Thursday, July 17, 2008

When traffic patterns attack

I've commented before about the major intersection near the end of my commute. I have to cross the Jones Falls Expressway at the point it ends/begins in downtown Baltimore. This means lots of cars, long back-ups, and dodging tetchy people in a hurry. Up until recently it wasn't too bad. The right turn lane (cars heading my direction waiting to get onto the JFX) starts a couple of blocks back which made it pretty easy for me to take the middle lane and avoid the mess. Then Baltimore DOT in its infinite wisdom decided to wee in my cornflakes.

At some point in the last couple of weeks they switched up the lanes. I suppose in response to complaints about having to sit in the traffic for a long time, I don't really know and I don't care. Before, there was one "left turn only" lane, two "straight only" lanes, and one "right turn only" lane. As I approached the intersection I would slide out from the curb and take the line between the right turn lane and the straight lane, and life was good. Occasionally I would use the right arrow to slide to the median, to make it easier to get across. The new arrangement turned my lane into a straight/right turn lane and has really tweaked my mojo.

Now I have to be super-extra-hyper careful about what the cars to my left are doing, since things like turn indicators are unheard of in Baltimore. The best way to avoid the potential right hooks is to take the lane, but since I try to be courteous to the cars and the intersection is a slight uphill I'm not a huge fan of that. I will give it a few more days and see how many times I have to dodge a hooking. So far it's once out of close to ten trips, and I can deal with that ratio. If it gets much worse, as much as I dislike it, I'll be sliding to the left and taking the lane.

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