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Roads are for driving

Yesterday evening I drove down to Canal Park to pick up a sandwich at Northern Waters Smokehaus.

During the course of finding a parking spot, I found myself on an alley that's kind of a major thoroughfare in navigating the maze of lots in Canal Park. I came up behind a sedan that was parked in the middle of the alley, blocking both directions of traffic, as its driver chatted with a couple of people outside.

I should mention that there was an adjacent big, empty patch of gravel where the driver could easily pull over.

I was in a good mood, visions of a Sitka Sushi sandwich floating in my head, so I didn't mind waiting a little bit. I counted to 100, and the conversation in front of me continued. I waited a bit longer - at least two minutes total - before I finally rolled down my window and shouted ahead, "Excuse me, can you please pull to the side so I can get through" (exact words - yes, that polite). To which one of the conversants replied, "Excuse me, can you please be a little more patient?"

I was kind of taken aback by that response - I replied that this was a road, not a parking lot. To which he said something about patience again. After which I - tumbling off the high road, in a moment of weakness - said I'd show him what impatience was, and blew my car's horn. I felt a little bad about that afterward - but only just a little. By that point the car had finally pulled off to the side enough so that I could pass through and continue searching for a place to park (finally found one two blocks away). End of exchange. A Sitka Sushi sandwich and bottle of cane-sugar cola later, all was right with the world.

So was two minutes too short a time to give the driver in that car ahead of me? How would you have handled this situation?


After his very first comment, I would have lost it :) I give you credit for sure.

I think cars have reverse for a reason. If someone feels inclined to block an alleyway, there is the option to simply back up, get on to the actual road and find parking elsewhere. Not that I agree with the person you encountered, but it would have been quicker and saved an argument had you simply turned around.

I agree that it's best to avoid a confrontation, but backing up in that spot could be dangerous. The alley is narrow, and you could end up backing into someone.
In this particular case, what puts their behavior over the top is the person's repeating the words "excuse me." He is mocking you for being polite. He should have said something like, "Sorry, we'll be just another minute." Or, "Could you just back up? We need to finish something here."
Also, how is it that the other person isn't afraid you're going to go all crazy? Isn't that a universal fear, that someone will get road rage and smash into your car on purpose? Or get out a golf club or a gun?

Clarification - illegally parked cars made the alley behind me so narrow that I could barely get through going forward. I really didn't want to try navigating it in reverse. I guess it was an option, but at the time it didn't seem like a good one.

Voluntarily getting onto one of those roads, esp. in the summertime, is like signing a contract for dealing with d-bag drivers.

Next time throw them a couple birds and say, "You see my fingers? I am doing it as hard as I can".

You, akjuneau, have the patience of a saint. Most people in that situation would probably get really angry and start honking much sooner.

This is exactly why I always carry a squirt gun full of pee.

I would have got to the count of 10 before I honked.
The person was an asshole. You are a saint.

What I would have WANTED to do and what I really would have done are two VERY different things.

I would have WANTED to get out of my car and beaten the people into a bloody pulp with a tire iron.

What I would have actually done is probably pretty much the same as what you did.

Anger issues? You tell me.

I do wonder, though, why people are such assholes. Why is it that so many people have such an inflated sense of their own entitlement? And it goes way beyond just what people do in their cars. It's everything from taking up the entire sidewalk when walking with friends to leaving their shopping cart in the middle of the aisle while examining the produce.

1. Back out of alley.
2. Drive around block.
3. Enter alley from other side.
4. Sit and wait until they complain, the ask them teh following question: "Excuse me, can you please be a little more patient?"

Canal park, anal park. I am just getting sick of people wandering across the street right in front of oncoming traffic. It is a terrifying combination of lost tourists and crazed teenagers.

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict

Five basic ways of addressing conflict were identified by Thomas and Kilman in 1976:

Accommodation – surrender one's own needs and wishes to accommodate the other party.

Avoidance – avoid or postpone conflict by ignoring it, changing the subject, etc. Avoidance can be useful as a temporary measure to buy time or as an expedient means of dealing with very minor, non-recurring conflicts. In more severe cases, conflict avoidance can involve severing a relationship or leaving a group.

Collaboration – work together to find a mutually beneficial solution. While the Thomas Kilman grid views collaboration as the only win-win solution to conflict, collaboration can also be time-intensive and inappropriate when there is not enough trust, respect or communication among participants for collaboration to occur.

Compromise – find a middle ground in which each party is partially satisfied.

Competition – assert one's viewpoint at the potential expense of another. It can be useful when achieving one's objectives outweighs one's concern for the relationship.

I would recommend that the word "Saint" appear on your headstone, should you want a headstone when your time comes...

