From the inbox: “A left turn and a nice turn”

That’s how Mark Neuman titled this e-mail and it’s a perfect headline:

To the person driving the reddish four-door VW Gti on California Avenue this morning (February 12, 2008):

Your left turn at 9:56 am PST (westbound onto Alaska Street from northbound on California Avenue) was illegal (no left turns 7 am to 7 pm except transit, as the sign in front of you clearly stated).

Though I was able to make it through the (yellow) light and no drivers had to wait for the next traffic light cycle to go through the intersection, the move you made oftentimes DOES result in law abiding drivers having to wait, in addition to the fact that many drivers will quickly move around to get beyond the offending driver.

Ask any auto insurance company: such sudden moves do not reduce the overall probability of collisions on the road, not to mention the possible impact on inattentive pedestrians.

OK, just thought I’d share. Have a nice day.

By the way, to the nice lady in the grayish sweater who, just a few minutes later, let the elderly gentleman go ahead of her in line at Bartell’s: that was very thoughtful of you.

We’ve all discussed the crosswalk situation at that intersection before. Thoughts on the turn ban?

41 Replies to "From the inbox: "A left turn and a nice turn""

  • AlkiMac February 12, 2008 (6:22 pm)

    I got my first traffic ticket (illegal left turn) at this intersection back in the early 70’s. Back then, the no left turn 7am to 7pm sign was in a little box directly below the traffic light. It was a bit hard to read.

    As the officer was writing me up, he scolded me for not “Getting the Big Picture.”

    My dad had to take a half day off work and go to Juvenile Court with me about the ticket. The judge got mad that his and my father’s valuable time was being wasted by an illegal left hand turn ticket. He turned it into a warning.

    Things you remember!

  • SomeGuy February 12, 2008 (7:15 pm)

    In my experience, 90% of all VW drivers are ass clowns.

  • A.A. February 12, 2008 (7:27 pm)

    SomeGuy you’re not kidding. (I also often specifically use the word ass clown to describe them)

    … and I’ve been nearly hit by inattentive Lexus drivers more times than I can count. Apparently they DO own the whole road. Who knew?

  • Steph February 12, 2008 (7:29 pm)

    As a former CA resident, I would guess the driver used to live there.

  • MikeV2.0 February 12, 2008 (7:47 pm)

    unless your from that immediate area you probably didn’t know that you couldn’t take a left turn. It’s not obviously intuitive, even if there is a sign.

  • Mr. JT February 12, 2008 (8:12 pm)

    Hey MikeV2.O, you tried that line on a cop lately ?

  • Steph's Husband February 12, 2008 (8:29 pm)

    Yes I’m from California and no I don’t drive a VW.

    People, get over it. Drivers make mistakes. Are you going to write a detailed account of every mistake you see everday – that would take a lot of paper. Yeah, maybe the person didn’t see the sign. Or maybe they saw it and ignored it. So what? Is it worth harping on?

    It’s ironic to hear people complain about other drivers when I have yet to see the perfect driver. Everyone makes mistakes behind the wheel! Even you.

    Yeah, I’m a little tired of all of the driving complaints that go on, like all these people who gripe are perfect behind the wheel.

  • miws February 12, 2008 (8:50 pm)

    A few weeks ago I was waiting for the bus next to Easy Street, and there was a car southbound California waiting to turn left to eastbound Alaska. The driver of the car behind kept honking their horn, but the other driver either didn’t get it, or didn’t care, and succesfully made the turn once oncoming traffic had cleared.


    The second car did technically run the red light, but my opinion, at the time, was it was excusable. (I can’t remember if the light was still yellow when he started through, or if he was part way into the intersection).


    As luck would have it, a cop was eastbound on Alaska and hit his lights. I was hoping he’d continue straight, and nab the illegal turner, but, he turned down California and went after the red light “runner”. I kind of felt sorry for that driver.


