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SR 16: The ultimate fix is a little Darwinian

Letter by A. Patrick Walsh, Tacoma on Aug. 16, 2011 at 3:38 pm with 29 Comments »
August 16, 2011 3:38 pm


I’ve read with interest and much chagrin the opining of drivers about the eastbound state Route 16 Sprague Avenue exit. The photo accompanying a recent News Tribune article about the exit speaks volumes about “the real problem.” It’s The Skid Marks Stupid! Ironically, it’s doubtful those people leaving the skid marks learned anything from their harrowing experiences.

While I agree with the writer who said that it’s impossible to “moron proof” the exit, his letter stopped short of suggesting “the ultimate fix.”

Those drivers and their ilk who immediately christened the SR 16 exit with their skid marks are probably the same drivers who insist on testing the limits of the newly designed westbound SR 16 exit from I-5. There are no exit speed limit signs, flashing lights, rumble strips, etc. So these same drivers must feel entitled to exit at their hair-raising 65 to 80 mph into the heavy westbound SR 16 traffic. They then terrorize us on Tacoma streets; I regularly witness vehicle speeds reaching 60 mph down North Pearl Street.

I suggest that the state Department of Transportation simply remove three of the marked-up SR 16 jersey barriers and let nature take its course. It would quickly and efficiently thin out the herd and clean out the shallow end of the gene pool of dysfunctional, self-absorbed, texters or cell phone-distracted drivers.

Just think of it: There would be no collateral damage other than to their own vehicles and to themselves. Problem solved through a little discreet social engineering!

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Leave a comment Comments → 29
  1. scott0962 says:

    No collateral damage? I suppose that would be eliminated by posting a “watch for falling vehicles” sign below the highway?

  2. Patrick:

    As a somewhat regular “roadwarrior”, I agree. I can’t tell you the number of times I’m driving the speed limit and I have someone attempting to “date” my rear…uh…bumper.

    Maybe we could try the sobering statement of little crosses on the side of the road where there have been fatalities, also

  3. Great. Then they can take out innocent drivers too. Stupid. Dumb. One minute of my life I’ll never get back that I wasted reading the letter.

  4. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Kard, when you go 40mph in the left lane you are going to get a little encouragement to move back to your proper lane.

  5. theglovesRoff says:

    Don’t forget to add with his left turn signal blinking…..

    ;-)

  6. KARDNOS says:
    August 16, 2011 at 3:57 pm
    Patrick:

    As a somewhat regular “roadwarrior”, I agree. I can’t tell you the number of times I’m driving the speed limit and I have someone attempting to “date” my rear…uh…bumper.

    For the reading impaired….

  7. tree_guy says:

    “It would quickly and efficiently thin out the herd and clean out the shallow end of the gene pool of dysfunctional, self-absorbed, texters or cell phone-distracted drivers.”

    Persumably it would be OK with you if some innocent children riding in these cars met the same fate.

  8. I believe the Sprague Street exit will help immensely in the next election. (Sorry, Obama.)

  9. theglovesRoff says:

    You know you keep that “blinker” on.

  10. LarryFine says:

    I still can’t help but wonder if Brian Ebersole has tried it out yet…

  11. concernedtacoma7 says, “Kard, when you go 40mph in the left lane you are going to get a little encouragement to move back to your proper lane.”

    This is part of the problem I see every day. This goofy berg is awash in people who are bound and determined to “teach someone a lesson”…to “get even”.

    Yeah, so technically, going 40 in the left lane is wrong, how much extra effort would it take just simply go around them…regardless of what lane they are in?

    But nosireesir! You take 10 “drivers” ( i use that term very, very lightly) and 7, possibly 8 of them are going to make sure the entire world knows THEY have been inconvenienced. That they by god are going to get even.

    How often does one hear a blaring car horn in this town? You know, there are only two kinds of horns. One and the most infrequent, is a “hello” to someone you know….however, 99% of the time a car horn is an announcement to the world that someone got really PO’d, because THEY were put off because someone else did something without their okay!

    Quite frankly, and again, I see this every day, all day, our highways are littered in spoiled, me first, little babies in adult bodies.

