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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Green Means "Go!"

Yesterday, the god of green lights was smiling down on me from the heavens.

Stop lights are the bane of the urban running existence, especially in an area that has few trails or parks where runners can gallop free from the cement paths that run alongside the roadways. Many of my routes have been designed to avoid as many intersections as possible, but certain routes can't help but coincide with traffic lights. Last night's route was an old one of mine that stretches two miles north and then doubles back on itself: It only has three lights, but because I double back, the number of lights doubles.

Sometimes, I have to stop at every single light and wait, and this throws me off -- once I stop, I feel as though I lose some of my momentum. This is why it is also better to be a morning runner, because even when the lights are against you, at five am, there's no traffic, so you can cross against the lights and pray that a random car doesn't plow you down.

Last night though, I must have been running at exactly the right tempo, or else I was just lucky because I hit a green light at every intersection. One was a close shave though. You see, some of our intersections have installed those timers that inform the pedestrian of how many seconds they have to cross the street (handy devices I think, but can also be a bit stressful: when you know you only have 20 seconds to get across, you can feel a bit pressed for time), and as I approached one of the intersections on my path, I noted that I only had five seconds to reach the other side. So I dashed!

And I triumphed! My foot hit the sidewalk at the 0 mark, and I felt a bit like I had just finished a race. The rest were green with plenty of time to cross; now, if only I could ask the gods to bless me with the same kind of string of lights when I'm driving. The commute would go so much faster!


Blaine Moore said...

Heh, where I used to live I found a route to work that was over half a mile shorter than my previous best way to get there and had cut out 11 stop lights. There were still 7 lights, though.

Now since I have bought a house, I can drive for the same amount of time but twice the distance with 3 stop lights, or add a few miles on slower roads and have no stop lights and only four stop signs.

It is a toss up for which way I go at any given time. The back way has much less traffic.

Erin said...

Those darn red lights-that is one of the reasons I make sure my walking route or biking route bypass as many lights as possible. Especially since the news reports pedestrians being killed every day down here.

pinaypower said...

it's like winning the lottery! and the run was poo-free! what more could you ask for?