Saturday, July 20, 2013

Greased Grooves

            I can almost hear John Huston, The Narrator in 1982’s ‘Cannery Row’ intone: “Once again the World was spinning in greased grooves” now that the All-Star Break is over and Major League Baseball is being played in ballparks from coast to coast! #GoGiants

            The happy, warm all over feeling I got when Giants’ starting pitcher Chad Gaudin mowed down the Diamondbacks’ first three hitters, and the Giants’ leadoff man Gregor Blanco got to first on a walk, only to be knocked in by a big Buster Posey double in the  first inning…priceless! Our Week-Long National Nightmare is over! Hooray Baseball!

            Final Score- SF Giants 2 Arizona Diamondbacks 0 We gain a game on them too!

            In another greased groove across the Big Pond, Le Tour de France  reaches Paris Sunday… some champagne will be enjoyed by the maillot jaune’s  team as they wend their way around the Champs-Élysées, before the final field sprint, and the Podium Ceremony. After three weeks, it’s been a brilliant 100th Tour.

            This July, I didn’t really have a horse in the race…yeah, I was pulling for Andy Schleck who was still short of the form needed to win the Tour after a Spring of injuries and set-backs. As a dispassionate observer of Le Tour de France this year, I noticed a new, disturbing trend on the roads and byways of France (and Corsica, too.)

            “Traffic Furniture”, the quaint term the British Tour Commentators use to define Traffic Roundabouts, Median Strips, Curbs and Gutters, almost took out the winner of Thursday’s Iconic Stage 18 near the bottom of the second  L’Alpe d’Heuz climb. Christophe Riblon following Tejay Van Garderen had to “Bunny-Hop” a roundabout that came as a surprise as they snaked through the packed roadway. Luckily, Riblon escaped without crashing or suffering a flat tire, and went on to win the stage when Van Garderen “hit the wall” just 3KM from the finish line.

            It’s bad enough that roundabouts have multiplied like überfetid bunnies, infecting seemingly each and every scenic French village, town and city center…but what is the deal with the multitude of Speed Bumps? Do they come along post-roundabout infestation? Don’t the Tour de France Organizers have enough pull to have these motoring menaces removed for the Tour…if only on the Finishing Straights? I almost get Motion Sickness from the LIVE footage when the MotoCameras go over these outsized Traffic Furniture interlopers.

            Dear Readers, it’s not too late to take preventative action! Attend and speak at your City Council or Public Works Committee meetings! Stop this insipid virus before it infects your whereabouts! Roundabouts are the camel’s nose under our tents…once a populace surrenders to the tyranny of the roundabout fascists, the speed bumps will follow. Roundabouts are the first slippery step that removes some of the hard earned situational awareness that keeps American drivers on their toes, and off other drivers fenders!

            Look at the French speed bumps, they’re tall enough to need their own Elevation Signs! Freedom loving Americans will NEVER acquiesce to outsized traffic tyranny such as the outsized French bumps!  This rush to be more like Europe will hurt Americans, lower our productivity, and raise our insurance premiums!

            Perhaps I’m a little too sensitive on this subject because of something that happened a couple of weeks ago…I was driving over to the SturgeUrge Compound in the neighboring town. SturgeUrge’s place is on a little private road off a crooked,  major thoroughfare. The main drag is loaded with nearly blind corners, hidden driveways, overhanging shade trees, and speeding, inattentive drivers. SturgeUrge’s power goes off almost monthly when somebody takes out a telephone pole along this road. Stopped traffic in front of his road is common, just a one mile backup from downtown.

            So I was coming downhill and made the left onto SturgeUrge’s road and BAM! I ran over a new ‘curb’ along the major thoroughfare’s shoulder…coulda been trouble for my teeth or tongue…or wheels and tires! This new curb is six inches wide and a good four inches tall!  A triangle shape that really rocked me, and all but impossible to see coming out of a spot of bright sunlight into the shady intersection!

            Urge said he’s already called the City’s Public Works Guy, and they’ve been out and made a few ‘modifications’…yeah…big deal, it’s still a dangerous speed bump making said intersection more dangerous. This modification is not done to the usually specified  Workmanlike Standard of “Best Practices” If these roads were new construction, there’d be a swale on Urge’s road to keep rainwater from running across the main drag…What’s a swale? Think gutter, a nice soft gutter that doesn’t knock your fillings out!

            Get this! As the situation has been playing out, Urge found out that the City got some Federal Stimulus Money that they wanted to use to put in a roundabout somewhere that it isn’t needed downtown. Wiser heads prevailed and the roundabout was nixed, freeing up the cash for a myriad of little street “improvements”

            I had a bad feeling that these “Traffic Nanny” roundabouts have become a chic status symbol for the Municipality Set…I can’t wait to see “Chapter Three” of the Swale Saga unfold…

1 comment:

  1. Au contraire mon ami! What does one call the "roundabouts" in Truckee? May not be "speed bumps" but they sure have fouled up traffic big time. Damn Easterners!