    Perhaps the cop was just going for the easy ticket, or didn’t have a clear view of the illegal turner, and was unsure if he could figure out which car it was.


    In other traffic news, yesterday, while walking to the same bus stop, I was walking on Alaska, westbound, by the Alaska House Tower. A Dodge pickup passed by, and I think I heard someone yell out something to the effect of “Hey fatass! Go have another cookie”.


    Yes, I’m fat, and trying to do something about it. My feelings aren’t easily hurt, and that didn’t hurt them, however, that is a kinda rude thing to say, some people have medical issues they can’t help, that causes them to be overweight.


    It’s times like that, that I wish I was the size of, say, Shaquille O’Niell, so I didn’t have to worry about the size of the other guy and would have caught up with him and taught him a lesson about saying rude things to others.


    A short time later, after the bus dropped me off at the stop by Starbucks, Morgan Junction, I was waiting for the light to cross California to go to Thriftway. There was a fairly long line of cars in the westbound Fauntleroy, to southbound California turn lane. They all made it through their green light, and just about the same time the last car passes in front of me, I see an older full size van barreling down the left turn lane.


    I know exactly what’s coming, and sure enough he blasts through the red light. I’m sure it was red even before he hit the intersection. I didn’t throw my hands up in the air as I sometimes do in these situations, but did the palms out, arms slightly raised WTH reaction thingy, and it was hard for me to see clearly through the van’s windshield, but the guy either gave me the “oops sorry” gesture, or flipped me off.



  • Burton February 12, 2008 (9:04 pm)

    I say let the police do the policing

  • misty February 12, 2008 (9:11 pm)

    Mike…what a bad day! :( Mean People Suck.

  • D February 12, 2008 (10:14 pm)

    100% of people who make generalizations about people based on what car they drive are ignorant.

  • lexus driver February 12, 2008 (10:56 pm)

    right on, D!

  • credmond February 12, 2008 (11:05 pm)

    Some generalizations, though, have a basis in perceived fact. I drive an obviously well-used but reasonably-cared-for Volvo. I drive the speed limit. This is, no doubt, perceived by most of the folks who pass me as me being yet another Volvo driver driving around town slow. I also look at intersections to see if anyone is wanting to cross the street. Most cops don’t even do that. I know because I’ve had many an SPD vehicle whiz right by me when I was off the curb and obviously wanting to cross the street. In fact, I’m somewhat taken aback when another driver actually stops to let me cross at an uncontrolled intersection. Manners, folks, have we all lost them?

  • JB February 12, 2008 (11:19 pm)

    Sort of on topic, has anyone noticed that school zones basically get ignored? I see drivers regularly speed through the zone on Roxbury for roxhill elem and on 28th for westside school. I think I’ve seen someone get a ticket once in the 7 years I’ve been driving this route.

  • Sage K February 13, 2008 (12:25 am)

    Well if your ever driving on 15th st. on Beacon hill on your way to take Columbian to WS. Make sure you go the speed limit especially in the school zone. Most days there is a motorcycle cop hiding behind a car just waiting for speeders. I’m so anal about always going 20 in school zones that sometimes I do it even when the lights aren’t flashing nor are children present.

    But as a conscientious driver I have to say that the thing that scares me the most are bicyclists not because of them, but the fact that I’m always scared of potentially hitting them and don’t want to be anywhere near them, as the odds aren’t in their favor. I’m one of those drivers who would prefer to pass them in a completely different lane. So sometimes I get annoyed when they aren’t over far enough for me to pass safely and as they are a bicycle they aren’t going the speed limit.

    As for peds I try to stay on the lookout so that I can let you cross. But hey I’m human and I’ve been known to make a few driving errors, but I always feel bad about them.

    As long as you are in the intersection before the light turns red (even if it turns red while you are in there) you are not running a red light.

    Also just an FYI but yellow lights are 5 seconds, so I find counting them helpful for determining whether I can safely get through them.