  12. Omega6234 says:

    Its illegal to just pace in the left lane. Plain and simple. Its a passing lane. If you are in the left lane and not passing someone YOU are in the wrong. Get out of the way.

  13. “Omega6234 says:
    August 17, 2011 at 8:16 am
    Its illegal to just pace in the left lane. Plain and simple. Its a passing lane. If you are in the left lane and not passing someone YOU are in the wrong. Get out of the way. ”

    Who said I drive in the left lane????????????? It is amusing to see how many people buy into Harpo Marx.

  14. Dcr….so what “lesson is being taught” by tailgaiting a car in the far right lane who is driving 60 MPH?

    It happens constantly. Frequently by people driving commercial vehicles, which is my personal favorite. I get the name, number and phone number of the vehicle and call their management and ask if their liability insurance is paid up.

  15. igotdabombfool says:

    “Omega6234 says:
    August 17, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Its illegal to just pace in the left lane. Plain and simple. Its a passing lane. If you are in the left lane and not passing someone YOU are in the wrong. Get out of the way.”

    It is illegal to tailgate and to speed. Seems you don’t have a problem breaking laws that don’t inconvenience you.

  16. Omega6234 says:

    igotdabombfool says:It is illegal to tailgate and to speed. Seems you don’t have a problem breaking laws that don’t inconvenience you.
    Who said anything about breaking laws?? who said anything about speeding or tailgating?

  17. Omega6234 says:

    KARDNOS says:
    Who said I drive in the left lane????????????? It is amusing to see how many people buy into Harpo Marx.

    I didnt say you did. But Dcr628 kind of implied it.

  18. left lane…right lane…wherever. that is my point. it seems everyone takes it upon themselves to be the self appointed expert lesson teacher on our highways. most of course have no more “experience or training” than a few days in the joke of a public school drivers training course, ONE examination in their driving lifetime at at 16, followed by months years, and often decades of squeeking by on luck and bad habits.

    and as is usually the case, if someone IS tailgating, or flipping off, or fussing in whatever way, its because THEY are pure and simply, BREAKING THE LAW since the entire point they are making is that THEY are being impeded when they want to drive 5 to 10 or more MPH over the LIMIT!

    So whats the problem with forgetting it and just moving around them! Ahhh I’ll give a clue as to ONE problem with that!! Every day, in my work truck (which is governed at 60MPH) I encounter several times an hour, someone running 55 or less in the slow lane….Okay thats all fine and dandy, but when I signal and begin to pass, they instantly speed up, preventing me from passing (which by the way IS illegal) like I said, our trucks are governed at 60, we cant go any faster…so while Mr or Ms SuperPacer is playing their game of preventing me from getting ahead, ten cars have now filled up the area behind them, preventing me from giving up and getting back over..add to that the second I put on a turn signal nearly everyone will accelerate to intentionally get in my way, preventing me from getting back over…so there I sit 60mph stuck in the fast lane, surrounded by morons playing games.

    There is my challenge to the rest of you…..By sheer numbers and frequency any one of those two instances is the majority. Admit here, on a public forum that any of you NEVER do that! Haaa!

  19. concernedtacoma7 says:

    KARD admits to breaking the law, slowing people down and not passing in the left lane, just going out for his Sunday cruise while the rest of the world is trying to get somewhere.

    Typical leftist mentality. It is all about me, screw the other guy who is just trying to get to work.

  20. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Also, DCR, is it illegal for commercial vehicles to be in the left lane?

  21. igotdabombfool says:

    “concernedtacoma7 says:
    August 17, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Also, DCR, is it illegal for commercial vehicles to be in the left lane?”

    Any vehicle towing a trailer, or other vehicle or combination over 10,000 pounds,
    may not be driven in the left-hand lane of limited-access roadways that have
    three or more lanes in one direction, excluding HOV (high occupancy vehicle)
    lanes. This includes commercial trucks, recreational vehicles, vehicles towing
    boats, and any car or truck towing a trailer. Commercial vehicles over 10,000
    pounds GVW are prohibited from HOV lanes, even with the minimum number
    of occupants specified on signs.

  22. igotdabombfool says:

    Washington State Commercial Vehicle Guide 2010–2011

  23. olympicmtn says:

    The whole Sprague intersection is a mess.

