NO FREE PARKING – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Parking

There is no free parking in Boston. There is no free parking in New York either. I don’t know about the rest of the big cities, but I’m betting it’s pretty much the same. Assuming you can push your way through the traffic and actually get to the city … what do you do next?

Alley behind the Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston

Weaving through Boston traffic on any given day can be a traumatic experience. Cars and trucks pop out of side streets, apparently without so much as a glance for possible other traffic. If you can find a parking place (good luck with that), it will either cost you a fortune … or pretty much the same amount for a parking ticket.

I have stood there, calculating which is going to cost more — the ticket or a legal spot. The legal spot is usually not only more expensive, but it’s much less convenient than parking wherever you happen to be.

My first car experience in Boston traffic was waiting at a light and getting hit by a car leaving a parking space. I got hit by a parked car standing still. At a light. Welcome to Massachusetts.

How about the people leaving illegally parked cars and stand there with their doors open, waiting for you to knock it off the frame?

I do not know if all cities are as bad as Boston, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they are. Of course, now people lurch wildly through streets talking on the phone. Blind and deaf to traffic, at the very least can’t we ban cell phones in cars? AND while walking on the street?

Walkers who have parked are the terror of the roads.

Considering how often we stand at an intersection waiting for the driver in front of us to get off the phone and drive, it’s hard to tell who is parked and who isn’t.

Out here, in the country, the roads aren’t as packed with traffic as they are in town. You can generally find a place to park — at least in the village. Out in the country, it’s perfectly legal — but the odds are very good that someone — texting or talking — is going to come around a curb and whack your car.

Remember TV shows where the cop or private detective could park anywhere? There was always a spot for him, even in the middle of Manhattan or Los Angeles. I want to see more realistic shows where the guy misses his appointment because the IS no parking. And he doesn’t have $120 for two hours of downtown parking.

SO MANY PEDESTRIANS – SO LITTLE TIME – Marilyn Armstrong

Garry had a bumper sticker on his old red Mustang convertible that said: “So many pedestrians, so little time.”

Theater district, before the show

Cruel? Only if you weren’t trying to drive cross-town in Boston where pedestrians pay no attention to signs, crosswalks, or even oncoming trucks and cars. If they feel like crossing the street, they step into the road and ramble casually across.

If you get too close, they pound on your car because traffic regulations don’t have anything to do with them.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

I do not know if all cities are as bad as Boston, but I wouldn’t be surprised to discover they are. In New York, it took them years to figure out ways to control both cars and walkers without fatalities.

Out here, in the country, people are surprisingly polite about people crossing the road. I suppose because there aren’t so many of us helps. The roads aren’t as packed with traffic. It’s safe to slow down.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Nonetheless, traffic will stop and wait for you to cross. After which, they wave to you. Using all five fingers.

SO MANY PEDESTRIANS, SO LITTLE TIME.

PHOTO CHALLENGE: THE PEDESTRIAN

Garry had a bumper sticker on his old red Mustang convertible that said: “So many pedestrians, so little time.”

Night, midtown Boston

Cruel? Only if you weren’t trying to drive cross-town in Boston where pedestrians pay no attention to signs, crosswalks, or even oncoming trucks and cars. If they feel like crossing the street, they step into the road and ramble casually across.

If you get too close, they pound on your car because traffic regulations don’t have anything to do with them.

On the street

I do not know if all cities are as bad as Boston, but I wouldn’t be surprised to discover they are. In New York, it took them years to figure out ways to control both cars and walkers without fatalities.

Out here, in the country, people are surprisingly polite about people crossing the road. I suppose because there aren’t so many of us helps. The roads aren’t as packed with traffic. It’s safe to slow down.

Nonetheless, traffic will stop and wait for you to cross. After which, they wave to you. Using all five fingers.

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2017

SO MANY PEDESTRIANS, SO LITTLE TIME

Weaving through Boston traffic on any given day can be a traumatic experience. Cars and trucks pop out of side streets, apparently without so much as a glance for possible other traffic. Vehicles stop at random to chat with a passing friend, make deliveries, or because it’s a nice day and they feel like soaking up a little ambiance. Right turns are routinely made from the left lane while traffic signs and lights are ignored. It’s common to see a policeman in a marked car drinking coffee and watching sleepily while the chaos swirls about him.

75-CityLife-HP-1

“He who gets to the intersection first has right-of-way” is the real law of the land, and woe to any driver who fails to understand this basic principle. Every once in a while, an unlucky driver gets a ticket for a moving violation, but on the whole — it’s a free-for-all.

What really gets me are the pedestrians. It’s bad enough needing 360 degree vision to watch for other vehicles — and pot holes the size of tank traps — but pedestrians are the worst.

Since most pedestrians also drive, you’d think they’d know better. By adulthood, you figure they’d know not to run out from between parked cars and to look both ways before crossing. Nope. Pedestrians have far more faith in my car’s brakes than I do and appear to have a childlike belief in their own invulnerability

Not long ago, one of the Boston papers made a big deal about punishing motorists for failing to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks. As far as I can see, you can stop at every cross walk without ever encountering a pedestrian. I’ve watched presumably sane adults lurch into traffic in mid-block when they could safely cross by walking a few steps left or right to a cross walk. A motorist who hits a pedestrian is wrong no matter what. The law is clear. Pedestrians have the right of way.

Phooey I say! Time to rethink this whole issue. Let’s give pedestrians the boot! That’s right. Let’s pass some anti-jaywalking laws with teeth. Jaywalkers will be ticketed. The city will reap a bonanza like they do from parking tickets already. But how, you cry, could the city enforce the laws and make perpetrators pay? After all, if it weren’t for having to register cars, no one would pay parking tickets either.

Here’s my plan. The first two offenses are just regular tickets. Like parking tickets. Orange. Self-addressed. Insert your check, and stick a stamp on the cover and forget it. But on the third offense, a quick computer check flashes the message: Chronic Hard Core Jay Walker.

Out comes the boot, modified for a human foot. In male and female models. Attached at the ankle, the perp must now drag this 10 pound sucker for the next 6 hours. Removal requires payment of a hefty fine, and of course, can only be done by the appropriate city official.

That’ll slow’em down.

In my mind’s eye, I see a rapid changeover from arrogant, heedless pedestrians, to careful, mannerly walkers who use crosswalks, wait for lights to change, and don’t dash out into the street without looking. I see a new day dawning, when all I need fear are cars, trucks, motorcycles, and bicycles coming at me from all directions — but no pedestrians.

It brings tears to my eyes. It really does.