Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Rain Arrives

So after I whined about a non-rainy rainy season, we got dumped with over 3" in less than an hour later that night. It rained a little last night, and we thought we were going to get some tonight, but it all somehow missed us. At least all the plants got some good water instead of chlorinated hose water. Everyone has their fingers crossed that this is the beginning of normal (15-20 minute thunderstorms every afternoon) and we won't go back to the hot and dry we've had the last month or so.

Today I stumbled across an article listing the 10 deadliest cities for pedestrians. In what will shock exactly no one who has spent more than five minutes driving in Florida, the four worst cities were Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville and Miami. The article puts all the blame on badly engineered roads, which is completely true, and not just for pedestrians. Every place we've been in this state has at least one intersection or stretch of road that was intentionally engineered to cause accidents. Maybe the road engineers are getting bribes from the 1,001 law firms that endlessly advertise on TV, billboards, etc. It cannot be accidental. For one, it's far too common, and two, it's so damn obvious. When we lived in Sanford, there was one intersection where there were two left-turn lanes turning onto a side street. No big deal until you are halfway around the corner and you realize there is only a single lane for the two solid lines of cars to turn into. I went through that intersection on my way to work. I never remember there not being fresh broken glass there. Narrow, twisty residential roads where little kids are getting on and off school buses have 35 mph speed limits. Every city loves to block sightlines at intersections with trees and bushes. And on and on forever. So sure, the morons in charge of the roads are part of the problem. But certainly not all of it.

When we first moved to Sanford, there was some big deal on the news about all the Orlando school kids getting hit by cars on the way to school. A dozen or so in the first few days of the school year, if I recall. There was all the usual hand-wringing about poorly-marked crosswalks and careless drivers not keeping an eye out for children. However, the real problem was that the parents didn't want to wait at the light to turn into the school, then wait in line to drop them at the "safety zone" at the door. So the kids were bailing out of the cars in the middle of an 8-lane highway and making a run for it. All the fancy crosswalks in the world can't fix that level of stupid.

Another big stink was made about a rash of bicyclists being found dead on the side of the road every morning from hit-and-runs. Now yes, hitting someone with your car and not even slowing down is pretty bad. But I've encountered these bicyclists both in Sanford and here in Zephyrhills. First, they insist on riding into traffic, even on highways. They ride between lanes. If they see someone they know on the other side of the road, they just make a hard left and start riding across the traffic. They ride around at night in dark clothing and not even a reflector let alone any lights. They run stop signs and red lights. Again, all the bike lanes and PSA's urging motorists to "share the road" can't fix that kind of stupid.

And of course, the same stupid people who shove their own kids out of the car in the middle of a highway and ride their bicycle after dark without any lights also drive cars. The Florida driving test must be, "Can you fog this mirror?" The completely idiotic things I see people do down here every time I get in the car would fill volumes. I would rather have a root canal without anesthesia than drive anywhere. It's that bad.

So yea. Have at the piss-poor job the road engineers have done and are still doing. But a lot of other people need to be fish slapped.


Anonymous said...

"that kind of stupid" I this a Florida thing? And I laughed out loud at the "rash of bicyclists being found dead on the side of the road every morning" Not that I dislike bicycle rider, but that I've spend enough time in FL to appreciate all this.

Ric said...

They're have been stupid people everywhere we've lived, but somehow, the stupid gets concentrated in Florida. Must be that weird funnel shape of the state draws stupid from the entire eastern half of the US and pours it all into that little dangly thing on the bottom of the country.

There's a guy here in Zephyrhills (found out he's actually related; yikes!) who has been in the ER three times this year after being hit on his bicycle while riding into traffic. And I still see him peddling away on the side of the main highway into traffic.

There's just some kinds of stupid that you really can't do anything about.