Life in the City, Part II

Most of my driving is in the City these days. I drive to work. I drive home from work. Occasionally I have errands to run on a break during the day and since I work in the City I'm driving into and out of the City. I use the interstate as little as possible, especially since it's under construction.

I see a lot of different driving patterns and habits. I understand that people learn to drive in different places, have different styles, and perhaps different comfort levels.

That, however, is no excuse for not knowing the rules of the road. No one, not the youngest driver or the oldest driver, should be unaware of the most common expectations when they get behind the wheel.

As I mentioned in my previous post, we've had a lot of power outages lately. That means that a lot of street lights have been out, too. Sadly, many people were unaware that when a street light is out it is treated as a 4-Way stop. Or, perhaps they did know this rule and were unaware of how to negotiate a 4-Way stop. Either way, I was appalled.

Then, just last week, I was treated to one of the worst and most rant-worthy events as I drove down Monument Ave. Richmond's Monument Ave has several traffic circles. Some are true traffic circles and some are faux circles that you really just drive straight across even though there's a bend in the road. Either way, the rules are the same - don't give up the right of way if you are in the circle!!

Last week as I approached the Lee Circle on Monument, I yielded to the traffic in the circle [because a) this is what you do at a traffic circle and b) the world YIELD is painted on the road]. There was a car in the circle and it stopped. The man gestured to me to enter the circle. I shook my head and gestured back. He finally continued, exiting the circle there at the side street and I continued on my way.

What was this guy doing? He gave up the right of way because he wanted to exit the circle and didn't want to cross paths with me in the traffic. Perhaps he didn't trust that I knew how to enter a traffic circle. Perhaps he didn't know how to exit a traffic circle. You know people, if you can't get out of a circle just go around again until it works out. Use your blinkers so people know what you want to do. They are a communication device. I can't read your mind. And, for safety-sake, please don't stop in the circle and cede your right away. It puts us all in danger. It really does.

Just in case my fellow Virginian's want a refresher, here's the DMV manual. Enjoy.

Life in the City

It's been hot as all get out lately here in Richmond and we've lost power several times in the past weeks due to the vicious storms. In some areas of the country, and in the newer suburbs of Richmond, power lines are buried underground and are less susceptible to tree limbs and other storm damage. Sadly, that's not the case in my neighborhood. We have huge trees that the City is in the process of removing as they become dangerously ancient.

One good thing about living in our exact location is that are within walking distance to Carytown. We love the quirky, fun, and eclectic nature of the street and by luck it turns out that we share a power transformer with several dozen restaurants and business. Why is this such a big deal? Here's something that most people don't realize: the tax on prepared food in the City is 11%. I guarantee you that even if the businesses weren't concerned about the spoilage factor the City wants us out there eating and spending so they can get their cut.

So, Dominion Power - which has a location about 4 blocks from my house - usually has our power back up and running pretty quickly. Quickly is relative, of course. It usually means within 12 hours.

Is it fair? Maybe not. Do I like it? You betcha. Will I remember this next time I'm looking at real estate? Oh, Yeah!!

Have you found any unexpected benefits to the location of your house?