Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Posts Tagged ‘cars

Gov’t To Suspend Traffic Laws When You Are In A Hurry

leave a comment »

RadarWashington, DC, May 14 – To recognize the necessary exception to traffic regulations, Congress has enacted legislation allowing you, specifically, to disregard laws when obeying them would prevent you from getting to your destination on time.

By a 239-102 margin, the House of Representatives passed the Driving Ordinance Urgent Circumstance Hurrying Exception (DOUCHE) Act, which will allow you to run red lights, ignore stop signs, pass on the right, tailgate, honk in quiet zones, speed past schools, disregard seatbelt and child safety seat laws, make illegal turns, travel the wrong way on one-way streets, block intersections and driveways, and implement lane changes and turns without signaling, if under those circumstances upholding the traffic law in question would cause a potential delay of more than 0.8 seconds. You, after all, are the most important person on the road, and your punctuality trumps everyone else’s safety.

The DOUCHE Act goes into effect on the first day of June, but sooner if you really need it. Potential delays of over 10 seconds will justify the violation of other laws, notably the right-of-way generally granted to pedestrians and emergency vehicles. Regardless of any delay, laws prohibiting the use of mobile devices while driving will no longer apply to you, because what you have to say is so important that other people’s lives take a back seat.

Congress enacted the law after you repeatedly voiced your wish that so many other people not be on the road when you, clearly, have needs that override theirs. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) sponsored the bill, and expressed satisfaction that DOUCHE enjoyed so much bipartisan support.

“This is a milestone in transportation history,” he told reporters after the vote. “It is always gratifying to see common sense win.”

Opposition to the bill came mainly from Tea Party Republicans, who said the measure did not go far enough, as it allowed these exceptions only for you. “As this proposal had too narrow a focus, we could not in good conscience endorse it; instead, Congress should be repealing traffic laws entirely, as they represent government overreach into the lives of private citizens.”

Schumer hopes to follow up with a law that would cancel all littering prohibitions as they apply to you, because you’re actually providing work for the people whose job it is to clean up.

 

More irreverence can be found at PreOccupiedTerritory.

Advertisements

Written by Thag

May 14, 2014 at 2:37 pm

DMV Vows Reforms After Man Emerges In Only 12 Minutes

with 2 comments

Transport logoJerusalem (AP) – A local man went to the local licensing bureau office to obtain a necessary document this morning and succeeded with a minimal wait time and no hassle, casting doubt on the Licensing Authority’s competence as a purveyor of frustration and confronting the Ministry of Transportation with a scandal unseen in severity in more than two decades.

Shortly before noon, Jerusalem resident Daoud Ibn Swid, 38, entered the licensing office in the center of the city to receive a printout of his renewed car registration, which he had not received in the mail. After passing through security and taking a number, Ibn Swid waited approximately 11 minutes before his number was called. Exacerbating the swiftness of the experience was the apparent efficiency of the clerk, who, after asking for ID, called up the pertinent information on her computer terminal and printed out the document, causing Mr. Ibn Swid to spend less than 60 seconds at the counter and encounter no frustration or obstacles.

Normally, says Licensing Authority spokeswoman Byurakra See, visitors to the various bureau offices are expected to spend at least 45 minutes waiting before their number is called. Then procedures mandate that the visitor be shunted to different windows at least twice before even a preliminary resolution of the inquiry can be offered. Following that stage, clerks are directed to ask for documentation that the visitor does not have on hand, such as a passport, an old, expired driver’s license, a birth certificate, a college transcript, or a full credit history printout.

If the visitor has provided all of that documentation, says See, computer network errors or printer malfunctions must disrupt any effort to meet the visitor’s needs. According to See, initial indications point to a large number of previous visitors who despaired more quickly than expected of accomplishing anything and departed, leaving the staff unprepared for Mr. Ibn Swid to appear at a service counter showing no signs of accumulated frustration or anger.

“Our clerks are well trained in identifying and exploiting the most irritating aspect of visiting our facilities, but these unforeseen circumstances meant that they had to confront a calm, even happy, visitor, and our procedures do not cover that unprecedented development.” She assured reporters that the Authority would both amend the procedures to cover any possible recurrences of this scenario and examine existing procedures to determine how it might be prevented in the first place.

