Culture Fail: 2nd St. Circus… bipeds, tires, tunnel vision, oh my!

You know you’re in a great place when you’re hard pressed to find things that piss you off. I love you, Corvallis. Still, there is room for improvement, and I think that the community would do well to toss 2nd street on the slab for a minute. It’s no Monroe during the lunch rush, but it still holds a place in my heart as a rising star in travel annoyance.

culture fail 2ndThat’s right folks, the Disneyland of downtown, 2nd Street is home to many of our favorite establishments, as well as parking oft used to get to the riverfront. As Bubsy of Nintendo fame once said, “What could possibly go wrong?” Well, I’ll tell you: drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. They go wrong. Some more than others (pedestrians, I hate you most), but let’s not get caught up on the details.

From the motorized point of view, it truly seems that at least 40 to 50 percent of the bipeds—and to a smaller degree cyclists—ignore the crossing lights, and sometimes the crosswalks altogether. In their defense, some of them look first, but still. Those damn lighty-county things are there for a reason. Perhaps not the least of which is to keep bits and pieces of you out of the grills of out-of-towners who don’t realize they must enter bullet-time while driving downtown. Yes, we all know that sometimes you just “gotta” take off in your cutoff shorts and backwards Beavers caps, sorority cheeks flapping in the breeze as you skip-to-my-lou from a great show at Squirrel’s over to the Peacock for a round of humiliating yourself on the Family Guy pinball—but that’s no excuse.

To make matters worse, intersections down 2nd look like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise: they’re all different. Drive through without stopping here, but stop there. The reason is obvious, but it has more to do with the flow of traffic than safety, it seems. So when you combine this with the frolicking circus of Corvallisites, it makes for a situation that can be nerve-racking for drivers—which, of course, exacerbates the entire problem. Yes, that was and will be my only real jab at drivers. Word count, folks.

And so I get down on my hands and knees and beg of you: folks, feet or tires, just slow down. While you’re waiting for the light, you can take that time to get to know the person next to you that you just met at Block 15 after your fifth pint. Ask them their favorite color, even if no rat’s hole is to be given. What if it’s green? Why, that’s your favorite color! And in the meantime, why… the walk light also turned green! Not only is it your time to travel forth, but your destiny has found you, my child.

By Johnny Beaver