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Friday, September 19, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 56.0° F  Fog/Mist
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North Sherman Avenue Proposal

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?

Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby Ninja » Fri Jan 31, 2014 9:17 pm

fennel wrote:If folks are in intersections against a red light, they should be ticketed. Next time they'll wait until they know they can make it through the intersection before entering.


I agree that they should make better decisions. But they don't.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby Ninja » Fri Jan 31, 2014 9:57 pm

Also FYI to anyone who does travel Sherman regularly - if you follow the city's direction and cross over a solid yellow to pass a stopped bus or a delivery vehicle, and you somehow end up in a car accident during that manuever, you very well could be held liable for all the consequences of that accident without any chance to defend yourself, or mitigate your responsibility, or share responsibilty with the other driver.

It's called negligence per se, and it's what happens when an accident results from a violation of a statute designed to preserve public safety. If the statute is violated and an injury results, that's pretty much case closed. Better hope you don't kill someboy because you'll be on the hook for millions of dollars, and you're not going to be able to sue the city to get any of that back, even though you followed their instruction.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court decided way back in the 1920s that a driver can be found negligent per se for violating a state statute even if the driver was following the direction of a local government. It seems unfair, but you're expected to know state law and ignore local authorities when their advice contradicts that state law.

In this connection we think it our duty to call the attention of highway officials and police officers to the fact that they have no right or authority to divert or direct public travel in a manner contrary to that prescribed by the act of the Legislature. It was apparently indicated to the plaintiff that he should travel in substantially the path he took, but travelers are not warranted or justified in proceding according to the direction of highway officials, police authorities or local municipal bodies, where such directions are contrary to the express provisons of the law, and travelers are afforded no protection because they are thus induced to violate the law. If it is thought best that the rigid rule prescribed by the statute should be varied in particular cases where the facts warrant such variation, then the Legislature should authorize some one to establish lawful departures from the general rule. We find no such authority under the law of this state and none has been cited to our attention.


Day v. Pauly, 202 N.W. 363

Maybe I'm wrong, and it's totally cool under state law to cross a solid yellow to pass a stopped vehicle. But if I'm right, and you get in an accident, you're fucked.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby david cohen » Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:02 pm

Ok City of Madison, plow that damn bike lane so the lone pedaler doesn't have to ride in the traffic lane- which is why you changed the street in the first place!!!!!
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:46 pm

Ninja wrote:Maybe I'm wrong, and it's totally cool under state law to cross a solid yellow to pass a stopped vehicle. But if I'm right, and you get in an accident, you're fucked.


Don't think you are wrong, but I think you are still expected to use common sense and a basic understanding of physics (i.e. two bodies of mass cannot occupy the same space at the same time). Wait till it's clear then go around. Since you are entering into oncoming traffic the right of way will never be yours.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby rabble » Wed Feb 05, 2014 3:42 pm

Francis Di Domizio wrote:
Ninja wrote:Maybe I'm wrong, and it's totally cool under state law to cross a solid yellow to pass a stopped vehicle. But if I'm right, and you get in an accident, you're fucked.


Don't think you are wrong, but I think you are still expected to use common sense and a basic understanding of physics (i.e. two bodies of mass cannot occupy the same space at the same time). Wait till it's clear then go around. Since you are entering into oncoming traffic the right of way will never be yours.

Well, now you're making me remember the bicyclist who got doored and then got a ticket because the law says bikers are supposed to give the cars three feet of clearance even though most bike path lines on the streets don't give the cars that much clearance.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby Ninja » Wed Feb 05, 2014 8:30 pm

Francis Di Domizio wrote:
Ninja wrote:Maybe I'm wrong, and it's totally cool under state law to cross a solid yellow to pass a stopped vehicle. But if I'm right, and you get in an accident, you're fucked.


Don't think you are wrong, but I think you are still expected to use common sense and a basic understanding of physics (i.e. two bodies of mass cannot occupy the same space at the same time). Wait till it's clear then go around. Since you are entering into oncoming traffic the right of way will never be yours.


You're right, but that's the difference between negligence and negligence per se. If you violate a statute, you forfeit your ability to explain yourself and the reasonableness of your actions. And I've seen it happen quite a few times that a driver passing a stopped bus in the turn lane does so in a responsible manner, but some dipshit going in the other direction flies into that same turn lane without signalling and nearly causes a head on collision. Guess who has to pay for that? Not the dipshit, unfortunately.

In other news - how has Sherman been such a disaster at rush hour for the last week? It's never good, but this has been ridiculous. Is it all because they're not plowing the turn lane or is something more going on?
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby david cohen » Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:50 pm

I think Sherman just varies at rush hour. Some days I cruise at 40mph and get home quickly; other days it's a 20 mph slog with every light backed up and moronic drivers asunder....snow doesn't help because the street is now narrower and all it takes is one bicyclist riding in the traffic lane to gum up the works. Alas, Sherman runs at the same pace as the much more crowded Packers, so I just take Sherman as it is a shorter distance. And people turning left out of the through traffic lanes sure as shit doesn't help! It's as if that middle left turn lane just doesn't exist:)
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby Ninja » Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:02 pm

I know there will be people who are skeptical of this story because it fits my narrative so neatly, but I was almost a victim of my worst fears about passing in the TWLTL tonight on my way home from work.

I needed gas and I wanted to stop at Capitol Petroleum on Sherman, because they're nice folks and I think they got kind of screwed over by having such a significant change made to the street just as they were getting established.

So I'm on Sherman, there's a tan compact SUV in front of me, a white compact car in front of him, and a bus in front of the car. The bus was turning right at Roth, between Cap Petro and the Esquire, and the SUV in front of me moved into the center lane. I assumed he was taking a left into the Cafe Belatalia parking lot and failed to use a turn signal, because that's how turning is done here.

