By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger
Most of the streets in Ocean Grove are one-way. Sometimes it can be annoying, especially when a street like Heck Avenue changes its mind abruptly from one-way to two-way. Sometimes a one-way street will totally change direction, like Delaware Avenue. And it also can be unsettling when a one-way street like Mt. Hermon Way suddenly undergoes a name change and becomes Olin Avenue—also in the opposite direction.
But most of the streets in town are so narrow that one-way is the only-way.
Two-way traffic would be physically impossible on most streets, especially when parking is allowed mostly everywhere. Some streets are so narrow (e.g. Benson Ave.) that you are allowed to park only on one side. Sometimes parallel parking on a narrow one-way street can be scary (as on Delaware just south of Main,) because it seems like you will hit the car across the street with your front end. You have to have faith when you attempt that maneuver. Or just keep driving until you find an easier situation.
But there are advantages to one-way streets. For one thing, it is safer to cross the street because you can just look one way and it is also conducive to crossing in the middle; actually crossing in the middle is less risky, because there are none of the uncertainties of intersections. But, our official advice is to look both ways when crossing a one-way street, because sometimes cars go the wrong way. (No kidding!)
Because the town is so small, many of the blocks are relatively short, so if you are at a stop sign that intersects a one way street, you could look one way only, but don’t take a chance—look both ways anyhow because some loonie-toon may be driving the wrong way.
Another risk with this scenario is that if you do look two ways, in the time you turn your head (and see nothing) and then turn the other way and then back again, there may be a car now suddenly in position to slam into you due to a rapid corner turn and a short block.
The locals are often amazed when a visitor rides the wrong way on a one-way street. But driving here can be confusing to newcomers. Once they see their mistake (like when some Grover is jumping up and down, gesticulating) they usually keep going, which is better than backing up, but they must be aware of a possible surprise up ahead since a vehicle may turn the corner on a collision course. Visitors are also handicapped by deficient or confusing signage. Eileen says the direction of traffic should be painted on the roads to help avoid wrong-way driving.
And a word of caution to bike riders, do not ride the wrong direction on a one-way street. Bikes are not exempt from the rules of the road. You may think that you can see whatever is coming your way, but the danger is at the intersections where you might get hit when a rapidly turning auto might not expect you to be there. Cars hitting bikers can cause major injuries, even at slow speeds. Make sure you all wear your helmets, although I often don’t do so—-pretty dopey!
We have too many cars in our small, congested town. The risk of driving is substantial, and people must go slow and pay attention. Drivers: don’t lose focus just because you survived the mayhem of Main Street and of Routes 33 and 35, and of the Asbury Circle.
And walkers, do not assume that the car coming your way will stop at that warning mini-totem pole in the street. Just wait in the curb until they actually stop.
So, at this intersection of our post, it’s time to come to a stop before I fall asleep at the blog-wheel.
ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER Production: “Why is the ocean near the shore?”