Friday, September 16, 2016

Passing Zones

Every now and then the editorial in the Key West Citizen manages to surprise me with its common sense. That used to happen a lot more often, for some reason, when Tom Tuell was at the helm but this week the newspaper managed to come up with a brilliant commentary. It was all about passing zones on US One.
First let me say I was glad to note that I am not the only one who has seen massive amounts of traffic almost year round on the Overseas Highway. That's was good to see mentioned. Clearly tourism is a ten month a year phenomenon these days -lucky us! but gentrification and spiraling house  prices have pushed more and more workers out to the "suburban islands" creating much heavier commutes to and from Key West every weekday. I notice much much heavier traffic coming to Key West at six in the morning nowadays. 
The newspaper also did a good job of pointing out that Highway One is a shared route and the only way for everyone to get around between the various islands. This situation leads to people who need to get places  being blocked by visitors with no urgent hurry to get anywhere at all. I find it ironic that some people's idea of "island time" is slow time when you are on vacation. My idea of "island time" is do your own thing and don't get in anyone's way while you do it. 
I do believe the newspaper's editorial board agrees with me on this one because they are suggesting the state get off their backsides and look for places suitable for turn outs so slower traffic can get out of the way of people rushing about to provide services to the slow poke visitors...Good job Citizen. Furthermore the newspaper is calling on the Florida department of transportation to increase the number of passing zones instead of cutting them back as they have been busy doing. I never thought I'd see the day where a sensible newspaper would put out such a call for change!
I was going to take a few pictures of the precise places where the state has painted over passing zones in recent memory and they haven't done us any favors. I stick to my own rule of not crossing solid lines but I see people who pass wildly, and frankly I don't blame them. There again there are lots of drivers who engage in what I call "poor man's passing" which is actually tailgating in effort to get the day dreamer to get a move on. Frankly that seems a lot riskier than allowing more passing on more open stretches of highway.  
I hope someone who can make changes reads the Citizen's editorial and understands it's not an April Fool's story. This winter the lines will be endless and passing will be difficult because of that but I wish they'd give us a better chance of getting where we are going and on time. Change in this case would be a great thing.
Overseas Highway, Florida Keys
And maybe I will take a few pictures of places where passing zones make sense around the Lower Keys, and also places where they have inexplicably been removed. And there is tons of room for properly signposted pull outs. That would be fabulous. Well done The Citizen.

1 comment:

Cees Klumper said...

I live in Europe where passing is more the norm. When driving US1 I have noticed a couple of things, first that even though I always drive the speed limit plus maybe 4-5 miles faster, there are invariably people who come up from behind real quick, will tailgate until they decide to pass as they realize I am not going to be wildly speeding together with them, in a passing zone or not, and then proceed at what must be at least 15 miles over the speed limit. I feel some pressure to do as they do, because I don't want to be in anyoneäs way, but I also don't want to lose my license to one of the many cops I've seen pulling people over on that same US1 for exactly that. Second thing I have noticed is that some of those same speeders will NOT pass in a passing zone, even where it is perfectly safe to, and will linger on close behind me for miles. In Europe those same types of speeders would have not wasted a second.
And I agree there are lots more stretches where it would be perfectly safe to pass but it's not allowed.