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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Tucson Driving: Dante’s real inner circle of hell

The city of Tucson is known for being one of the most bicycle-friendly places in the United States, but couldn’t it be a little more car-friendly? Driving around a place this small should be a breeze, but instead one can equate it to an inner circle of hell. With bruised tires from endless potholes and my patience completely gone, it’s time to rant.

Perhaps the most annoying thing about driving around this city is the plethora of pedestrian crosswalks. Of course people should be able to cross the street safely, but is it too much to ask them to go to the next intersection? Does bumper-to-bumper traffic really need to be delayed because you need to cross the street during your morning jog? Traffic shouldn’t be forced to stop simply because a person pushes a button. The city is already pretty congested and commuters don’t need an additional red light. City leaders, how about a compromise: Disable the crosswalks during rush hour.

Besides the crosswalks, what makes Tucson a terrible place to drive in is the drivers themselves. Is driving school different here than everywhere else? It’s impossible to count the number of times I’ve come across people going below the speed limit in the left lane. It’s my personal opinion that nobody should ever drive below the speed limit, but if the roads scare you that much, please stay out of the left lane. For the most part, you’re allowed to go at least five mph above the speed limit, so why won’t you take advantage of it? Do you take pride in slowing everybody else down? Also, when you change lanes, please don’t take all decade to do so. You know when you have to turn, so prepare for it and do it without causing everyone behind you to brake.

The enemy of all commuters is the evil Sun Tran. As an environmentalist, I like the idea of public transportation, as fewer cars means less pollution. However, the Sun Tran makes traveling in the right lane almost impossible. It’s bad enough only having two lanes to drive in, let alone one when the Sun Tran stops every few seconds.

Some without cars may be thinking I’m making a lot of noise about nothing. However it’s not that I’m mad that some pedestrian made me stop, or that I got stuck behind a half-wit in a minivan; it’s that traffic always seems to work against me. If I make a green light, it’s almost certain the next one will be red. If I need to make a left, the last car in oncoming traffic will always take forever. If I try to go around somebody going 30 mph in the left lane, there will be a Sun Tran in the right lane. Don’t even get me started on the train, as it only comes when I’m late.

Tucson’s traffic problems are the result of past city leaders failing to plan for its growth. While impossible to do now, it would have been nice if past City Councils could have put in parkways on the north side of the city that go from east to west. Of course, most of these problems would be nonexistent if there was a freeway that did more than simply cut through the middle of town. Without costly fights over eminent domain and huge restructuring of the entire traffic system, it seems our problems are here to stay. I guess it’s best to just get used to the congestion and consistent Sun Tran stops. However, for those of you who insist on driving like you’re 95 and blind, do the rest of us a favor and take advantage of the many bike trails our city has to offer.

— Andrew Shepherd is a political science senior. He can be reached at

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