Sunday, May 25, 2008

Driving Problems

I have a couple of driving issues here that I’ve been meaning to air. First there are sunken grades in three places that just annoy the crap out of me. One is on Niagra, another is just a few hundred feet away on Williamsport Road and the third is out before the second Walluski road entrance as you head East on Hwy 202. It seems like every year or so these sunken grades need to be filled in and I would suspect there is now about 20 feet of pavement below grade. Why not just build bridges?

My next problem it right turns that you don’t have to stop for. They should all be three and four way stops. For instance if you are driving West on 202 (Olney Rd) and you come to the intersection of 7th. There is nothing to indicate to the driver on 202 that the person coming down 7th doesn’t have to stop. There is a stop sign for those who turn left at the end of 7th, and those on 202 may think it is their turn to go through the intersection.

I think there is the same problem at Niagra and 8th. Fortunately unfamiliar drivers are a little more cautious, but I know the chances for disaster at these intersections are higher than three and four way full stops.


Blogger Auntie said...

Speaking as a very "expert" driver who actually lives near two of these road "features" let me shed some light....

Bridges are more expensive than filling, especially when you are talking about the sunken grade on Niagara which is actually a large slide that moves every year. I cannot imagine the cost to engineer and place a bridge there or my guess is it wouldnt even be doable. Who wants to drive over a bridge that spans and active slide?

Free right turns? I think they are posted well and I havent personally witnessed any accidents at the two closest to my home, but I guess anything can happen.

5:50 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Not posted for on-coming traffic. There is nothing at the top of Williamsport that tells you the person on 15th doesn't have to stop.

6:03 AM  
Anonymous g said...

I have witnessed at least 10 accidents over the years at the intersection of olney and 7th. Correctamundo, it's the out of towners who are usually the victim. I've been cut off more times than I can count making my "free" right turn at that intersection. These days, having rode motorcycles, I just now assume someone is going to blast the intersection. I enter any/all intersections with caution.

The sunken grade at niagra has been like that ever since I can remember (like 30 years ago). Auntie is correct that it is a slide zone and putting a bridge there would be expensive but do able.

11:02 AM  
Blogger Frank said...

There is a "bog" near us that, for whatever reason, the state decided to put a road straight across rather than detouring a whole 200 yards to the south (it's a *small* bog - in a lot of places it would be called a pothole) or building a bridge (which, though more expensive at the time now looks cheap in comparison, and would have interfered less with the overall drainage in the region anyway). The road's been sinking since it was built. I think they've filled it at least twice, and more recently they put in 100s of pilings to try to shore it up. It's sinking again, less than 2 years later. Now they're fighting over who to sue.

Those no-stop right turns sound like death-traps for cyclists and pedestrians...

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since moving to Astoria several years ago, I've wondered about a potentially dangerous traffic issue you didn't address here, but since the topic was somewhat related, thought I'd ask:

What is up with no one thinking twice about turning left across the double yellow lines on Marine Drive?

Admittedly I haven't looked at the driver's manual since my teens, but recall it is prohibited, and that it should be has been reinforced in my mind as I've seen some near disasters, especially between May-October when out-of-town traffic is at a high.

4:16 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Ooooh Ooooh, I thought of another one speaking of Marine Drive. Could someone please put up a No Left Turn sign at the bottom of 16th. When I come down 16th and want to turn right and forget to see what direction the person at the intersection is going I can get stuck there for 20 minutes.

By a bridge I don't mean pilings, but dig the road away, lay down a few steel beams and some steel plates and pave over that.

Frank, that sounds like the mistake they made in Alaska where they cut away the perma-frost, oops! Where are you writing from, Frank?

G, 30 years ago...young whipper-snapper.

4:45 PM  
Anonymous g said...

I used to live below that area on 8th St. when I was in grade school. Used to make the walk by there on the way to school. Old stompin' grounds.

5:42 PM  
Anonymous columbiacontrolfreak said...

I live in Columbia county, here we use sunken grades and disappearing chunks of road as traffic control. The locals all know where to slow down drastically or risk need a front end alignment or a bent tire rim.

We have stop signs, or slow down points as I like to call them. Since we have almost no police presence outside of downtown St.Helens and Scappoose no one pays them all that much mind. Even in town everyone knows the police schedules and drives accordingly. Tuesday and Thursday evening shift is a semi retired ex-Portland cop with prostate problems so you're free to do whatever anywhere more than 5 minutes drive from the Fred Meyer bathrooms.

8:45 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

You crack me up, CCF. Say hi to Betsy for us.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

I'm in central Indiana so it wasn't a matter of removing the permafrost, though that sounds like a real bright idea in itself. I'm not really sure why they did it this way, I think maybe they just didn't think it through, or took a gamble that the bog wasn't as deep, or as soft, as it turned out to be.

6:09 PM  
Blogger Mom of Three said...

My feeling is that if one stop sign has a "get outta stop free" sign, then there should be a simple round sign, like bright orange, simply screwed to the other side, so the people at the other stops will know.

11:24 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Frank, I've only been in Indiana once and enjoyed it. Other than the heat and the cold and the tornadoes is seems like a nice place to live. Pretty charming.

Mo3 or at least a different color stripe or arrow on the road.

5:28 AM  

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