Left turn etiquette

The traffic in Proctor doesn’t typically bother me. It gets a little thick at times but I feel like I can get around pretty good.. until I am stopped in my tracks by left turners behind a green circle. There are two distinct brands of bad left turners that we need to address.

Unnecessary use of crowded intersections
The mildest offenders in the bunch, many of you who turn left onto Proctor Street from North 30th at 5:17pm..should turn sooner. There are multiple options to turn sooner (Alder, Union, etc.) and all of them will save you and the rest of us a lot of time. I realize some of you live on Proctor, and of course you are more than entitled to your left turn onto your street. It is the folks headed for Mason Middle School or Proctor Safeway that have much better routes to consider.

Sitting through an entire green light without moving
This is the group of people for which there is no excuse. AT LEAST ONE CAR MUST TURN LEFT ON EVERY GREEN CIRCLE, even if you finish your turn after the light has turned red. I understand there are a lot of people who do not see it this way. They are wrong. There is no excuse for sitting through an entire round of lights unless the intersection is physically blocked.

As our population density increases, so will our need for new left turn lanes and green arrow signals. Until then we should all do our part to follow the new world order of left turn etiquette to reduce traffic queues. Less waiting at intersections means improvements to the following:

  • Fuel efficiency
  • Air quality
  • Pedestrian safety
  • Traffic safety
  • Drive times
  • Frustration levels
  • Road rage statistics

In other words, by being a better left turner, you can save the world time, money and good health. Follow this simple checklist and you are on your way to being a better left turner:

New world order of left turn etiquette
  1. Avoid turning left at signal-controlled intersections lacking turn lanes or green arrow signals
  2. Enter the intersection when you have the right of way and your light is green
  3. Exit the intersection when you have the right of way and your path is clear
  4. Focus on pedestrians and oncoming vehicles at intersections, NOT the color of the light

North Tacoma police presence

I’m not sure whether to feel safe or watched. A strong police presence has turned up in the north end lately. The Proctor District in particular has been teeming with squad cars. Has there been a flare-up of crime? Are they bored? Are they here to write more traffic tickets? I suppose I should feel safe when I see cops in the neighborhood, but instead I always assume they are sitting on the side of the road, waiting for speeders to trigger their radar gun, all while browsing internet porn favorites.

Red light cameras in Tacoma, part II

Things have gone completely downhill since we last visited the topic of Tacoma’s shiny, new red light cameras. More of these little buggers are popping up all the time. Kamerakrieg is well underway around town and I’m much more pissed off than before. The dipshits over at traffic central are rumored to be enjoying the view from inside each other’s asses; meanwhile red light camera revenue is piling up at a huge cost to local taxpayers.

Timing these intersection cameras with the downturn in the economy, outrageous gas prices, the sinking dollar, real estate crisis and stagnant wages appears evil and calculated at first glance. Alas, I will have the politicians’ back on this one. It was not entirely evil calculation that got us to this point. It couldn’t possibly have been planned this way because they are too inept over there to be directly responsible for such accurate timing.

What can you do to help fight the war on red light cameras? I would like to recommend that you avoid these camera-enforced intersections at all cost to avoid contributing to this diabolical revenue stream (not to mention sitting through green lights while waiting to turn left, for fear of being fined $100).

Don’t we realize this is just the first step toward infinite public surveillance? Is that where we want to be in 10 years? I sort of like the idea of not being on camera everyfuckingwhere I go. Who’s with me?

New bridge and traffic cameras. Dumb and dumber.

So the new Narrows bridge is a wink away from opening and I remain less than convinced that it will improve the overall flow of traffic between I-5 and Gig Harbor. How will the Nalley Valley S-curves capacity be improved? I feel as though me may be moving the bottleneck slowly from the Narrows toward the Highway 16/I-5 junction. Between the new bridge and the coming traffic cameras in Tacoma, it’s going to be an exciting summer on the roadways.

I will gladly buy a North Tacoma espresso drink of choice for the first person to show me their traffic ticket from the new camera(s). I’d love to be as aware of these shenanigans as possible, and I’ll do my best to spread the word of where the cameras are and what they are looking for.

Good luck out there.

Let’s give ‘em something to talk about


The Dock Street/Downtown waterfront of Tacoma is in trouble. The museum restaurant has closed, following the Blue Olive on their way out of town. The pedestrian bridge over I-705 is proving to be insufficient in fueling foot traffic from Pacific Avenue to Dock Street. Even before these closures, Dock Street has been a ghost town, but for construction workers, condo residents and the occasional boutique employee coming and going. A constant flow between Pacific Ave and Dock Street must be developed somehow, some way. It’s easier said than done, but necessary. If things don’t improve, this shiny, new area will continue to die like a limb with poor circulation. Surely, the urban planners have something up their sleeves!? There are currently a couple stealth ways to get from Pacific Ave to Dock Street by car, but they aren’t accessible to newcomers to the area. Those of us who have lived here know how to access Dock Street a few different ways. However, the train tracks and I-705 present quite a barrier to entry for those on the Pacific Ave side. Is it simply these logistics that hold the Tacoma Museum of Glass district down, or is it something more? Perhaps Tacoma needs to focus on getting more high-quality attractions in there. With all due respect, pet stores, sandwich shops and condos are great, but they don’t necessarily do much to attract visitors. I love the sandwich shop. Do you think I’d get in my car and drive down there JUST to have lunch there? I think not. I love the dog shop, too. Again, I’m not going to drive down there just to buy my dog a leash. There are plenty of places closer to home for that. So I ask you Tacoma, what is it going to take to get this area going??