A Little (Street) Secret

Spray Park overlook, Mount Rainier National Park
Spray Park overlook, Mount Rainier National Park

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I grew up walking. No, really. I’ve been hiking (“walking” on steroids) for most of my life, racking up zillions of trail miles across multiple states. My preferred routes – after I gave up rock-climbing – are in national parks. There are several reasons for that. Like, you don’t have to try to survive escapees from the local looney bin intent on murder and mayhem while cleverly disguised as vehicular “drivers.”

Outside of national parks, however, 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. Not necessarily in a monsoon. But one can’t always be choosy around here, eh?

Anyway, being a pedestrian in parts of Grays Harbor isn’t all it’s Nike-ed up to be. There’s nothing like trying to navigate  treacherous pedestrian crossings to put the fear of God and V-8s in you. So I’m going to give 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 kinda far for the ‘ole leather camels. Even for me.)

The top 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.
  • Ped Xing 5
  • Emerson Avenue near Emerson Elementary School, Hoquiam. Yours Truly was minding her own business the other day, waiting patiently for the light to change at this intersection. It did. 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. Republicans weren’t at each other’s throats. 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.

Ped Xing 2

  • Highway 101 at Emerson Avenue, Hoquiam. Near Humdinger’s. This corner has a light. Not that anyone pays much attention. Apparently Grays Harbor has a higher-than-average rate of color blindness. Tip: Logging trucks always have the right of way, even on a “pink” light.

Ped Xing 1

  • Riverside Avenue at 15th Street, Hoquiam. Just before the “little” bridge. Don’t even try crossing here if you have a heart condition. Or are impatient. I mean, you could grow old waiting for a break in traffic sufficient to cross safely – or a driver to actually stop. Tip #1: vehicles most likely to stop for you? Those driven by law enforcement or logging trucks. Tip #2: vehicles least likely to stop: vehicles driven by male teenagers. Followed by female teenagers. Why is that?

Ped Xing 3

  • 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, even with the light. Close second: sprout wings.

Ped Xing 4

  • 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. This endeavor never fails to restore my faith in a merciful God.

As I said, I like to walk. Why? you ask. Can I get back to you on that?