Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Right of Way

When I first moved to Columbia we used to joke that no one ate at home on Friday night. The local phenomenon of heading out somewhere only to be met with an enormous wait everywhere one went led to my husband’s refusal for many years to even attempt to go out on a Friday night.

Times have changed. There has been an explosion of restaurants since then. It’s easier to find a place without a wait on Friday night. On the other hand, just try finding a place to park when you swing by Bonchon to pick up your takeaway order - - on a Monday night.

Really? Wall-to-wall cars at the Mall on a Monday night? Maybe no one eats at home ever anymore! When I finally got parked, Bonchon was hopping. Almost every table was full. Clearly the town that splurged on a Friday night restaurant trip has changed over the years.

Strangely enough, this isn’t meant to be a post on local restaurant patronage. It’s about traffic. Not “too much traffic” but, rather, the changing traffic patterns around the Mall. I found myself really struggling last night to understand who had the right of way. It used to be that cars entering the Mall property always had the right of way. But now we have newer spokes extending out from the mall ring road that feel more like city streets than Mall entrance points.

Who goes first? Who turns? Who waits? How can you tell? I felt as though I was traversing a lawless expanse where my only thought was, “You’ll be lucky if you don’t die.” Obviously I was lucky, or I wouldn’t be writing this post. But it was a white knuckle experience.

Is there some new kind of traffic protocol at work here that I am not aware of? Are there signs posted that I just haven’t seen? I welcome your input. The next time I do a post-Elevate Maryland Bonchon run I want to be ready.

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