... and probably saves lives (no road rage and fewer red-light runners!)

Don't even get me started about events at the Forum or after a Bucs game ... TPD just doesn't get it.