Leslie Perkins: Show courtesy
May 19, 2010
Road construction stinks. We all know it. I have been taken aback, however, by the attitude people have had toward it. Recently, I have come back to Steamboat to visit my family and childhood home. I was born and raised here and moved to another mountain town, Durango, about four years ago. Steamboat is not the same town that I used to love to call home.
People have grown bitter and rude. I remember when people would give you the right of way (as the law tells them to) with a grin and a wave. That is one of the reasons I decided to stay in my home state, the courtesy I always felt from others. I still feel this courtesy in Durango, where if I approach a crosswalk, cars stop to let me walk. In fact, I have noticed that this happens in all the other mountain towns I have visited, from Breckenridge to Aspen to Telluride. Steamboat is the only one where this courtesy seems to have disappeared.
I have been making an extra effort here, as well, to use designated crosswalks and watch for traffic due to the current circumstances. I have not felt that reciprocated, though. I think that it is even more important, however, to be extra cautious and extra courteous with all the construction that is going on downtown.
Walking downtown at Third Street and Lincoln Avenue, the intersection was congested. According to the walkway sign on the light post, I had the right of way. Nonetheless, the intersection was congested so traffic wasn't really moving anyway. A driver, however, felt that he needed to take up the extra 2 feet of the crosswalk instead of giving me my legal right of way, even though he wasn't going to get any farther with those 2 feet. On top of it, he thought it was appropriate to yell at me for crossing the street. Last time I checked, using my own two feet as a form of transportation was still acceptable, if not more desirable.
That wasn't the only incident I've experienced since I've been back here. At a light downtown I saw a truck take a quick left turn with no left-turn arrow right of way, almost hitting my friend and I in the crosswalk and the oncoming traffic. I know that the road construction is an inconvenience, but I don't think it is an excuse to drive more aggressively. If anything, your aggressive driving is going to cause an accident and delay traffic even more.
We all live in Colorado; we should know that this is what happens during the mud seasons and summer. Also, it's Steamboat. The town isn't that large. If you don't want to deal with traffic, get off your rear and ride your bike down the Yampa River Core Trail. It'll take you about the same amount of time to get anywhere you would in your car. Plus, you'll be getting some exercise. If you do continue to drive, however, remember that your aggressive driving is hazardous. Plus, in times like these, it's courtesy that will get us through much more smoothly.