Right outside my office window (wave if you pass by; mine’s the window with the lava lamp) they’re putting in exit and entrance ramps for Hammond Drive off Roswell Road.
The project will take 30-something months, so by the time it’s completed, you’ll actually be able to gridlock at Hammond instead of going all the way to Abernathy!
Traffic on the north side is — well, has been — out of control for years. Deep-pocket developers and self-serving politicians said: “Let’s develop all the way to Dahlonega, and out toward Gainesville, for all those folks driving in toward Atlanta.”
At the time, GA 400 had two lanes north and south. Soon, the 34-minute ride north in the afternoon became 40 minutes, then an hour, and now some are spending two hours each way. That’s crazy!
Remember when there used to be “windows” of driving opportunities? Rush hours were from 7-8:30 a.m. and then 4-6 p.m. Lunchtime didn’t count because you could get around. You could get up on Saturday and go to the hardware store — which I assume everyone does — and it was an easy trip. Not anymore.
Saturday morning now has its own rush hour.
Bottom line is we’re going to be in our cars longer and longer. There’s a fine line between finding that level of comfort and total distraction. It’s boring. When we’re bored we text, call on the cell phone, over-sing those songs on the CD player or pick our collective noses. (You’re not invisible in the car, just in case you didn’t know.)
We also become turf-oriented, which is another way of saying we’re a rude bunch of people in our cars.
Here’s what my latest rage is: Stoplights are longer than ever. We get in the turn lane and wait — and wait. While we’re waiting, we look around, do this and that, and then, optimistically, we bring our attention back to the stoplight as the green arrow lights up.
But many times we don’t bring our attention back. I’ve done it and I’m sure you’ve done it: Sitting there singing “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue” with that look on your face like you’re really belting the song out — that face the drunken guys make during that cool phase of being hammered, about a half-hour before they puke or get thrown out the door.
Anyway, the guy behind you always sees the light first and you get the honk. If you’re lucky, it’s a short honk. But more and more it’s the long “&#*@!*” honk — the one that’s followed by the upside-down fastball sign in your rear view mirror.
Sometimes that’s all it takes for the fight to be on.
Tensions bound to get hotter with the temperature
We get more road-rage calls than ever before, and it’s not even summer yet. This traffic is going to be a train wreck for years to come. What you really have to do is just figure out a way to mellow out, which is unlikely because, well, nobody has every figured out how to do it.
Take time to enjoy the small things in life while traveling in your car, like looking at those “smart cars,” the ones that look like hard-boiled eggs on four wheels. They were quite the rage when gas was four bucks a gallon, but now the poor owners kind of have that look on their face like: “What the %$#&!* was I thinking??!!”
Don’t get mad at those smart cars. They’re cute and you can decorate them for Easter.
There is really nothing else we can do except for learn how to mellow out. The outer perimeter (remember that?) fizzled and there’s only so much land. Even if you planned it, it would take 10 years to see any progress and by then we’re all going to be crazy so it doesn’t matter anyway.
Instead, try to be calm and cool and don’t get so angry so quick. Road rage is an ugly dance partner, folks. Remember, there’s a bunch of us out there on the edge and I don’t want to be the one to make that last push! Be cool.