Ends up dude wasn't turning at all, he was trying to pass both the bus and the car using the center lane (because how could he be expected to wait an extra 4 seconds for the bus to complete its right?). For some reason he either couldn't proceed past the car and bus in the CTL (my view was blocked by the bus) or he just got into that position and then realized how stupid he was being, but he slowed to a near stop. By this time I was directly next to him, mirrors side by side, and all of a sudden he jerks back over like he's somehow just going to replace me in the traffic lane. I laid on my horn, both to alert him to my existence if that was necessary, and to let him know that I thought he was a dumbfuck.

I don't know if he was so oblivious that he really didn't notice me, or if he was trying to "punish" me with a scare for daring to assume that he was at least a marginally competent driver who was making a left turn, but he literally came within inches of swinging into me before he finally fell back behind me while laying on his horn.

By that time I was already signaling to turn right into the Cap Petro lot, and because bad always gets worse, there was what I assume to be a senior citizen slowly shuffling across the parking lot entrance. Of course dumbfuck again lays on his horn, as if I should run down the old person to save him some time, and at that point I just about lost it and reverted back to old Ninja, but I kept my cool and completed my turn into the lot, only to have him lay on his horn again as he peeled off up Sherman (because he's a punk pussy bitch).

The guy's obviously a moron who shouldn't be driving, but it's also a consequence of bad street design and bad advice from the city. I've seen countless close calls like that but this was the first time I'd been involved in one. And at this point the city knows (or should know) that it's totally wrong about all this, but there's really no mechanism in place to make them fix it.

My buddy and I have each asked the DAs Office to have DA Ozanne request a formal Attorney General's Opinion on the matter, but that was really more designed to embarrass the city into compliance, not to get an answer from DOJ. What would the question even look like? "Remember all those times that you've said locals can't deviate from state traffic law? Did you really mean it? Reeeeaaallly?"

This town is such a zoo.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby snoqueen » Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:25 pm

I don't think you need to blame the street design at all. It's people who can't wait four seconds for a bus to turn. There's no reason we have to design entire streets to accommodate people that arrogant. They'll only find something else to get pushy about. Its an entire lifestyle, not any one single driving decision.

Drive strictly legally, don't lose your cool, and stand your ground. [Insert shit eating grin emoticon here.]
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby minicat » Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:03 am

Yeah, that guy sounds like a jackass who's not paying attention. The best street design in the world isn't gonna make any difference with drivers such as that.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby david cohen » Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:27 pm

'taint the best street design but it is what it is and we gotta live with it...that said, Ninja is right, it's an unpredictable zoo. Between the placement of the pedestrian islands adjacent to bus stops and folks going around the busses in a very tight space due to snow, coupled with the narrow bike lanes due to snow, and people turning left from the thru traffic lanes, and the trains, Sherman is a nightmare. Alas, I drive the entire length 4-6 times daily because Packers is much worse:)
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby Ninja » Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:03 pm

snoqueen wrote:I don't think you need to blame the street design at all. It's people who can't wait four seconds for a bus to turn. There's no reason we have to design entire streets to accommodate people that arrogant. They'll only find something else to get pushy about. Its an entire lifestyle, not any one single driving decision.

Drive strictly legally, don't lose your cool, and stand your ground. [Insert shit eating grin emoticon here.]


I understand what you're saying, but we kind of do need to plan this kind of thing with people who behave badly in mind, because we know full well that they exist, and they'll always exist. They'll always push the envelope, so the envelope has to be set a little further back from the point of danger than we might like if we were purely trying to maximize freedom, or maximize utility, or maximize whatever. At least that's my philosophy, and it extends to self-defense law, which makes your stand your ground reference totally relevant. Full circle.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby Ninja » Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:12 pm

minicat wrote:Yeah, that guy sounds like a jackass who's not paying attention. The best street design in the world isn't gonna make any difference with drivers such as that.


But that's why the state law is written the way it is, because at the very least we can minimize the opportunities that exist for a person like that to do that kind of thing. Actually the very least we could do is not encourage that kind of behavior with bad advice, as has also occurred in this case, but the second least thing we could do is to just design the streets the way the law requires, because the law doesn't just pop up out of nowhere for no reason.

And now that I've totally cooled off, I kind of sympathize with him. Maybe he read the city's advice about passing buses. Maybe the driver of the white car didn't. So SUV guy is getting increasingly frustrated as white car driver refuses to pass the bus leading the way, and white car driver is just trying to follow the law as its written, so finally SUV guy decides he's going to pass both of them as the bus turns, and then there's the median in the TWLTL (which, upon further review, must have been his reason for swinging back into the traffic lane), so he swung back into my lane.

Doesn't explain him acting like a child after I honked at him, but maybe he had a bad day. He may have been trying to do what he thought was the right thing though, and been frustrated by a driver who he thought was wasting his time by following the actual law.

This is why we need consistency. There are just all kinds of reasons to do this the right way, and even based on the city's own argument, they didn't do it the right way.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby Ninja » Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:14 pm

david cohen wrote: Alas, I drive the entire length 4-6 times daily because Packers is much worse:)


I tried to do Packers too, I really did, but I'll take a zoo over a nightmare any day.
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Re: North Sherman Avenue Proposal

Postby Gerth » Fri Mar 21, 2014 11:34 pm

I don't understand why Packers is such a nightmare, please explain. It's certainly no worse than Odana or Mineral Point at rush hour.

I've seen people passing on Sherman in the center lane and they are simply breaking the law. They should be ticketed, not be "taken into consideration" when the laws are made.
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