Tag: traffic

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The Fourth on Fifth Avenue

For an errand, this afternoon, I walked from my neighborhood of University Heights to Hillcrest and back. To celebrate Independence Day, the city put out American flags. The Featured Image captures two on Fifth Avenue beside one of the many controversial, and new, bike lanes.

San Diego is in the process of transforming select streets to connect a regional bikeway. The idea is to gain, ah, independence from carbon-emitting vehicles by encouraging more pedal power. Oddly though, hybrid electric or motor bikes are suddenly everywhere, which makes me wonder about the strategy. One reason: Those riders tend to avoid the bike lanes and flow with traffic; the partially powered two-wheelers are too fast-moving.

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Perspective Highway

During the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns, I got into the bad habit of photographing alleys, buildings, and streets—yeah cats, too—but have yet to get back to people. They have come out of their dwellings, so I have no excuse.

That as preface, I present a pair of photos where humans are present but unseen. Hey, these aren’t self-driving cars. The view looks out from the University Avenue bridge in Hillcrest onto slow-moving traffic along California State Highway 163.

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Doggone Fun

At the corner where University Heights ends and North Park begins, my wife and I waited to walk across El Cajon Blvd. I turned to see a car come up Texas Street to the intersection; a big `ol dog hung out the window. I pulled around Leica Q2 for a quick shot, not wanting to draw the attention of the driver and possibly to offend him.

The Featured Image is about a 95 percent crop, which deliberately includes price of gasoline—down from a high of $5.96 per gallon as recently as last week at this station and others around my San Diego neighborhood. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 28mm; 11:38 a.m. PDT, today.

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Traffic Rules Apply to Bikes, Too

San Diego is embarked on the Herculean task of creating new bike lanes—and they’re seemingly everywhere in Hillcrest, North Park, and University Heights. Today, while standing at Fifth and University avenues, I saw something surprising that probably shouldn’t be: Traffic lights for riders. In a community culture where bikers barrel through intersections like they own the right of way, the city seeks to tame them to the same rules that everyone else abides by.

Hell, yeah. Hey, Two-Wheeler, someone saved your life. Thank them.

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The Runaround

Finally, somebody puts these godawful traffic circles to good use. This afternoon, while walking along Louisiana Street, I came upon someone running around the edifice to poor transportation planning at Meade. The Featured Image is the first of four shots—all taken from the hip, using Leica Q2.

The person could be identified from any of the other three captures; not having permission to publish, I chose the back view; besides, sun is more pronounced in this one compared to the others. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/1250 sec, 28mm; 2:23 p.m. PST; composed as shot.

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I Blame the Traffic Circles

This car crash won’t win awards for photographic excellence. I got one shot for the Featured Image before a flatbed truck moved in to take away the vehicles. It’s what the moment represents that matters. But first, quickly, the vitals—aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 28mm; 2:08 p.m. PDT; Leica Q2.

I passed by the scene on Oct. 30, 2021, at the intersection of Meade and Mississippi in University Heights. On either side of Mississippi are parallel streets Alabama and Louisiana, where San Diego workers completed so-called “calming measures” last year. I call them “traffic circles of unintended consequences“—contending they adversely affect driving habits that will lead to more accidents like this one.

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The Incident in University Heights

When working with other journalists, I always advise: “Write what you know to be true”—or, lifting Star Trek lingo, obey the “Prime Directive“. That brief introduction frames what follows based on what I directly heard, observed, and photographed.

Our story starts some minutes around 11 a.m. PDT today, when emergency vehicles roar down the street where we live and others nearby. A police helicopter begins circling overhead, announcing search for a suspect, with his description, and instruction to call 911 if seen. I look out my window, to see police officers standing over someone handcuffed and facedown on the pavement—the Featured Image, captured at 11:06 a.m. Vitals: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 28mm; all photos aperture manually set, from Leica Q2. Interesting aside: The takedown happens where once stood the block’s majestic palm tree, before being cut down nearly four weeks ago.

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Accidents are Inevitable

My relentless criticism of so-called “traffic calming measures”—part of the future Georgia-Meade bikeway—continues with a current look down Meade from Georgia. Click on the Featured Image hyperlink and take a close look at the activity at Alabama, where is the first of the traffic circles that replaces stop signs.

You are witness to a near accident—as two vehicles converge from different directions. Who should yield to whom isn’t always obvious, which is gravely complicated by poor visibility for some approaching vehicles and the speed with which many drivers enter the roundabout intersections. I can’t imagine how much more dangerous will these circles be when the route officially opens to bicycles.

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The Traffic Circle of Unintended Consequences

As summer began last year, I started seeing some strange change in driving behavior—where my neighbors slowed down and rolled through Stop signs rather than stopping their vehicles. Initially, I attributed the disrespectful and dangerous practice to SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. Many people weren’t working, or if doing so from their residence, and traffic was considerably lighter than usual.

But as San Diego reopened (before later closing again), the no-stopping continued and I recognized the real cause to be something else that is far more disturbing. The Stop-sign roll-throughs started not long after the city opened the first so-called traffic calming measure at Alabama and Meade in University Heights. Where once were Stop signs, the city has placed circles at four-ways where drivers now slow and yield. I first observed the slowing behavior at posted Stops along Meade at Campus and also Cleveland. Coincidence? I think not.