Your side has rainbows!

Sometimes restrictions bring out the worst in people. Case in point: Ever since CalTrans modified the stretch of highway between Eureka and Arcata into a special “safety corridor,” offended drivers have opted to bypass the 50mph zone by taking 255 around the other side of Humboldt Bay through Manila. 

Manilans, often divided on issues political, have uniformly despised this increase in traffic, even forming a special committee to work with CalTrans on improving community safety. Unlike the impatient commuters roaring through the sleepy town, however, CalTrans’ progress has been slow going. Earlier this year, Manila residents “took matters into their own hands,” asking motorists to please, for the love of children and animals, God and America and all else sacred, to slow the heck down. Please.

Third District Supervisor Mark Lovelace continues to work with concerned Manila citizens and with CalTrans, but the outlook is, to a cynical observer, fairly bleak. The worst part? No good reason exists to increase the traffic burden along the peninsula. Take a look at the “arguments,” 255 drivers use:

“It’s faster.”

It’s not! In fact, the North Coast Journal’s ace reporter Zach St. George has confirmed what any yay-hoo with access to Google Maps ought to know: The safety corridor beats the 255 route hands down. (Or pedal down, as the case may be. Which leads me to point out, you’ll save more gas taking the safety corridor, too.)

Unless you’re speeding, of course. Which makes you a jerk.

“It’s prettier.”

Oh, sure, parts of the drive are nice. I like going over the bridges, except you can’t much enjoy the view what with dodging all the pedestrians and oncoming big trucks and random debris – and please, please, please give the bicyclists some space because it’s a hella scary ride going over those arches of doom.

But through Manila itself is not particularly scenic unless your idea of pretty involves houses on the down side of run-. Driving through the Bottoms, the lambsies do tickle with their cavorting ways, but the whole stretch of 101 joining A-town with E- is just as lovely, with far more Humboldt Bay diversity.

“I hate the safety corridor!”

Well, some people hate seatbeats and motorcycle helmets and having to tie their shoes, too. What you’re really saying here is, “I hate having to drive 50 and I’m pretty confident I can do 65 through Manila because no one cares.” (See “Which makes you a jerk,” above.”) 

Driving through Manila to avoid the safety corridor is essentially saying, “I hate small creatures, young children on bicycles, kittens, bicyclists, seniors on horses and all things good and bright.”

Which brings me to my point: When it comes to choosing to take the 101 or the 255, the safety corridor is the smarter, safer, faster, prettier, more considerate option. 

(All due respect and appreciation to Zach Saint-G for the factual analysis!)