Monday, August 25, 2008

The Pittsburgh Left

No, it's not a political constituency. It's a way to drive. Found on the excellent user-maintained travel site

Visitors may want to be careful of the "Pittsburgh Left." At red light intersections, a driver wishing to turn left will do so as soon as the light turns green, regardless of whether another vehicle would normally continue straight through the intersection. While not done much by the younger generation, the Pittsburgh Left still has its adherents.

I think Mr. Incredible could add a few more irritating Pittsburgh driving habits and traffic patterns to this entry, but here's another one that is oh-so-true:

Another traffic irregularity that often confuses outside drivers is the "left only" lane. You can be driving straight down the road and suddenly the lane you are in becomes a "Left Turn Only" lane, although you did not change lanes. This is common in other cities in the right lane but not the left. However, there is no rule for when this will happen in Pittsburgh, and it can happen in right lanes also, so drivers tend to drift back and forth from left lane to right without signaling. If you are new to the city keep an eye on the signs leading up to each intersection.

I know things like this really irk many people -- and I'll admit they get me sometimes, too -- but for the most part I guess I accept them as some of the last vestiges of local flavor. It's getting so you can go just about anywhere and find a KFC but there's no local café in sight. And everybody in the country wears pretty much the same clothes and buys their housewares at Target.

So, as annoying as it is, I salute the Pittsburgh Left for its uncompromising disregard for homogeneity.

1 comment:

Laurie said...

I hate it. I hate 'burgh drivers. They're awful.
I need a new post from you.