Minimizing Efficiency

At the cab company, we need a minimum of 3 pieces of information in order to send a taxi: origin, destination, number of passengers. The greeting message that you hear on hold even says as much—not that i expect anybody to actually listen to it.

Now, in fairness, I don’t expect the average taxi customer to be as familiar with how we work as we [the employees] are. But I would think that it would occur to anybody with sufficient mental skills to decide they want a cab, and successfully call the cab company, that we might need to know where they are, in order to send them a taxi. Continue reading

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Stop Lines Have a Purpose

Here’s a little thought experiment: what if, instead of a 2′-wide line of paint on the pavement, stop lines were a 2′-thick block of steel, 3′ high? With a proximity sensor and a delay, so that, once something got within, oh, say, a yard, they’d then drop down a second or so later. The goal being that you couldn’t not stop behind the line, and the delay would be long enough that you’d basically have to come to a complete stop before you could proceed.

Now, believe it or not, this isn’t really about rolling stops. That is a problem, but not what this is about. Because the people who roll stops are gone and out of the way. The problem is the folks who are way too far forward, and just sitting there for an extended period of time.

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Do you even know what lanes are for?

Does the average motorist even understand basic principles of traffic and road utilization, like destination-based lanes? 

W Dayton St has a bike lane, so when it’s safe to do so, I use the bike lane, out of consideration for the motorists. Though given the way motorists treat me, I don’t know why I bother. A car is the first vehicle to Park St, and they already have their right-turn signal on as they come to a stop at the lights, so they obviously already know they’re planning to turn right. But they’re not in the right-most lane.  Continue reading

With friends like these…

You know, I gotta wonder if the folks making “pro-bicycle” decisions in this city ever actually ride a bike.

Actually, maybe they do—maybe they’re the people I see cycling all the time. The ones who scare the hell out of me, and/or piss me off, with their combination of blatant disregard for their own safety, obliviousness to traffic laws and rules of the road, and poor bike-handling skills. In fairness, the average cyclist is probably no worse than the average motorist, once you factor in differences in vehicular capabilities. And I’ve never been able to observe a motor vehicle for more than a block, and not see them do something dangerous/illegal/stupid (and i’ve been behind the wheel for most of my employment history, so I’ve seen a lot of motor vehicles). But the sheer stupidity of some regular cycling behaviors just boggles the mind: passing a stopped bus between the bus and the curb? Heck, passing any vehicle on the right, if you’re anywhere near any sort of intersection, driveway, or open parking spot. There’s plenty of room on the left side, where people expect to get passed. And yet, just because somebody painted a stripe on the pavement, cyclists think it’s ok. Continue reading