Jay Cronley: Gridlock is sure sign of progress
BY JAY CRONLEY World Staff Columnist
Sunday, September 23, 2012
9/23/12 at 4:48 AM
It was like the classic bit out of "Midnight Cowboy" where the gimpy Ratso Rizzo yelled at a New York driver who appeared to have been about to run him down, "I'm walking here."
A woman stopped in front of my car.
She wasn't walking there. She was standing there.
I hadn't honked. I had the windows down and had said, "Please go."
A large flatbed truck was backing toward me, its outermost point seeming to be almost overhead.
A second woman saw what was happening and turned and came back and stood beside her friend directly in front of my car.
The first woman said she had the right of way in the pedestrian crosswalk.
The second woman asked what my problem was.
I didn't say that they were walking so slowly that I had become concerned because I had only an eighth of a tank of gas.
The first one, still standing there, said see what happens when you ask somebody who had the right of way to hurry? You lose.
Right of way: Me back up?
You back up.
Crowded street etiquette is clear enough: First vehicle into the only open lane gets to complete its journey - second vehicle yields.
Trucks were everywhere, honking, and also beeping, to notify anybody behind of a reverse movement. Construction workers were everywhere, toting and welding and contemplating. Citizens were everywhere, strolling and sunning and gazing.
Although I had been the first vehicle onto the street reduced to one lane because of wild building activity, the truck coming from the other direction quickly had other vehicles pull in behind it.
Nobody in a car can win a one-lane standoff with five trucks.
So I put it in reverse.
Two pedestrians told me to watch it.
I said that I was backing here.
Progress as promised: Activity like this occurs on a daily basis on the north side of the railroad tracks downtown.
This area is booming with museum construction, with green space construction, with bridge construction, with retail construction, with TV studio construction.
There are more hard hats than ball caps.
The north side of the downtown railroad tracks makes the south side seem sleepy and slightly overlooked.
The new Guthrie Green offers places to sit and have lunch and marvel at the speed of full-throttle progress.
The whole of downtown is suddenly on the verge of feeling vital.
Gridlock that includes pedestrians, now we're getting somewhere.
Original Print Headline: Gridlock is a sure sign of progress