Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Royal York Roadblocks

Is everyone familiar with Royal York Road in London, Ontario? Good. A disquieting change has taken place on the quiet suburban street just north of Oxford. Two large, grand-piano shaped portions of grassy curb have been extended into the road itself, one at the corner of Royal York and Hunt Club in front of the park, and the other at the intersection of Royal York and Manchester. These curbs jut out like Bill Cowher's jaw and literally take up the entire lane, forcing traffic to narrow into one lane for a span of about seven feet. I noticed these obstructions as I was driving home from the movies late last night, so there was no opposite traffic to have to negotiate, but man, that just doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to me. As I recall from my days as a professional wheelman (a.k.a. a pizza delivery boy), that street can get rather busy given its position as a connector to a large suburban neighbourhood. I'd imagine it's quite the annoyance to have to deal with during rush hour or something, when everyone is coming home and has to maneuver their cars past a seven-foot-long grassy blob that seems to be there for no obvious reason. Not to mention if a school bus is driving past.

The only possible logic I can apply to these obstructions is that they were put in by the community in an attempt to quiet traffic that might go speeding down the street late at night. If that's the case, then bollocks to that. If anything, the roadblocks will cause more of a hazard --- they're not exactly visible at night, and a careless driver might easily just plow his car right into one. At least those irritating speedbumps* you sometimes see in the suburbs are just bumps, not outright dangers to one's bumper.

Royal York Road, you've made a critical mistake. Only a fool would cut off lanes so abruptly and create such a needless hazard. This will be the keystone issue of my 2010 campaign for London Traffic Layer-Outer (or, whatever the hell the appropriate position is called). I can see my first campaign ad now.....it will be footage of cars being held up at the Royal York obstructions, while 'Frolic' by Michelini plays in the background. A big bold font will flash up on your screen: ARE UNNECESSARY TRAFFIC-DAMPENERS 'CURBING' YOUR ENTHUSIASM FOR DRIVING? Then cut to a scene of me setting fire to the grass on these curbs while a crowd of seniors, children and Bob "Marty Funkhouser/Super Dave Osborne" Einstein cheer wildly. Of course, I might end up being arrested for these fires and thus will be forced to conduct my campaign from jail, but I presume my inevitable election will help get me freed. Or, failing that, I'll just marry the mayor. That seems to be a 'get out of jail free' card in this town anyways. The mayor and I would make a great couple. We have a lot in common, since I'm also not in the slightest bit able to competently run a major city.

* = When the Westmount neighbourhood installed these speedbumps, my friend Matt protested by honking his horn every time he drove over one. Even late at night, when we were leaving my pal Andrew's at 1:30 AM or something. Keeping peace and quiet my ass. Matt, in other news, was the inspiration for Bowie's "Rebel Rebel."

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