Sign 1: RM2222, Airport Blvd, and I-35 NB
US 290 becomes RM2222 at I-35. The first sign you’ll see tells you what lane you want to be in. This is far more descriptive than most of the road signs in Austin already, but the logic is still flawed. Go up a little and the I-35 northbound ramp branches off, but that particular lane continues. The next sign comes up.
Sign 2: Airport Blvd
Oh snap! If you were in the middle lane and you weren’t paying attention, you would have missed your exit. The middle lane was clearly not an “Exit Only” lane. The left two lanes actually continue to RM2222 which after the interchange becomes a 4-lane city street called Koenig (pronounced KAY-nig) Lane. If you missed the Airport Blvd exit, you will have a helluva time getting back unless you pull a U-Turn when the road becomes undivided. An overhead view shows that there is a rail line that runs parallel to Airport Blvd and there’s no way to cross it until you get to a major street. Good job, guys!
MoPac and 35th Street
MoPac and 35th Street is one of my favorite intersections in town only because it has hella tight cloverleaf on and off ramps which makes it interesting to fly around. It also has a feeder road that starts and ends as an on and off ramp as well. It seems some people don’t understand that if you’re getting onto the feeder road from 35th street, you need to yield to those getting off MoPac. TxDot has added flashing yield signs to get the point across even farther. Seriously, if you’re getting onto the freeway, get up to speed and don’t block the ones getting off! The other day some lady in a Chrysler 300 tried to race me towards the end of the dual-lane part of the feeder road. I had the right-of-way since I was getting off MoPac and trying to get onto the cloverleaf. I managed to make my move with barely any room to spare and entered the off-ramp a bit faster than I wanted since stability control kicked in to save my ass. I hate people.
There’s nothing more satisfying than a perfectly timed, rev-matched down-shift. That feeling of approaching the top of the hill with a stale green light not knowing when it’ll change to yellow just gets the adrenaline pumping. Once you’ve past the point of no return and know you can make it before the light changes, your heart bursts with emotion for the next trick. Clutch in… downshift… tap gas… clutch out… and BAM it’s perfect. Accelerate through the left turn and upshift out of the intersection. The smile shows itself as the others wish they could be as awesome as you.
Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs
Blocking up the scenery, breaking up my mind
Do this don’t do that can’t you read the sign?
The other day I was heading back to work and I came across a dude in a Jeep. He was doing 40 MPH in the left lane on a 60 MPH highway. I was coming up behind him doing the speed limit. So I slow down to 40 too because I don’t want to overtake him on the right since I have to make a left turn into work soon. Well, I see this guy get into the left turn lane and I’m thinking he’s going to make a left into the car repair shop next door to my work since he got into the center turn lane real early. So I don’t bother speeding up because I’m going to make a left turn. Well, apparently this guy is turning into the same parking lot as my work so I couldn’t get into the left turn lane. If you’re going to make a left turn, get into the turn lane at the appropriate time! I can’t anticipate that you’re going to overshoot a valid left to make a left farther up the road! Get your brakes checked if you can’t slow down fast enough!
I can't be bothered to read signs!
So two-way frontage roads may look OK on paper, but I can see this as an accident waiting to happen. I’m surprised the average driver is able to handle this since it relies too much on reading the sign and being aware of one’s surroundings. The person leaving the highway may not realize they are entering a two-way street, and the person on the frontage road may miss the yield sign or gamble with trying to make it through the intersection. It is almost like a legalized version of chicken.
Terrible parking spot
The parking situation at work is terrible. The lines for the parking spaces are so faded that you’d need a UV spectrometer to find the parking spaces. Coupled with no assigned parking spaces, the parking situation is a free-for-all. The only way to know that there are parking spaces are the cement blocks for the parking stall. The cement blocks are just as wide as a car, but not much wider. Since the blocks are the only metric for figuring out where to park, it just becomes a parking lot full of terrible parking.
Lately there has been a Ford Exploder parked at the end of the line of spaces in front of the building. It is a terrible parking spot for an SUV because traffic is coming up the aisle to make a 90 degree turn at the point where the SUV is parked. Since traffic is two-way in the lot, if I’m coming up to make a right turn into the aisle, I cannot see around this SUV. One time I was rushing back to work after lunch and I came up to make a turn into the parking aisle and this minivan was coming up the aisle at the same time. We could not see each other and I ended up slamming my brakes and locking all four wheels into a skid due to the loose asphalt. I came to a stop within inches of hitting this van.
SUVs should have their own parking area like compact cars so not to annoy regular car drivers. As if it’s not enough they block the view when backing out of a parking spot, but also when navigating around the parking lot. Banish the SUVs to the dark side of the lot!