by Kirby Lindsay
In December, we considered creative ways to efficiently pass the time while waiting on the Fremont Bridge. Our bascule bridge raises and lowers more than any other drawbridge in Seattle, and often interrupts the flow of traffic.
Yet, just because our feet, bicycle or vehicle get stopped by the bridge, doesn’t mean the time needs to be wasted. After that column appeared, a Fremocentrist reader, and mom, Liz Nordstrand, published an impressive list of additions on Facebook - “knitting, balancing the checkbook, gathering up the soda bottles and other detritus in your car and stuffing them in the fast food bag for later disposal, composing haiku (not really recommended unless you are gifted poetically), wiping off all the surfaces in your car with Lysol wipes, ordering the bills in your wallet by denomination, playing a bridge song on your iPod…”
Truth is the options abound. Yet, a few should always be re-thought…
First of all, don’t leave the motor running. Debate persists about actual damage this may do to the environment, but the cessation of exhaust and noise pollution for a few moments is lovely to those who surround you. Shut it off.
The quiet allows for easier conversation among drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, but watch your topic. As opportune as it might appear, this is not the time to voice opinions about how another driver – by cycle or vehicle – addressed a previous stop light or merge.
Additionally, while waiting, don’t harangue or harass the Bridge Tender (the person manages the controls that
raise/lower the bridge.) Not surprisingly, distracting or angering them will NOT make the bridge move any faster – and could result in police action.
For drowsy drivers, a cat nap can save lives – but pull over into a parking lot. Waiting for the bridge would make an awful opportunity for finding out your alarm clock isn’t accurate or loud enough.
Never, Never, Never
Pedestrians and cyclists can feel free to doze off, if they willingly take the risk of being stepped on or wheeled over. In fact, many more options exist for those on two wheels, or two legs, than those with motors.
For instance, a bridge raising can be ideal for minor adjustments to a bicycle, but absolutely wrong for raising the hood to check radiator fluid levels.
Finally, without too much specificity, avoid doing anything while waiting that belongs behind closed doors. Your car may feel like your castle, but most windows work both ways. Spontaneous make out sessions can be romantic, but not for those watching.
And, as Nordstrand wisely pointed out, “Do not think about your bladder.”
In March 2010, the Washington State Department of Transportation expects to begin work on a safety barrier for the George Washington Memorial Bridge (also known as Aurora). The work may result in lane closures and traffic delays. Hopefully, armed with knowledge effective ways to use the time, a detour through the Center of the Universe across the blue-and-orange bridge might provide an attractive alternative.
- What To Do While Waiting For The Bridge
- by Kirby Lindsay, December 28, 2009
- Hurdles To The Bridge Barrier Cleared For Construction
- by Kirby Lindsay, September 1, 2009
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.