I would have started honking in about 30 seconds. They were rude. Period.


If you had a cell phone, you could've called 911 to report an apparently abandoned vehicle. When the cops arrive, just play dumb- "I just got here and was wondering how to get through...."

This sounds like a great post in support of bicycles. I honestly wouldn't consider going into Canal Park in the summer unless it was on a bike. Plus, I suffer from less road rage.
p.s. I understand this is not feasible for everyone, I'm just saying I'd rather bike 15+ miles than deal with obnoxious drivers and finding a parking spot.

I avoid the area in the summer. Nothing down there I need or want that bad.

Canal Park sux now! It pretty much ruled when it had an indoor vert ramp; now it's a just bunch of tourist dummies.

I love Canal Park. I love some of the shops and some of the food and all of the view. I love the Inn on Lake Superior because it has great views and welcomes my dog. Even after being gone for 11 years I still have my Minnesota nice. But the dude blocking that alleyway would have met my full on Chicago road rage if they had talked back to me that way after I tried to be cool.

Thirty seconds, then I'd lay on the horn. Letting people behave like that is a step toward social collapse.

zoey said anal.

I think one of the banes of our existence in a civil society is self-absorption. In this assholes mind, his sitting in the alley talking was somehow MORE important than the normal flow of traffic. Somehow in his twisted brain his conversation trumped the fact that somebody actually wanted to drive through the alley. It also causes people to pull out in front of you when they had a stop sign or red light and proceed to drive slowly in front of you. In their sick minds there time is more important than yours. They will not obey traffic laws and wait until it is clear to go. They figure you have enough time to hit your brakes to avoid hitting them so therefore the make their right turn. Unfortunately I lack the Tony Soprano gene that would enable me to give these pricks what they deserve. So I to probably would have waited patiently, cursing under my breath until he moved.

Every time someone honks their horn I want to shout or hold out a sign that says,

"Duluth is a cool city. We don't hook our horns in anger."

I hope we don't lose our "nice, friendly" atmosphere, an atmosphere where horns are used only in extreme emergencies to avoid an accident or just a little toot to say hello to a friend.

I commend you for not honking your horn. These are the lazy days of summer. Don't raise your blood pressure. Kick back relax and remember, "Duluth is a cool city."

This is a situation where I would deploy the "freindly toot"; two quick beeps, followed by a wave, like you are saying hi to somebody you know. Honk, but honk nicely, if that doesn't work tell em your pimp is in the Toga and he'll be right out...

I think Canal Park would be excellent car-free zone.


Car-free zone! I second that!

Ya know what though, chances are the person blocking the road was actually from Duluth and assumed that you were a dumb tourist invading "their city." I think I would have offered to move their car out of the way by pushing it with your car.

the secret of my Duluth niceness is that the horn in my car doesn't work. otherwise, you'd all be getting a lot more of my loud protests.

instead, i have resurrected my internal chicago-italian cabdriver, and have become the Queen of Gestures Not Involving Middle Fingers.

Something I learned from Mario Kart, throw turtle shells or banana peels... sends him them for a fun spin.

I third the car-free zone idea. I've seen it work to great effect in Boulder and Madison. You have to keep the lake ave./minnesota ave. open, of course, and make sure you have appropriate parking.

Canal Park would be much nicer without the vehicles everywhere. People want to stroll instead of drive in that area anyway.

I think making Canal Park a car-free zone is a great idea! My S.O. works there and most of the time either rides bike or takes the bus to work.
...rarely drives there.....

so where would everyone park their cars if the didn't park at the big lot between DeWitt-Seitz and Grandma's

Ummm, how do you get to park point then?

everytime a car horn honks and angel gets his wings!

toot toot beep beep

Canal Park a Car Free Zone? Might have been a good idea before building all of the hotels. If you count the hotel lots, most of the parking in Canal Park is privately owned. I doubt that you are going to be able to get the owners of the various lots on board with the idea. Who wants to walk 3-4 blocks to their hotel lugging a suitcase in the winter time?

shane said: stuff about hotels

Yeah, I thought about that after I posted. I still think Goldfine and company would benefit by keeping the lakeside open and help closing off everything else to vehicles.

It's simple, really. Keep a traffic line open for park point, have a parking lot that has decent capacity, and no parking on the street/alleys.

I'm a bit biased, though, because cycling in that region is torture, so most of my angst comes from the current traffic.

huitz said: "have a parking lot that has decent capacity" From my observations. Some business have established themselves in Canal Park and not provied enough parking for the people involved. A ramp in the area would fix things, but none of the business owners want to foot the bill, they are waiting for the city to build a ramp. The city's track record on the parking ramp issue is quite well documented.

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