Israel Katz

Katz. “I have a canker sore. Thus the facial expression.”

Minister of Transportation Israel Katz also promised a full inquiry, noting that no visitor to the Licensing Authority offices had emerged in less than 15 minutes since 1993. On two consecutive April days that year, an office in the city of Haifa processed more than eighteen people over the course of the five hours it was open, far above the average of seven visitors. That episode, infamously known in Israeli bureaucratic circles as The Efficiency Plague, prompted the development of tighter controls and procedures for the mishandling of visitors, procedures that apparently worked well until today.

Minister Katz said his office would investigate whether any bribery or other inducement was used to prompt the clerk to process Mr. Ibn Swid’s document quickly, but conceded it was unlikely, given the brevity of the time the two spent interacting.

Written by Thag

January 8, 2014 at 2:45 pm

City To Proudly Inaugurate 3 New Deadly Intersections

leave a comment »

Betzalel-BacharJerusalem (AP) – Cutting through the maze of alleys and narrow, one-way streets in the historic neighborhood of Nachlaot is Betzalel Street, where a twice-daily ritual takes place during rush hour as drivers routinely imperil pedestrians by barreling through ill-designed crosswalks. The municipality plans to add at least three more such intersections to the city’s streets in 2014, a mayoral spokesman announced this morning.

As traffic volume exceeds the capacity of Betzalel, cars backed up bumper-to-bumper inch up the road toward the even more congested center of town, and the ambiguous nature of one intersection invites drivers not to notice the red light that would allow pedestrians to cross the street. When they nevertheless assert their prerogative to do so, angry drivers blame their own ignorance, real or feigned, that the big red light up ahead means they must stop.

At the root of the phenomenon, says city engineer Ron Demmover, is the bizarre layout of the intersection. Traffic from Nissim Bacher may only turn right, down Betzalel. Accordingly, instead of being required to stop before Betzalel actually meets Nissim Bachar, drivers heading uphill on Betzalel must stop at the crosswalk just beyond the intersection. Nissim Bachar does not continue across Betzalel, giving the uphill drivers no indication on their right side that they have entered an intersection.

To increase the risk to pedestrians, the city planted a tree right in front of one of the two traffic signals governing the intersection, the one that stands right at the crosswalk. Thus the only signal clearly visible to drivers headed up the street is a traffic light set back about fifteen meters beyond the intersection. “It’s a crazy sight,” says Demmover. “You get cars moving right through the crosswalk on a red light, then stopping four car lengths later, in the middle of nowhere, because, hey, look, a red light.”

To showcase its commitment to endangering pedestrians, the administration of Mayor Nir Barkat issued a press release today in which it expressed its commitment to spreading the design flaws of the Betzalel/Bachar intersection to other parts of the city. “The malicious engineering produced by our elite team of misanthrope bureaucrats will give rise in 2014 to deadly junctions in the neighborhoods of Givat Shaul, Kiryat Moshe, and Kiryat HaYovel,” read the statement, referring to neighborhoods along the western edge of the city. The release also said the city has not capped the number at three, and is open to redesigning intersections in the more central areas of Baka and Talpiot to help bring the specter of being maimed by a ton or so of moving steel to more and more Jerusalem residents.

Not everyone is pleased with the move. Ateret Shulman, whose four-year-old daughter was hit by a car at the intersection in question, laments the investment, noting that her child was hit by a car heading downhill, where the obscured and badly placed signals were irrelevant; the driver had simply ignored a red light. “There’s no need to rearrange entire junctions,” she argues. “Just install traffic lights that aren’t as easy to see, and forget it.” A mayoral spokesman explained that such a move would also risk accidents between vehicles, when the target audience, so to speak, is people on foot.

The measure focuses exclusively on the western section of the city, which houses mostly Jews. The eastern portion, captured by Israel from Jordan in 1967 and annexed, contains mostly Arab non-Jews who, like most of the rest of the world, do not recognize Israel’s claims to that part of Jerusalem. Successive mayoral administrations have had to contend with accusations that they neglect to provide adequate municipal services to Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. In an odd political twist, this initiative, though it focuses only on West Jerusalem, would result in bringing the two sections of the city closer to equality: the municipality has invested little in improving the infrastructure of the Arab neighborhoods, including the maintenance of crosswalks, making every pedestrian venture onto asphalt there a game of Frogger. Now the residents of the western part would find more exposure to the experience.

