By BILL PETERSON
From our vantage point at Newstreamz World Headquarters, high above Harper’s Hall, one gains a low-riding bird’s eye view of traffic behavior on the courthouse square in downtown San Marcos.
During the winter, one could pass hours watching drivers turn left from Hopkins Street to North LBJ Drive, never losing wonder at their close calls against on-coming traffic. It’s summer now, of course, we have trees on the square, and that view is mostly obstructed.
But the wonders have doubled, for local drivers in the heat of summer have assumed frightening behaviors that have miraculously, thus far, issued no terrible accidents. But it’s only a matter of time.
About least twice per day, a fellow who spends just a couple hours on our balcony notices death defying acts behind the wheel. It seems that local drivers suddenly have begun to believe that the center lane on northbound LBJ is permissible for left-hand turns onto Hopkins Street. This comes as rather shocking news to drivers in the left-hand lane on LBJ, which is the only legal lane for making that left turn onto Hopkins.
Going on a dozen times in the last three weeks, one casual observer has seen drivers in the LBJ center lane make that left turn onto Hopkins, cutting off the driver in the proper left turn lane. In each case, the driver operating correctly has stopped short of smashing into the center lane cheater, thus sparing that cheater her life. One suspects, though, that it won’t be long before the driver in the correct left turn lane, rightly expecting no interference, will smash into the cheater and forever regret hastening the cheater’s demise despite merely following the traffic laws.
Another cheat of increasing frequency is drivers going east on Hopkins and turning across two lanes of on-coming traffic to seize parking spots angled west on the north side of Hopkins, in front of The Coffee Pot and Harper’s Hall. This practice is rife with peril, as it increases the possibility for rear-end collisions. It’s hard enough to back out of a diagonal parking spot just accounting for the traffic behind you. Now, you have to worry about some slob coming from the other direction and trying to swipe a parking spot that he is not legally entitled to pursue from his position on the road. Because that cheater is concentrating on his ill-gotten parking spot, he’s not attentive to people backing out of the spot right next to it. Again, it’s just a matter of time before we get a rear-end collision.
The summer is uncomfortable, tempers are sure to flair and people are likely to act hastily. But please remember that the traffic laws aren’t merely laws. They regulate expectations for law-abiding drivers.
The person turning left from the LBJ left lane onto Hopkins Street shouldn’t have to anticipate that some muffinhead in the LBJ center lane will try to make an illegal left turn, endangering others of whom she is apparently unaware. The driver backing out of a diagonal spot on the north side of Hopkins Street, slowly inching backwards before finally establishing that there is no traffic behind her, ought to not have to worry about being rear-ended by some jerk trying to slick his way into a parking spot from the other side of the street.
It hasn’t been such a big deal, so far. But when it becomes a big deal, it’s going to become a terribly big deal. So, watch it.Email | Print