Little rhyme nor reason

A Little Perspective by Pat Kelly, as in the June 23 Boundary Creek Times.

The winding roads in the Boundary make way more sense to me than what they have going on down here in Oregon. Up home the roads will take a jog to the left or right at times, but it is usually because there is a hill in the way or the road has to aim for the next bridge across the Kettle River.

There seems little rhyme nor reason to how things were laid out down here. I read somewhere that Medford started as a railroad centre for the area. The result is that a quiet drive through a residential neighbourhood today can run you smack dab into the wall of a warehouse.

The main thoroughfare through the downtown is actually two one-way streets—one for northbound and one for southbound. Planners decided that the city needed three lanes going each way through the core. But down on the south end of town the main road leading into town is only two lanes wide. Rather than just tacking another lane on to the left or right side of the road they added half a lane to each side. So you need to jog sideways a bit in order to stay in your traffic lane. Better pay attention or you will get to meet the driver of the car in the next lane.

I didn’t grow up in Medford, but we had lots of family living here. I recall one intersection on the north end of town they called the Y. It came complete with what passed in the late ‘50s a shopping centre. I thought this Y-intersection quite something because I grew up in with only 250 people where we didn’t hardly have any intersections at all let alone a shopping centre. If you wanted to buy veggies or dry goods you went to Bolds’ General Store; if you wanted meat you went across the street to Bolds’ Butcher Shop.

Left turn lanes in Medford are challenging too. There are some intersections that provide two lanes to those turning left. Nothing wrong with that I guess—but one intersection where the traffic approaching the intersection from the opposite direction has only one left turn lane. The traffic lights that control this intersection give the green light to both north and southbound left-lane turners at the same time.

The first time I ever hung a left at this corner I was going in the direction with only one lane for the turn. Quite a shock to see all these other cars coming at me as I pulled into the middle of the intersection.

I-5 freeway runs through town and the on-ramps must have an especially demented group of planners. The interchange that takes the prize is just south of Medford in Phoenix. The planners on this project got really creative because the traffic lanes weave left and right on each side of the overpass and all of a sudden you find yourself driving on the wrong side of the road. It is called a Diverging Diamond Drive. They claim it takes less land to do it this way. But I think the operative word here is claim— as in insurance claim.

***

Congratulations are in order. A big shout out to the 2016 graduating class at BCSS. Wishing much success and happiness to you all! I offer this toast. It starts off a little weird so bear with me, “May you be buried in a casket that was made from the wood of an oak tree that was planted yesterday.”

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Take care of someone who loves you….

 

 

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