Written by Thag

January 1, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Traffic Moves At Over 30 MPH On BQE; Scientists Baffled

leave a comment »

Above, the BQE as conceived in 1930 by Robert Moses; below, the BQE last week.

Above, the BQE as conceived in 1930 by Robert Moses; at left, the BQE last week.

BQE traffic 2Brooklyn, August 27 (AP)  – The laws of physics were thought to make it impossible, but this afternoon, vehicles on a stretch of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway were clocked at a full 33 miles per hour.

At approximately 1 p.m., the westbound side of the roadway just beyond the Kosciuszco Bridge had cars and trucks moving at the highest speed ever recorded on a major Brooklyn thoroughfare, let alone the BQE, which was specifically designed by Robert Moses not to allow any vehicle to reach speeds in excess of 30 mph. Eyewitnesses alerted police cruisers, which used radar, to confirm the bystanders’ suspicions: at least one hundred vehicles attained speeds between 30 and 33 miles per hour for nearly eighty feet before again succumbing to congestion, potholes, confusing signage, worn out markings, glare from office tower windows, and a team of semi-trailers specifically tasked with taking up space in order to slow traffic.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” gushed Fishel Horowitz of nearby Boro Park, who travels along that route every weekday on the way to his jewelry store in Midtown Manhattan. “I got one look at the speedometer thingie and said to my carpool mate Moishe, ‘Moishe, you got to see this! Look at this!’ He barely had time to see the needle point past the thirty before we hit traffic again, but there it was, plain as day.”

Police spokesman Crowne Victoria told reporters that several officers had recorded radar speed readings in excess of the 30-mph plateau, indicating that the witnesses’ reports were correct. “This represents an exciting, and, at the same time, troubling development, a sign that the measures in place to keep the BQE crowded, miserable, and murderously frustrating may not be sufficient,” he said at a news conference.

Enoch Cain, a professor of Urban Planning at Columbia University, echoed police concerns, and added that according to his preliminary calculations, the odds of such an occurrence are longer than those of [New York Yankees third baseman] Alex Rodriguez becoming likable. “Really, we should see the Mets win the World Series six times in a row, starting this year, before we ever see traffic moving like that on the BQE.”

Previously, the highest speed reached by a vehicle on any of the outer borough roadways was a child’s Flexible Flyer sled coasting down an exit ramp of the Grand Central Parkway near Astoria, Queens, just after the blizzard of January 7, 1996. The sled, operated by then-ten-year-old Sumaya Khan, achieved a velocity of 27 miles per hour before encountering the powerful magnets under the road surface that keep cars from accelerating too much, lest their occupants get to their destination in a timely fashion.

Victoria noted that the NYPD has had a fleet of cruisers deployed around the clock just to prevent the expressway from becoming anything other than an unpleasant place to drive. “First of all, it was constructed in Brooklyn and Queens, which should already turn off anyone with a sense of aesthetics, or just plain sense. Add to that the fleets of vehicles specifically devoted to blocking, slowing, and endangering everyone. then you have the fact that it was built inland, not along the water, where there would have been plenty of room. And you have all the constant construction.”

Victoria did note that the continued success of the BQE interdiction policy rests on the population of Brooklyn and Queens remaining as clueless, masochistic, or some combination thereof, as it has always been. “Fortunately, we see no sign of that changing,” he said, pointing to Williamsburg residents who pay obscene amounts for coffee with pretentious names.

Written by Thag

August 28, 2013 at 12:07 am

Mayor Apologizes for Enforcement of Handicapped Parking

leave a comment »

parkingTel Aviv, Israel (AP) – Following an embarrassing episode in which city contractors painted a handicapped-only parking spot around an already-parked car and then had the car towed, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai apologized for the incident, saying that actual enforcement of handicap-only parking should not happen at all, let alone incompetently.

“The types of people who park in handicap spots are exactly the kind of people we want to attract to Tel Aviv,” said Huldai at a press conference. “Those are the real go-getters, the ones who know which rules need breaking in the quest to reach ever higher.”

