One of the great things about living in a small town is that I can walk just about anywhere. I mean, why hop in the car when you can pound out some serious shin splints or rub up world-class blisters in a Noahic downpour?
Like I said, I like to walk whenever possible.
Sounds harmless, huh? But lemme tell ya, being a pedestrian in certain parts of Grays Harbor isn’t all it’s Nike-ed up to be. “Just Do It” sounds great on a TV commercial. But lemme still tell ya, there’s nothing like trying to navigate certain treacherous pedestrian crossings to put the fear of God and V-8s into you. So I’m giving you the short and skinny on some of The Most Dangerous Pedestrian Crossings in Grays Harbor. (Don’t look for anything in east, East County. That’s a little too far, even for me.)
The top eight contenders are, in no particular order:
- 25th at Sumner, Hoquiam. Near Fairway Grocery. Kids, don’t try this at home. People have been killed trying to cross here. In. The. Crosswalk. If you absolutely must cross here, be sure to step lively. Think Mach 4.
- Emerson Avenue at Adams, near Emerson Elementary School, Hoquiam. Awhile back Yours Truly was minding her own business, waiting patiently for the light to change at this intersection. It did. So she looked both ways – clear – and started across. It seemed like a good idea at the time. After all, YT was in a crosswalk. Light in my favor. The sun was shining. The sky poured out a flawless curve of blue. All was well with the world. Till some brainless idiot did the, oh-it’s-green, let’s-not-bother-to-look, hit-the-gas thing and tried making a left turn. At warp speed. He not only didn’t see me, he never even looked. Till I bounced off his hood. Naw. Not really. But it was close. Peasant.
- Highway 101 at Emerson Avenue, Hoquiam. Near Humdinger’s. At least this corner has a light. Not that anyone pays much attention to it. Apparently Grays Harbor has a higher-than-average rate of color blindness. Special favorites: semi drivers who can’t figure out that the crosswalk is for pedestrians, not a place to park, and drivers who think creeping to the edge of the crosswalk will give them a jump on traffic. Semis who stop AFTER the crosswalk are especially fun, since their cab utterly obliterates the ability of peds to see the Walk/Don’t Walk icon on the other side. Thank you sooo much.
- Riverside Avenue at 15th Street, Hoquiam. Just before the “little” bridge. Trying to cross here means taking your life in your hands – even when both lanes are going the same direction. It’s even more fun now that Ye Olde Traffic Revision has re-routed traffic into two-way torpedoes on wheels. I mean, you could grow old waiting for a break in traffic sufficient to cross safely – or a driver to actually stop. You’re better off heading down to the light at Humdinger’s. Trust me on this one.
Tip: If you’re sprouting gray hair waiting to cross here, keep an eye out for either a Hoquiam P.D. vehicle or a logging truck. They’re the most likely to stop and let you cross.
I confess a certain fondness for logging truck drivers. They sometimes straddle both lanes and stop, meaning traffic in both lanes has to do likewise. Cuz if you thought getting one lane to stop takes an Act of God here, try two. Drivers who are least likely to stop? Teenage boys. Just sayin’.
- Simpson Avenue at 7th Street, Hoquiam. Yes, it has street lights. Yes, it’s a four-way stop. Ditto nice, neat crosswalks. Yes, you have to wait like a year if you miss the light. And yes, some drivers think “yellow” means “floor it.” Best to keep a clear eye and look before stepping off the curb. Close second: sprout wings.
- 7th Street and J Street, Hoquiam. Near the bus depot. A four-way stop with no lights. If you survived the last crossing near the Anchor and Timberland Banks, this is another great spot to risk getting nailed by inattentive, rapacious drivers who are running late to their next Bingo tourney.
- Broadway at Main Street, Montesano. Near the county admin building. There’s a crosswalk. And that’s about it. I recommend head-to-toe Day Glo, flashing lights and a siren. You may choose to forego this sterling advice and reach the other side in one piece. Success in this endeavor never fails to renew my faith in a merciful God.
- E. Wishkah at Chehalis, Aberdeen. Near Techline and Twin Harbor’s Eye Center. A special kind of hazard for pedestrians. Throw in a train lumbering by and this crossing could bring home the gold for Just Plain Crazy.
As I said, I like to walk. Why? you ask. Can I get back to you on that?