Much Ado About Motoring…

Posted by on Jan 27, 2012 in Jacksonville, Travel | No Comments
State Road 9A East on the way to ... where else? ... the Town Center and one of those infamous Apple Store Genius Bar appointments. I was 20 minutes late.

State Road 9A East on the way to … where else? … the Town Center and one of those infamous Apple Store Genius Bar appointments. I was 20 minutes late.

When I drive, I like to complain. Usually about people or things that hinder my progress from Point A to Point B as quickly as humanly possible. Some people obviously are not on my time schedule, or obviously concerned about anyone else’s, as they plod along the roadway in blissful passive-aggression. But this blog entry is not primarily concerned with them, for once (rest assured, they will get a splatter of sweet-smelling karma all over their rubber necks). This entry will instead focus on some of the other obstacles I encounter that must be wiped out immediately.

And for those of you who are worried I’m actually not blogging about some restaurant I visited, and all the grandiose things I tried, rest assured I’ll be posting a new review of Seasons 52’s winter menu here … very, very soon.

So who determines the placement or quantity of manholes or manhole covers on a roadway? Why are some so clustered together, to the point where I can’t avoid them while driving over them? This is especially bothersome on Riverside Avenue, between Memorial Park and King Street in Jacksonville. I now avoid this stretch of asphalt (and its omnipresent metallic “zits”) and favor Oak Street’s relatively clear complexion. Maybe there’s a forum on the JEA website that explains this nonsense… Nah … that’s too much trouble.

Also, when I’m going north (or really “west”) on Interstate 295 (Buckman Bridge) toward Orange Park from Mandarin, I can’t help but notice the overhead sign telling me it’s unlawful to cross the “double white line.” This is presumably so rush-hour commuters don’t cut each other off on the approach to the U.S. 17 exit (nice idea in theory). However … and I’m talking to you, FDOT geniuses … the “double white lines” were modified years ago and now they’re “single white lines.” I remember from my road rules book (yes, when I was as pimply as the roads in my above anecdote) that only the double-white lines are unlawful to cross. So shouldn’t you be taking down those signs, or restriping the roads? This ambiguity will not be tolerated!

I applaud the rollout of new signage along State Road 9A indicating that it is, at long last, interstate-grade and part of Jacksonville’s Interstate Highway System (and the continuous beltway that I’m sure makes folks in Orlando drool with “perfect-circle” and “no-toll” envy). But wait … there’s a problem (why else would I mention it in this blog?). The only updated signs at this writing are clustered near the I-95 junctions. If you get much beyond those on the “East Beltway,” you’ll see those familiar signs for 9A once again, with nary a mention of 295. As a 15-year Jax resident, I get the whole 9A thing. Thank God we don’t get a lot of tourists here. Boy would they get confused fast once the 295 signs evaporate and they’re traveling on mysterious State Road 9A East. Let’s hope the DOT catches up on erecting the new signs systemwide, and GPS makers also follow suit.

Well, I guess there are less advantageous ways to get around than by car. This sorry cycle was found in Manhattan's Little Italy one unfortunate Saturday night in November 2011.

Well, I guess there are less advantageous ways to get around than by car. This sorry cycle was found in Manhattan's Little Italy one unfortunate Saturday night in November 2011.

OK, I can’t resist anymore! Getting back to one of my earlier analogies … rubberneckers. Ugh … these people need lives, and fast. If you revel in viewing the carnage of others’ automotive follies, you are a sorry individual and you need to focus on the task at hand … getting out of my way. Even when an accident is completely cleared of the travel lanes, it’s inevitable that a cadre of capable doofuses—probably the same trolls who are appending their unemployed, curmudgeon vitriol to every story on Jacksonville.com—will muck up your otherwise foolproof plans for making it from Mandarin to the Town Center in 15 minutes (because those “geniuses” at the Apple Store’s Genius Bar don’t like it when you’re late to their appointments). At one point not so long ago, I wondered if deploying opaque tarps around these alluring aftermaths (which ends up being about 90 percent of the traffic snarls) would discourage dawdling. But then I realized, given the state of our not-so-private lives, some drama hounds would probably slow down (or God forbid, get out of their cars) for a sneak peek at the action and some smartphone YouTube postings.

Makes you wonder if those guys selling papers at the intersections would do any better if they gave up the newsprint and started peddling lives. We’ll keep ‘em at 50 cents so as to encourage rapid sales.

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