The Safest City to Drive?

A few days ago I ran into the only person in the KELO building that is willing to break the rules and speak to me in a friendly, non-threatening manner. Instead of his usual jovial self, though, he was clearly in a pissed-off mood.
“I got something for you to kick out of town,” he spat at me. “The fucking awful way people drive in this town. No wonder we’re rated as the number one safest city to drive – everybody drives fifteen miles under the speed limit.”
To make matters worse, his problems with local drivers actually affected my day. You see, we share the same wonderful hair stylist, the divine Ms. Lori, and the slow pace of the road caused him to be ten minutes late for his appointment. Since my haircut was right after his, this obviously meant that I was now ten minutes or so behind my day’s schedule.
I told him that I had addressed this issue before, but after my experiences the past few days I decided that it was worthy of another look. Before we get to this, however, let’s talk about this silly “rating”.
While everybody in the media and local government were smiling over this “award” (and I’m sure city leaders are already preparing signs for placement all over the city limits), it’s sort of a misleading statistic. Did these same press-release news stories also include the fact that we are the only city of our size in the nation that has no sort of cross-town highway system?
Of course not, and that’s the major flaw. With few high-speed sections of pavement, it seems pretty obvious that the vast majority of accidents in the area would be minor fender-benders. There are also very few curvy roads, and only a couple of bridges. You have to be doing something extremely stupid to be involved in a serious accident in this city.
I actually thank the Lord, however, that we don’t have many highways, bridges, or non-straight streets. Nor for my convenience, though, as I would give away my next-born child-that-I’ll-never-have for a highway that would get from the east side to the west side in less than a half hour. But I’m the type of guy who thinks of the betterment of the entire community.
No, this town has enough trouble driving as it is. Besides their obvious fear of the gas pedal, our residents just don’t understand the concepts of merging, turning, red lights, yellow lights, stop signs, turn lanes, construction areas, parking lots, parking spaces, 41st Street, 12th Street, Minnesota Avenue, Phillips to the Falls, the Post Office, City Hall, County Courthouse, Wal-Mart, Hy-Vee, Best Buy, etc. etc. Yet somehow these cretins believe they can multi-task and talk on their cell phone while they’re slowly weaving in and out of their lane.
Not that the city helps us out. They’re too busy coming up with the worst places to place traffic signals. Why was the First Lutheran Church light reactivated? Why do they keep erecting these stupid extended green systems that favor the lanes that have the least traffic? Why aren’t the downtown lights flashing yellow and red on Sundays? Somebody please also tell me why seemingly every McDonalds in town has their own personal light.
Along with the light systems, the city and state certainly enjoys creating confusing and overlapping construction projects. Why not have multiple projects on major streets that are close to each other? Hell, why not have major construction on separate sections on the same road? It’s always cool to force six lanes of traffic to move to a narrow two lane road that few people knew even existed…somebody in the Planning Department must get a serious woody at the thought of making life miserable for all of us.
My KELO buddy is right – driving in this silly city is a pain in the ass. As comedian Jim Norton is famous for saying, “it stinks and I don’t like it”.


Anonymous said…
you stay outta my hood hudson. i saw you driving there today.
Anonymous said…
I hate the traffic lights in the city. Talk about inefficient. And those crazy Iowa drivers ...
Anonymous said…
How ironic-

The day after I read this story I was driving home from work. I was trapped on a 4 lane road, which happens a lot, you know, the two people in front are doing the same speed limit, which was 20 mph, on a road that is clearly marked 35, it's like they think they are parade leaders or something? So I'm following this guy in a really ugly blue 90's TransAm convertible, and I think, great, grandpa with his white-grayish hair crusing down the street in his silky Hawaiian shirt. After a mile of this I finally was able to get along side of him, in my normal fashion, I was going to wait to get next to them at a red light, and just give my stare of disgust, well guess who this little old man was?! De Knudson!!! Go figure!
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
Maybe the city operated Citi link channel could do a segment - cruising with Knudson.
Tom J said…
I've had my share of driving in jersey and new york. And while the big city folk out there on the east coast take a preternatural pleasure in their driving ability, they aren't all that good.

Most of the folks born and raised in the city and in jersey don't touch a steering wheel alone until some time after age 16 or 17 and do so without parental supervision. Mix that with the hills and curves of jersey and there are hundreds of people of all ages going 25 in a 35.

sioux falls drivers are pretty decent by my standards.

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