  • SomeGuy February 13, 2008 (7:54 am)

    D – my observation that 90% of VW drivers are ass-clowns is in fact anything but ignorant. It is a quantitative finding based on daily sampling of 20+ miles across a period of more than 20 years of Seattle driving. When the findings show a clear result, in this case “VW = ass clown”, we can be assured with a 99.6% certainty that the results are valid.

  • coffee geek February 13, 2008 (8:08 am)

    If your biggest worry of the day is an illegal left turn, consider yourself lucky.

  • Delivery Dude February 13, 2008 (8:09 am)

    Ass clown. It has a nice ring to it. I actually like it. Thanks for introducing to the slang these kids use these days!

  • Rick February 13, 2008 (8:10 am)

    Years ago I moved closer to work to cut down on driving and the fact that more and more of the drivers here just plain scare the &%*@ outta me with their self absorbed,self important,entitled,”I’m the only one on the road” attitudes. I’m fortunate to also live close to a grocery store,resturaunts,etc. so that my driving is kept to a minimum. Now, I swear, they’re gunnin’ for us on the sidewalks! Those drivers(and I’m sure you know who you are) must be more important than everyone else out there,whether pedestrian or motorists. Hang up,slow down and pay attention. Those 3 or 4 seconds you save won’t make all that much of a difference but they could kill or injure someone else. But hey, what do you care, right? Have a nice day.

  • Mtpockets February 13, 2008 (8:46 am)

    Hey Some guy,
    Isn’t that Chris Jericho’s (Y2J) line of the WWE?

  • m February 13, 2008 (8:50 am)

    I have to agree with SomeGuy; beware of VW drivers, particularly silver jettas!! They are the worst traffic offenders. Volvos and minivan drivers are right up there too. I try to keep a safe distance with these vehicles as the drivers generally are not paying as much attention to the road as they should be.

    On the topic of the traffic light, the east and west bound Alaska traffic get a dedicated crossing so they can make left turns; I don’t see why they can’t do that for north and south bound traffic as well so they can take left turns too. That light is long enough as it is; I don’t think this would add much time to the cycle.

  • SomeGuy February 13, 2008 (8:55 am)

    Mtpockets – I think it is originally from the movie “Office Space”.

  • CMP February 13, 2008 (8:57 am)

    I completely agree with SomeGuy about VW drivers, although I’d say that 95% are not good drivers at all. The other 5% are somehow amazing drivers…go figure.

    As for the AL/CA intersection, it’s pretty darn easy to read a sign so there’s no excuse for that moron turning left onto Alaska. Believe it or not, you CAN drive out of your way so as to not inconvenience other law-abiding drivers around you. And for miws’ comment about the second driver getting pulled over for possibly running a red light, maybe they got a ticket for honking their horn instead. It’s apparently against the law, as someone brought to the attention of the Seattle Times awhile back. I use my horn quite liberally at moronic drivers and was not happy to read that I could get pulled over for it.

  • lala February 13, 2008 (8:58 am)

    I don’t know if this has happened to anyone else, but twice in the last year, I’ve been embarking out into the intersection with the all ways walk sign, and have heard a car not slowing down. I’ve had to dodge a car, again, twice in a year, that just drove through the all-around red light.

    Luckily both times I haven’t been wearing my headphones.

  • firwave February 13, 2008 (9:01 am)

    How very “Northwest” of this person to write a full account of a driver making an illegal turn. Reminds me of the “Rant and Raves” in the Sunday Times. Just honk at the ass and move on…

  • SomeGuy February 13, 2008 (9:28 am)

    This is on-topic and amusing. It is nearly seven years old – if an updated study was done today, I am confident VW would be #1 or #2 (could possibly be #2 behind BMW).

  • Gina February 13, 2008 (10:06 am)

    Reading about the boors yelling from their car at paasers by, reminds me of something Mr. Folensbee, an English teacher at West Seattle High School said back in 1977.