    Another soon to be major cluster “muck up” from DOT is the 2 merge zones for drivers traveling SB I-5. DOT missed the calculations for how many people travel SB vs. NB everyday I guess. So instead of making added room for those traveling SB to merge once onto Hwy 16, they make us merge twice. Once at Hwy 16 then again at Union onto Hwy 16 westbound. Yet DOT gave an entire ramp entrance for those traveling NB I-5 to go onto Hwy 16 without any double merge zones.

    Who was the hair brain who thought of 2 merge zones for traffic going SB I-5 merging onto Hwy 16 at 38th and then again at Union for westbound traffic?

    Do us a favor and get rid of the Sprague exit before there is a major pileup with all these merges.

  24. @concernedtacoma7…yes it IS illegal for commercial vehicles to be in the left lane…WHEN there are THREE or more lanes moving in one direction, which means on I-5 for instance, anywhere in a built up urban area. Most of I-5 from Canada to Mexico, is a simple 4 lane freeway…two on each side. In that case and on any other highway with only TWO lanes in one direction, it IS perfectly legal for a commercial vehicle to be in the left lane while passing.

    And once again this makes clear the frustration of my earlier post. When I am in my commercial vehicle and someone is cruising along below the limit in the right lane–which is perfectly okay–and I go around to pass them, PLEASE dont speed up and pace me to prevent me from getting by, which traps me out in the left lane–as traffic backs up on the right behind the slow car because MOST people have no clue as to how to “read” the flow–and I end up stuck in the left lane instead of getting around, and out of everyone’s way.

    And while I am at it, what is the stupid idea so many self focused morons have that when I need to make a lane change, either to pass, or get to an exit, that the second they see my turn signal they speed up to intentionally close the gap to prevent me from moving over? Not only is that illegal, but it is foolishly dangerous! I begin a lane change legally, and safely…but when Mr or Ms MoronicIdiotInAHonda decides to block me by speeding up, THEY by their actions have just turned a safe lane change into a dangerous one. Those commercial vehicles do not maneuver quickly like a car, and once I am COMMITTED to the lane change, I am NOT going to whip it back over. Unless of course you want to see a fully loaded gasoline tanker flip in front of you!! — my load moves inside the tank in case no one figured that out….the center of gravity quickly changes in a fast, sudden movement. Sorry I;m not killing myself and scores of others on the freeway because some donkey wants to play stupid games!

  25. As usual we see the complication of a very simple concept by individuals wishing to run their mouth for no reason. The design of these roadways as well as lack of enforcement to move inept, distracted, or simply as_holes out of the left lanes is on purpose. Management by least common denominator. Use those that are self-proclaimed “doing the speed limit I don’t have to move” individuals, those that are operating at near capacity just maneuvering a motor vehicle, or those so self absorbed they don’t realize what a hazard they pose to regulate and maintain speeds on public roadways. Why else would we have a 60 mph speed limit on freeways designed for 80 mph and higher. If Americans had one-tenth the driving savvy of Europeans we would not be having this conversation. The signs clearly state “Slower traffic keep right”, not slower traffic keep right unless traveling the speed limit, and it applies to all lanes in speed descending increments, slowest to far right, etc.. If your in a lane and traffic gains on you move the heck out of the way to the right unless your in the far right lane, very simple concept.

  26. igotdabombfool says:

    It’s not so much the driving savvy of the Europeans that we need. Over there, they don’t give licenses away like candy. You pay and big time. You go through courses state mandatory courses. You earn the crap out of that license. Of course in our state, they come out of gumball machines.

  27. Omega6234 says:

    The last two posts have been the best ever!! Thank you!

  28. Oly asks –

    “Who was the hair brain who thought of 2 merge zones for traffic going SB I-5 merging onto Hwy 16 at 38th and then again at Union for westbound traffic?”

    Paula Hammond…

  29. Igo observes –

    “It’s not so much the driving savvy of the Europeans that we need. Over there, they don’t give licenses away like candy.”

    We not only give drivers’ licenses like candy…..
    Don’t forget about (non-English) voter registration, our road signs are in English, non?

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