When I drive I sometimes go over the speed limit. When I park in the city I sometimes overstay my time. On occasion I’ve been guilty of texting while driving. I’m rarely caught. I hardly ever pay fines. Do you blame me? That’s understandable. But don’t just blame me. Blame the city. Blame your township. Blame Harrisburg. They’re not doing enough to catch guys like me when I do the wrong thing behind the wheel. All it takes is a little technology, a few changes in the law and a different approach:
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A few weeks ago, after tipping back a few too many beers, a friend of mine opened up about his girlfriend and their loving but altogether contentious long-term relationship. The one constant? Non-stop arguing over topics big and small (mostly small). Though they’re rarely super-serious, purée-each-other’s-emotions heavyweight bouts, the scraps are consistent enough to merit front-and-center billing on the cute, weird Pinterest board that is their romantic life.
Talking, and drinking, about it helped him come to a realization.
“Dude,” he said, eyes bugging in terror like he’d just spotted the crest of Godzilla’s head rising from the bay. “I think she actually likes fighting.”
This got me thinking about two local groups whom I’ve long suspected secretly get kicks out of battling each other: Philadelphia’s motorists and Philadelphia’s bicyclists. Now that the weather’s finally broken, plenty of locals are pumping their tires and greasing their chains in preparation for three full seasons of city biking. And just as quickly as the bipedal crowd has emerged from the freeze, so too have the bad attitudes. Bikers screaming at drivers! Drivers screaming at bikers! Pedestrians screaming at both of them! Quick, everyone — corner the urbanite closest to you and tell them how much they fucking suck!
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Pennsylvania State Senator Mike Stack has proposed legislation to install speed cameras in Northeast Philadelphia along the downright treacherous Roosevelt Boulevard. The idea is simple: You speed, a camera detects your infraction, and you get a ticket in the mail. And now it sounds like influential State Representative Brian Sims may be throwing his support behind Stack’s plan. Read more »
Last week I played hooky from my day job and drove to Cape May. The goal: Lock myself into a hotel room facing the ocean and work on a possible book project while enjoying what I consider a profound luxury — room service.
I was more than halfway there, on the Garden State Parkway just over the bridge between Ocean City and Sea Isle, when the front passenger tire blew. I pulled off to the side of the road, and after the shaking in my hands stopped, reached into my wallet to pull out my AAA card.
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On the heels of yesterdays’ news of our snowiest half-decade ever, there’s an interesting fact in this story by PlanPhilly’s Christine Fisher: The Philadelphia Streets Department has filled more potholes this winter than any one in history. Like, probably dating back to 1682 or something.
“It’s been an unusually tough winter, and with potholes being repaired at a record pace an increased investment in paving is being made in this capital budget,” said Andrew Stober, chief of staff at the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities.
The Streets Department has already repaired more than 12,200 potholes.
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Oh my dear Wawa. I love your coffee. I love your hoagies. I love that I can leave my house and be at two of you within 10 minutes.
But you’re far from perfect. I hate that you closed down some of your shore locations because they couldn’t sell gas. I hate that you took so long to repair those shore Wawas after Sandy.
But most of all, I hate Wawa parking lots.
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Last Thursday at around 6 a.m., a pickup truck drove into Hymie’s, the popular Main Line deli. For anyone who knows where Hymie’s is located, this was quite an impressive move.
Hymie’s is not at an intersection. Nor at the end of a road. The restaurant is right smack in the middle of a group of shops, behind a row of parking meters with a wide sidewalk in front of it. The driver of the truck somehow made his vehicle take a sharp, perpendicular turn (was it left or right?) in the middle of a quiet, almost deserted, early morning thoroughfare and plow it through the restaurant’s main window and into its dining room. No one inside was seriously hurt, thank goodness. I still can’t find a complete explanation of how this happened. But I’ll say one thing: That’s one lousy Philly driver.
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Understand, neither the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania nor the Philadelphia Inquirer used the phrase “raging a-holes” to describe a forthcoming crackdown on “aggressive drivers” in today’s paper. But that’s totally what they meant, because here’s how they describe those “aggressive drivers”:
Tailgating. Running red lights. Weaving. Giving too little space to cyclists and pedestrians. And, of course, there are more directly aggressive moves – honking, flipping the bird, yelling, even assault – associated with road rage.
See? Total, raging a-hole behavior. And if you’re driving in Pennsylvania over the next few months, well, the authorities are going to take a dim view of it. “For the next month, law enforcement agencies along the 350-mile Route 30 corridor will work overtime to target and ticket aggressive drivers,” the Inquirer reports.
Why Route 30? Because, the Delco Times reports, the road is a perfect breeding ground for raging a-holes:
PennDOT officials at the Monday event said that Route 30, otherwise know on the Main Line as Lancaster Avenue, is a great location for the aggressive driving campaign because of the way the road has been designed.
“US 30 is a perfect location for this discussion. It’s a historic road and as such it can be frustrating to drive. It was clearly never designed for the volumes that it experiences. So many traffic signals, parking issues, no room for turn lanes … and so many pedestrians along it. Driving US 30 requires patience and caution and not adrenalin and aggression,” said Lou Belmonte, district traffic engineer with PennDOT.
In other words: The state designed the road poorly. Now it’s going to punish you for getting angry about it. Which also seems to be the behavior of a raging a-hole, when you think about it. But that’s OK, because this stepped-up enforcement is scheduled to last only a month or so—after which everybody can go back to being a-holes as usual.
Alright motorists, you better wear your seatbelts. Because cops are ramping up enforcement. For…the next two weeks.
The initiatives are part of the national “click it or ticket” campaign. State police in Pennsylvania and New Jersey say they will focus on motorists violating seat belt laws, and educate people about the importance of using seat belts and child safety seats. The “click it or ticket” initiative runs statewide in Pennsylvania and New Jersey from Monday through June 2.
NBC 10 reports:
Police say the unidentified driver was going eastbound (towards Center City) on Kelly Drive when he cut right in front of another vehicle crossing from the left lane into the right and then up on the curb about 30 yards before Boathouse Row. A passerby saw the crash and jumped in to try and free the driver but was unable to get the man out. Police say the Good Samaritan also was hospitalized with non-life-threatening cuts on his wrist, shoulder and chest.
The 73-year-old man was pulled out at 12:50 p.m. today near Boathouse Row and declared dead at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania 29 minutes later. [NBC 10]