Tuesday, June 19, 2012

If I were mayor - driving edition

image: http://images.lexmark.com
You know what makes me insane? I mean, other than bad service and people not respecting the rights of pedestrians in the crosswalk?  Double parking when there is a space available.  I don't think I've ever seen this done with the frequency I see it happening in Albany.  It seems that usually when I observe this, the driver is still in the car - perhaps waiting for some sort of colossal geographical shift in the earth to park the car for them, at which point they will simply lock the doors and go on their merry way.  I must admit, there have been times when I have triple-parked momentarily just to ask - "Hey, are you going to park in that available space right there or did you forget how to parallel park immediately after your road test?"

My other issue with driving in Albany is red light etiquette.  It has been well documented that Albany drivers excel at running red lights.  I know that when I'm driving, I usually do a mental 5 count before proceeding through my fresh green as a precaution - how about you? And if you're making a turn at the red light, be it a right or a left at the intersection of two one way streets, you must stop first. Stop and yield are not the same thing and I find it shocking how many drivers apparently do not understand this fact. If I were mayor, I would have police officers writing tickets left and right for these reckless drivers.  It's another one of those situations where the laws are in place, perhaps it is time to simply enforce them.

My final Albany driving pet peeve originates, like many of my life lessons, in my youth in groovy Greenwood Lake. Teenagers do lots of boundary pushing and experimenting, right? Well, thanks to Aloysius' antics (with perhaps the contribution of another young man in a bathrobe. In the car. In the afternoon) we all learned the precise difference between stopping at a stop sign and rolling through a stop sign. Now, not everyone has had the benefit of having their friend arrested for such an offense, but, take my word for it - Stop means all forward motion of the wheels ceases and that's what lawful drivers are expected to do. For more information on this topic, please speak to Aloysius. He is the expert. 

Being better drivers by respecting pedestrians and traffic laws doesn't cost anything. Wouldn't it be awesome if we all tried just a little bit harder to make Albany a city that abides by traffic laws?


  1. It'd be great if people didn't drive on the shoulder, too. Shoulders are NOT lanes! I swear, if I was a cop, I'd stake out a corner somewhere and issue fistfuls of tickets to people who seem to think the shoulder is a right-turn lane, even when it's clearly marked with white lines, and even when there's a sign right freakin' there to remind people, state law, do not drive on shoulder.

  2. Well, I have to say that being with NY drivers is a MASSIVE improvement over where I used to live. (People often find this hard to believe, but trust me, Maryland drivers are THE DEVIL.) But a five-count? That sounds pretty long to me. I just fear that with a five-count wait after green, some crazy motorist or worse, motorcyclist will try to get around you and bad things might happen.

    I usually just do a swivel looking for peds or cyclists or speeding light-runners while moving my foot from the brake to the gas. It works pretty well; it gives me plenty of time to move my foot back to the brake if I spot something -- which has happened a number of times. Compromise? Three-count?