May 08, 2004

The Starbucks Stop Sign

There's a Starbucks on La Jolla Boulevard in the Birdrock area of La Jolla. It's situated at a very busy 4-way-stop intersection. "Very busy," that is, during the hours of 4-6pm on weekdays.

There are tables and chairs on the sidewalk outside the store, and from this vantage point, customers have a direct view at the flow of people and vehicles on La Jolla Boulevard.

Problem is, it's not a pleasant experience. Why? Because drivers tend to be very aggressive, often not even stopping for the stop sign. The worst offenders? Bicyclists. I'd say virtually all bicyclists who approach the stop sign never stop at all, in fact most maintain their speed and don't even look to see if there are cars coming. They just whiz on through, as if they're in the middle of the Tour de France or something. It just boggles my mind.

It didn't take long for there to be an accident, a fender-bender, a Miata driven by a woman talking on her cellphone, bumping into the rear of a Honda in front of her.

Both cars pulled off to the side street, the Miata woman continuing to talk on the phone the whole time. This did not amuse the Honda driver, who got out and went to the Miata woman and yelled, "GET OFF YOUR $%&%@ TELEPHONE! YOU JUST HIT MY $!&*# CAR!". The Miata woman eventually got out of her car, but she just kept talking into her phone. They argued for a few minutes, and I suppose exchanged drivers licenses and other information because the two cars were there for about a half hour before leaving.

What was interesting was not only did perhaps a half-dozen Starbucks customers witness the entire accident, but neither driver ever bothered to come over to ask the witnesses for information. I guess the Miata driver admitted fault and there was no need for witnesses. Also interesting was the emergence of miniature digital cameras everywhere. Besides my Treo capturing the thing moments after it happened, at least two other people on the sidewalk whipped out little digital cameras and took pictures.

Welcome to the 21st century.

Meanwhile, cars and bikes continued to whiz right through the intersection, or, stop, and then aggressively enter the intersection even when the right-of-way car was still trying to get through the intersection, causing a chaotic revving-their-engines, ready-to-rumble momentary standoff in the middle of the intersection.

If only the police would just camp out at this intersection between the hours of 4 and 6pm on weekdays, we might end the San Diego city budget problems within a few months. Just think of the windfall from traffic fines.

Which reminds me. You know, come to think of it, ever since the Yum-Yum Donut store burned to the ground, one block from here.... Where are the cops, anyway? Why don't they enforce the traffic laws here?

Posted by brian at May 8, 2004 11:58 AM

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