For 30 years now, I’ve been pulling out of the St. Peter’s Catholic Church parking lot, turning right onto Park, then left onto Taylor to head home. I also frequently make the same move at the same intersection heading home from work during the week.
As you are no doubt aware, the part of Taylor to the left of Park (heading west) is one-way — four, later widening to five, lanes all heading down toward the river.
To the right (the east) of Park, Taylor is two-way. If you look at my crude graphic above, you’ll see there’s a concrete divider going off to the right, but none to the left.
For 30 years, I’ve had no trouble. Heading north on Park, I pull up to the intersection and stop, look carefully to my right to make sure no one’s coming and trying to change lanes suddenly leftward where it becomes one-way, and then turning left into the closest lane, the way you’re supposed to do.
And I’ll confess that, having done this perhaps thousands of times without incident — and being reluctant to turn away from the direction I expect other cars to come from — I’d gotten to where I’d start rolling out slowly out into Taylor even as my head was turning in that direction. And for 30 years, this bad habit did not cause any problems.
Until a couple of weeks ago. And then, twice in one week, I had to stomp on the brakes to avoid a head-on collision with a car coming up the hill, the wrong way, in my lane!
Twice in one week! The first time I saw as an anomaly, the second time I’m starting to look upon as a trend. (Once more, Jerry Ratts would say, and we can give it to Lifestyles — if we’re still alive.)
Needless to say, I look very carefully to the left now before letting my vehicle start to roll. I’m a little obsessive about it, now. But one near-collision didn’t fully teach me that, and the second time, the other guy and I had to hit our brakes so hard that smoke came from the other car’s tires.
It scared the bejeebers out of both of us, and he started yelling at me, and I started yelling at him, and then… I shut up, and slowly rolled forward so that our windows were next to each other, rolled down my window — being careful to seem non-threatening — and told him, “This is one-way.”
He started to protest, gesturing toward the concrete median dividing the road behind me, and I said, “Yes, that’s right — it’s two-way behind me. But from here on down to the river, it’s one-way. Really.” He seemed to believe me — at least he didn’t yell any more — and we both went on our ways.
If I’d had more presence of mind, I would have asked him where he was coming from, so I could figure out where the system had failed. Is there a missing one-way sign that had always been there before?
I don’t know. But I’m wondering whether any of y’all have encountered this heart-stopping phenomenon on that stretch of Taylor.
If so, maybe we need to lobby the city to do something…