    Boys with loud mufflers would gun their cars as they drove up and down Walnut as fast as they could, and then clamp down and make their brakes squeal, while a passenger would holler cuss words as loud as they could when they made the pass through the parking lot at the front of the school.

    Mr.Folensbee told us he had an announcement to make, especially for the girls.

    “When boys make an exhibition of themselves, and yell loudly out the window, they are expressing a worry that their genitalia is undersized, or perhaps in some other way inadequate. Those that simply drive and do not call attention to themselves are secure in their manhood.”

    So since the age of 14, whenever someone feels they need to scream something out of a window at me, I simply feel sorry for their manhood.

  • AlkiKmac February 13, 2008 (10:44 am)

    Gina – Thanks! A brilliant, timeless perspective!

  • SLK February 13, 2008 (10:49 am)

    I LOVE the “Rants and Raves” in the Seattle Times! Maybe WSB can start a forum….

  • MJD February 13, 2008 (11:25 am)

    As a silver Jetta driving, previous GTI owner – I’ve got to stand up for the VW drivers. Its not the car that determines whether a driver is an a**, it is the driver. Bad drivers drive all sorts of vehicles.

    BTW – I have had 1 speeding ticket in my life and have never caused an accident, but its good to know that SomeGuy will see me in my car and declare that I am an a**clown even though he doesn’t know me and hasn’t been affected by my driving.

  • firwave February 13, 2008 (11:26 am)

    SLK, that would be awesome…West Seattle Rant and Raves. I love them also, but many of the Rants could just be solved with a few quick words versus writing to the Times. Anyway, it’s entertaining.

  • Kayleigh February 13, 2008 (11:29 am)

    “expressing a worry that their genitalia is undersized, or perhaps in some other way inadequate”

    LOL! Love it.

  • Eddie February 13, 2008 (11:42 am)

    In today’s white-bread (if I can even say that!), Politically Correct, over-sensitive, and revisionist environment, I’d be amazed if Gina’s tale of a school district employee uttering the words “Genitalia”, “Manhood”, “undersized” or “inadequate” wouldn’t get them fired, banned for life or arrested as a sex offender.

    Which world would you rather live in?

  • Hee-Yaw February 13, 2008 (12:10 pm)

    Im with yer Eddie. I’m still waiting by the ole’ radio fer Amos n Andy to come back.

  • WSB February 13, 2008 (1:41 pm)

    We do have a forum (see tab above).
    Or did you mean specifically a Rants n Raves section? Open Discussion is the place for that and I believe we’ve seen many already.

  • Jerald February 13, 2008 (2:57 pm)

    On the forum, though, if someone rants about something (like the wind), someone else says that’s “complaining.”

  • WSB February 13, 2008 (3:14 pm)

    Well, we addressed that to some degree and also invited everyone to flag us when things get out of hand – we don’t get to read all the forum posts immediately. However, to your point, maybe a separate Rants section and separate Raves section would be in order. Thoughts, anyone?

  • SLK February 13, 2008 (6:53 pm)

    I was thinking of a separate Rants & Raves section as a main theme (like 2008 Elections or Reader Recommendations). Then I suppose it would include specific rants and raves by topic. I like having them together (at least in the newspaper) to balance out the venting with some feel-good stories about our neighbors.

  • miws February 13, 2008 (8:37 pm)


    I actually thought about that too, but it got lost in the back of my mind as I was composing my long post. :)



  • miws February 13, 2008 (8:43 pm)


    What Mr. Folensbee said sounds like something Mr. McGinley, the Auto Shop teacher at Sealth in the ’70’s would have said! :D



  • m February 14, 2008 (8:07 am)

    I had to honk at a VW driver just this morning on California. When people slow down for no apparent reason in the middle of the road so they can finally pull to the right into a driveway or parking spot or turn left onto another street, I honk if they don’t use their turn signal as they knew in advance what they were about to do. I can’t read minds or anticipate the future; I can only plan for what I see in the roadway. grrrr. bring on the rant and rave column!!

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