Last week, I saw a couple of people loitering around Malfunction Junction, where Florida Road turns into East Third Avenue. They were just sitting and watching the intersection and jotting a few notes in a pad of paper. Who are these people and what are they watching? Wary of Strangers
The streetside sleuths are your neighbors, and they were watching you and not just at Florida and East Third. Snoops were skulking at eight other locations.
Theyre spies, confirmed a top-secret source at City Hall, whose initials are Amber Blake, who operates under the code name City of Durangos Multi-Modal Coordinator.
Yup. They are secret agents. Only they must have flunked the CIA exam, because everyone saw them, Blake laughed.
OK, so this wasnt a covert operation. Blake said the city was just doing its biennial census of pedestrians and bicycle riders.
Over a period of three days last week, 54 volunteers counted walkers and cyclists between 7 and 9 a.m. and from 4 to 6 p.m.
In addition to Florida-East Third location, counters were watching Eighth Street and College Drive, 22nd Street and Camino del Rio, East Animas Road and Florida Road, 32nd and Main Avenue, U.S. Highway 160 and Three Springs, Camino del Rio and 9th Street, 15th Street and East Second Avenue and West Third and West Park Avenues.
The walker-biker numbers are put into a database to show statistically how people get around Durango. In particular, the city wants to see how capital improvement projects, such as Florida Road reconstruction, have changed nonvehicle travel behavior or travel patterns.
What did observers see at Florida Road and East Third Avenue? On a rainy Thursday evening, Action Line stopped to visit the soggy volunteer there. Lo and behold, it was our friend Victor Locke.
So, Victor, youre a spy?
Would an undercover operative be wearing a brightly colored raincoat sitting next to a busy intersection? he said.
Good point. But did you witness any suspicious activity? I asked.
Just a lot of bad drivers, Victor said. Oh, and there were several unmarked black helicopters in whisper mode flying up the valley, but thats normal these days, he deadpanned.
I dont know if morons read your column, but just in case they do, could you please explain a road sign to them? On U.S. Highway 550 north past the Iron Horse Inn, the northbound lanes go from two lanes to one. The big sign shows the right lane ending, merging with the left lane. Therefore, if a car is in the right lane, shouldnt the driver courteously merge into the left lane, and not flip off other drivers, lay on the horn or otherwise be a jerk? Signed, Not My Real Name
People who read Action Line are discerning, courteous residents with exceptional personal deportment.
Those who dont arent necessarily morons. Misguided, certainly. Uninformed, likely. Foolish, perhaps. But theres little correlation between reading Action Line and driving like a moron.
Be that as it may, Action Line asked the Colorado State Patrol. They are the experts on this issue.
Were talking expertise on highway signs, by the way, and not moron drivers, although troopers encounter more than their fair share on a daily basis.
If the highway sign shows the left lane continuing and the right lane going into that lane, then it means the drivers on the right need to signal and prepare to merge, confirmed Capt. Martin Petrik of the State Patrol.
So there you have it: The right yields to the left.
Which is not surprising, considering how many people on the right complain how Durango is so leftist. First our politics, then our roads all left-leaning.
Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 80301. You can request anonymity if you smile and wave to guy in the next lane regardless of his driving abilities or lack thereof.