Monday, November 16, 2009

Crazy Parmer Lane

I don't like driving much, and Parmer Lane here in Austin is almost the perfect summation of why: people don't think when they drive. I had to go to Wal-Mart to buy some jeans, and I came back just as rush hour was beginning to start. The number of crazy drivers out was just insane. Yes, I mean you, little old lady in the red Nissan with the Obama Hope bumper sticker, who continued to go fifty miles per hour through the flashing lights of a school zone. The school zone on Parmer is thirty-five, which is already absurdly fast. As, indeed, most of Parmer is absurdly fast, since the speed limit in my area varies from fifty to sixty-five despite the fact that it has traffic lights exactly like any other street -- people speed up to fifty, slam on the brakes, speed up to fifty, slam on the brakes, speed up to fifty.... Naturally, since the speed limit says fifty, everybody gets angry at the people who have only managed to get up to forty-five before the next light begins to loom up ahead. And then, of course, there was the person at the Mopac intersection weaving in and out of traffic and tailgating the cars up ahead -- who obviously couldn't go any faster than the cars in front of them. No doubt it was so important that he reach his destination as quickly as possible that he couldn't even be bothered with the patience to drive at the same speed as everyone else for five to ten minutes until the traffic thinned out. I would have walked, and I've walked to Wal-Mart once before, but it's quite a hike, and, as I've mentioned before, Parmer is extremely pedestrian-unfriendly -- witness the nice red Nissan in the school zone. I think I've read somewhere that Parmer is one of the worst streets for accidents in Austin, and that's not in the least surprising: the whole street is ridiculous.

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