is divided in two by a river and a freeway, and there are very few crosstown thoroughfares that cross both the river and the freeway. One such street, Washington, also has an off ramp for the freeway and connects residential areas with large shopping centers. This leads to quite a bit of traffic.
On the 22nd of September, I volunteered for the Petaluma Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee to help with their counts of pedestrians and bicycle riders at various location around town. My location for the count was Washington street at the Northbound freeway offramp
from 4PM to 6PM.
In between tallying cyclist and pedestrian counts, I watched people in cars and I made a few observations.
- Driving is not fun; no one was smiling except for the people that knew me and waved to me
- No one cares about the hands free cell phone law. In the two hours that I was at the intersection, I must have seen at least 20 people flapping their gums with a phone at their ear.
- Surprisingly, a lot of people listen to iPods while driving; damn those lawbreakers with their white earbuds.
- little kids stare at sideburns. Sideburns put the awe in awesome.
- 90% of the cars that passed me had a single occupant.
- Next time, I need to take a camera with me. Hidden within the monotony of cars is a uniqueness that needs to be captured.
The sheer number of vehicles that passed me, in contrast to the slim number of pedestrians and cyclists, left me agog. At the quite slow pace of 9 miles/hour, one could travel 4 miles in 26 minutes and 40 seconds. This means that by bicycle, any point in Petaluma can be reached within a half-hour from any other point in Petaluma.
Life is too short to not
waste time riding somewhere.
Now stop reading and go pedal somewhere.