Rocky View Publishing reporter is reacquainted with old nemesis
Thursday, May 08, 2014 12:23 pm
Itís been a long time since I sat in traffic. I mean a really long time.
Iíve actually been pretty spoiled for the past three years when it comes to my daily commute.
I spent close to two years in Thompson, Manitoba, a city of roughly 13,000 people where I lived about five minutes away from my office and had to go through a total of one intersection.
From there, I followed my career to the Airdrie City View, and because I despise traffic and because I refused to put up with the drive up Highway 2 on a daily basis, I opted out of living in Calgary even though I sorely missed big city life.
Growing up in Mississauga and spending close to two years working as a delivery driver working in downtown Toronto, I had seen and sat in more than enough gridlock for one lifetime and moving to a remote community seemed like it would be ideal for a man like myself with very limited patience.
How right I was, the wide open roads and ďtraffic jamsĒ that were limited to about four cars lined up at a stoplight were a breeze compared to rush hour on the QEW or 401 in Toronto (then again, what isnít?).
What I didnít realize was that I was becoming acclimated to this and found myself taking on the traits of my grandfather, who spent all of his retired life living in a town of 1,200.
He would complain and grumble if he had to wait behind even one car at the one stoplight in town, saying typical grumpy old man things like, ďthese damn city people, using my townís roads to get to their cottages.Ē
He always said it with a grin, but I do understand his sentiment, as on more than a few occasions Iíve found myself cursing under my breath about not being the only person at a stoplight.
Airdrie has been pretty good to me in terms of traffic. I live just two minutes from the office and my only obstruction on my way in to work is a single stop sign.
Travels within the city during work hours are pretty easy, and when I cover after-hours events like City council meetings, itís at 7 p.m. so most of the home-time rush has cleared up.
But then came last Friday, yes, May 2 will go down as the worst traffic I have encountered in my time in Airdrie, and I just about blew a gasket. My already short fuse got a lot shorter and had it not been for the miserable rain, I might have just abandoned my car and walked.
The work week had just ended, so I promptly went home and changed - seamlessly without any indication of traffic, but again, I donít live far and donít have to deal with an intersection.
Plans were put in place to meet a few people for a post-work-week drink so I hopped in my car and headed on my way.
Make note, I live in Kingís Heights. It took me 40 minutes, and Iím not exaggerating, to get from my parking lot to the intersection of Yankee Valley Boulevard and Main Street.
4-0, four-zero minutes, to make a drive that Iíve made countless times in less than five.
I work in the media (redundant) and Iím pretty up to speed on traffic and car accidents and I hadnít reported on any in Airdrie on that day, what on earth was causing this?
I stewed in my own rage as I sat at the lights at Yankee Valley and Market Street for about seven cycles of the lights from green to yellow to red and back again, each time becoming more agitated.
It finally dawned on me that there had been a tanker truck rollover on Highway 2 earlier that afternoon and traffic was still backed up for miles in the southbound lanes.
Many of the motorists on their way south had become frustrated with being at a standstill and were getting off the highway to try to shortcut through Airdrie.
Thatís when I caught myself saying, ďthese (expletive) city drivers think they can just cut through my town!Ē
My grandfather would be so proud.