Huldai promised an investigation of the contractor charged with ignoring parking enforcement. “It is simply unacceptable that in this twenty-first century city, a paradise on the Mediterranean, success-oriented people are made to worry about making space available for society’s leeches. If you have a wheelchair, just stay out of the way,” he said.

Huldai’s administration has faced allegations of insufficiently corrupt selection of the contractors engaged by the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality. Opponents on the city council have charged that the selection process is too transparent, and that cronyism often takes a back seat to effectiveness. They also contend that management of the limited number of parking spaces available in the city focuses too much on ticketing ugly or old cars – leaving late models or sporty vehicles unmolested – and not nearly enough on poor maintenance of roadways in low-income neighborhoods.

Resident Etti Bar-Yaakov, director of the South Tel Aviv Incompetence Network (STAIN), says her coalition of community disorganizers has cobbled together a litany of the current administration’s failings, among them too much attention lavished on stoking racial tensions in the city’s mixed neighborhoods, at the expense of laughably insufficient schools and day-care centers. STAIN holds a weekly demonstration nowhere near City Hall to highlight Huldai’s alleged shortcomings. Most recently, the protests have stressed a series of incidents in which the mayor repeatedly turned down  an offer to provide sexual favors for himself and his staff in exchange for allocating additional funds for the city’s child welfare agencies.

Despite limited success in drawing attention to her cause, Bar-Yaakov remains optimistic that the situation will change. “One day soon, Tel Aviv’s governance will be just as backward and Byzantine as Jerusalem’s,” she predicted.

Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook, where the parking inspectors hang out, swapping stories of the time they ticketed and keyed your car at the same time.

Written by Thag

February 6, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Study: Everyone Else Is a Terrible Driver

with 4 comments

Confirming what you have maintained for more than a century, researchers at the University of Stockholm published their findings yesterday, to the effect that everyone but you is a lousy driver.

In an article in this month’s British Journal of Medicine, the team of scientists laid out their research and results. Covering the driving habits of over one billion people, this is the largest study of its kind in history, and points unequivocally to what you’ve been saying all along: that everyone else is a menace behind the wheel and should be kept off the roads.

The research focused on driving behavior such as going too slow when you are behind them; waiting more than three tenths of a second after a light has turned green to start moving; giving pedestrians the right of way when you are waiting to pass; driving one of those gas-guzzling SUVs like it’s a goddamn tank; and refusing to allow you to merge into their lane.

“It’s always good to be able to quantify things we all know to be true,” said Professor Terne Signull, the study’s lead author. “In this case, we found that everyone else on the road has no idea what he’s doing and should be forced to forfeit his driver’s license, assuming he even has one.”

Pott Hoal, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Texas A&M, who was not involved in the study, praised the research team for the thoroughness of their effort. “Not everyone pursuing scientific quantification of  so-called ‘common knowledge’ will be so meticulous,” wrote Hoal in an e-mail. “Signull’s team didn’t settle for a simple analysis of highway driving, or even of traffic-light behavior, which would be serious undertakings in and of themselves.”

Hoal herself was involved in earlier research into Aperture-Digital-Nasal-Interface-Obscurity, the phenomenon in which even an untinted car window renders anyone outside the car unable to see the driver picking his nose. But she said the scale of the newest study proves convincingly that everyone else out there but you should walk. “The study gives even more weight to the argument that it’s better if everyone else walks or uses public transportation,” she said, noting that the environmental impact of such a phenomenon would do much to ease Global Warming.

One area the study specifically omitted was parking behavior. Hy Beems, a postdoctoral student who collated the data, explained that parking isn’t per se an on-road behavior that should be observed in the same way. “Parallel parking takes place on the road, but its impact on other drivers is indirect.” He cautioned, however, that bad parallel parkers, of which there are many, contribute to an atmosphere of frustration that heightens the effect of bad driving by everyone but you.

Beems said the team was considering a study of parking to complement the driving research. “We have the tools and the people; the question is funding and time,” and if you were in charge, things would get done efficiently around here, but you’re not, and that’s a damn shame.

Please Like Mightier then the Pen on Facebook, and we will not force you to watch video clips of awful parallel parking in progress.

Written by Thag

August 15, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , , ,

Indication No. 624 that You Lack a Soul: “Leverage” as a Verb

with 3 comments

Written by Thag

December 17, 2011 at 11:02 pm