Phoenix is the first big city I’ve ever lived in. Stamford, CT was a decent sized city, but nothing compared to this. Each one is a unique environment; when I recall NYC, I think about hoards bustling people, the smell of hot dog carts and pretzels and sometimes pee, the sounds of honking horns and the tall buildings with bodegas and bars on the next corner. When I watch Law & Order my favorite parts are when they’re doing the investigation around the city. I just love the background!
Phoenix stands out to me for the traffic, and I know NYC has a ton of traffic, but it’s just different. They also have something called the ‘suicide’ lane. It’s an additional center lane. Our streets are so wide, 3 lanes in either direction for the main ones and then 2 for most others. Except for residential, obviously.
This center lane is for making a left turn from a main road; you pull over into it and wait for a chance to proceed, or if you’re brave, when turning onto a main road, you can wait for only the traffic from your left to be clear, make the left and sit in the suicide lane until you have a chance to merge with the moving traffic. It is one of my very least favorite moves to make. I try my very best to only make a left with the benefit of a traffic signal, but even that can try your patience.
Here’s the thing about making a left even with the signal at any major intersection! It’s never long enough and you can end up sitting there for like 5 minutes. What I’ve noticed a lot of people use as a solution, is that after the yellow arrow ends and the rest of the traffic now has the right of way to proceed, just pretend like it’s still your turn until the cars start actually coming towards you! To be perfectly honest, I’ve done this. Sometimes you just have to because the traffic never stops, and you’d then have to sit through the entire rotation of the lights.
When I’m continuing straight through an intersection, I’ve started playing a game where I count how many cars turn after my light has changed to green. The record so far is 5, which is a lot if you consider how long it takes for each car to pass through. I wasn’t going to be involved in an accident just because I had right of way, and they just brazenly kept coming! I did lay on the horn for a bit. Not like it accomplished anything, but it made me feel better.