Local Drivers Just Suck

On a night when I returned from a road trip to New York — specifically Brooklyn – I was more annoyed about other drivers in the four or so miles between the Mass Pike and my destination than I was the entire 500-mile trip that preceded it.

The specific action that makes my blood boil:

Three times, I was behind a driver who stopped in a travel lane. In each of these three events, there was open curb space within 15 feet of where the car stopped. What were they doing?

  • Discharging or picking up a passenger; or,
  • Delivering a package (given it was Saturday night, probably a food delivery).

I was tired, and probably feeling more vindictive than I ought to. My first thought was that they should be getting a hefty ticket for this nonsense. There are a number of lazy driving behaviors that I think deserve hefty tickets:

  • Stopping a car in a travel lane in order to pick up, drop off, or deliver a package. It disrupts the traffic flow and is also dangerous to the person getting in and out of the stopped car.
  • Parking/stopping in a bike lane.
  • Parking/stopping in a bus stop space.
  • Double parking.

Sunday morning, I ran across an article by Scott Kirsner in The Boston Globe. In it, he describes this short life as a Door Dash “dasher.” He reviews why the incentive for dashers is to meet the timeline goals for delivery. Scott tried to do the right thing, but realized that doing the right thing cost him time. He saw his peers parking cars in bike lanes, bus stops, and double parking. He mentions how scooters (with no license plates) park wherever they feel like, drive wherever they feel like, and seem to have no repercussions because they are unidentifiable.

He makes a good point:

Before ticketing the drivers, who are being time-pressured and judged for their speed, change the parking situation. Public parking regulations need to catch up with the changes in commerce that led to the huge increase in restaurant delivery services (and ride shares, like Lyft and Uber).

He specifically mentioned adding loading zone/temporary parking for delivery vehicles in restaurant-heavy areas. Create the zones, and then make their locations available on the app the drivers use. Then ticket the miscreants.

I agree. The people who take driving jobs, like being a dasher, can have their whole night’s pay wiped out by a single $100 ticket. Since the app owners take no part in the maintenance, or insurance, or tickets issued to the vehicles driven by the dashers, they lose nothing by holding the dashers to the hurry-up schedule. It is the poor sods trying to make an extra buck that will suffer from my wish to ticket the double parkers and lane blockers.

Scott is right. Create a way for delivery people to do the right thing. My addition is that once there are places to pull over safely, people who park in a way to block traffic, bike lanes, or bus stops should get a big ticket. 

My spleen is now vented. Have a lovely day. Thank you for reading this far about my first-world problem. 



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