The students are back. Classes start next week. Right now, the freshmen are arriving on campus with their families to move in. People are everywhere. What’s more, these are people that have no idea where they are going. The state of things can be summed up in one simple equation:
campus = chaos
To make things even worse, the chaos extends at least a ten blocks radius from campus. During a regular week, traffic is pretty heavy during rush hour. Add a couple hundred extra cars containing students and their families and it’s gridlock.
It’s times like these I’m so very very glad I commute by bike because I’m not trapped in that gridlock. Very. very. glad.
But the flip side is that I’m on a bike in this nasty traffic with people in cars that, again, have no idea where they are or where they are going. They’re dangerous because they could turn or stop at any moment. But at least they are looking around. They are very conscious of pedestrians and bikes and other vehicles on the road that quite possibly are as lost as they are.
The other group on the road are the regular commuters, the locals, that are generally in a foul mood because of the extra traffic. Those are much worse than the out-of-towners because they are cranky and are going to do crazy/senseless things often without looking so they can get home. To prove this, I offer up the following case study:
I’m on my way home. I come to an intersection. The light is red for me. I stop. I realize that despite the fact that the light is green for the cars on the cross street, people are going nowhere. Pure gridlock. There’s a big delivery truck part way through the intersection. The light at the next street one block to my right turns green, but traffic is backed up so far down the street that the truck only gets half way through the intersection. He moves forward as far as possible, realizing he’s blocking the crosswalk. The light at the next intersection turns red, effectively trapping him there. I have sympathy for the truck driver. Really. He’s trying. But the cards are stacked against him this afternoon and the back end of his truck is still sticking out into the intersection.
The woman in the car behind him, on the other hand, is, frankly, a b*tch. She’s on her cell phone. I’m certain she’s a local (no stuff in her car, city parking sticker in her window). Her light that was green now turns yellow. She’s not in the intersection yet. She’s on the other side. When the light turns yellow, she guns it, propelling her car into the intersection, effectively blocking ALL traffic for the cars on my street. Yeah. This qualifies as a doing a crazy/senseless thing. She’s now stopped in the middle of the intersection, nowhere to go, the delivery truck immediately in front of her. My light turns green. The drivers in the cars next to me look irritated. I would be too if someone pulled that move and blocked me from moving anywhere.
Fortunately, I’m not in a car.
So I start pedaling and assess the situation. Basically, I have two options: A. go between her an the truck like the pedestrians are now forced to, or, B. cross in front of cars to go behind her.
I choose option A. Crossing in front of traffic on a bike unless it’s your light is, frankly, stupid. Especially when it’s not cross traffic but cars on the same street as you trying to go in the same direction as you are. For all I know the car in the far lane might decide to try and go around behind her car to get through the intersection and I don’t want to put myself in front of that, thankyouverymuch. As I’m crossing in front of her, between her and the truck, just like the pedestrians are doing, she starts to roll forward (where to, I don’t know, the truck hasn’t moved). She then glares at me and honks her horn.
She. honked. at. ME.
WTF?? Are you kidding me woman?? Where are you trying to go? You’re the b*tch that ran the yellow (again, an asinine move on your part) and got yourself stuck there. Don’t be honking at me for crossing the street on MY green!
I do believe this case study of the woman on her cell phone that blocked traffic by making a idiotic move illustrates why the local daily commuter is the bigger problem in the traffic chaos surrounding campus right now.
Thank the lord that classes start next week and the mass of extra cars will be gone.