Austin Traffic Patterns

11.09.10 | Comment?

A bit of a rant: I am now Zero for Two in evening excursions.


Last week I tried to go to a La Leche League meeting. I had looked it up online, found its location, and Google Mapped it. However, I got lost several times trying to find my way to it, even though I had directions and my destination was a hospital! Good thing I didn’t have some sort of emergency…  Anyway, the roads here in Austin are (+) in good repair; and (-) impossible to navigate if you haven’t been on them before. They are super impossible to navigate at night because nothing is illuminated. (There’s no income tax in Texas, so I guess things like illumination just don’t happen.) They are hard to navigate in general because they are (1) completely unintuitive and (2) unsigned. I am amazed at how unsigned they are. Most intersections of two major roads have no signs. Some entrances and exits to highways have no signs. So I finally found the hospital, 20 minutes late, and wandered around trying to find room 2-B. There were no directional signs in the hospital or maps near the entrances or information desks. So I wandered. I eventually found 2-A and 2-C, and in total frustration called one of the LLL leaders. She very nicely informed me that the meeting that night had been moved to a LLL leader’s house. Just that one meeting out of the 12 monthly ones they’ve had all year. Big Sigh. (Oh, and that 2-B was “right there” where 2-A and 2-C were and if I come next month, I’ll be able to find it.)

Tonight I decided to go try getting new glasses (since I managed to step on my old ones just a couple days before moving to Texas and haven’t had a chance to get new ones since). I found a LensCrafters at, of all places, the infamous Arboretum mall that had so dashed my hopes of there being an actual arboretum in Austin. Seemed simple enough — it was at the intersection of two major highways, and how hard could it be to find a massive mall? Answer: really hard. I got off the highway at the right exit and couldn’t find it! There were no signs or other indications of it, and so I drove for a bit to where I thought it ought to be. I found myself in a maze of strip-malls. Turns out the Arboretum isn’t an inside mall like we have up north, but rather a bazillion stores with attached parking lots seemingly randomly strewn about. And there were some signs saying Store X is this way and Store Y is that way, but they were small and not lit, so I couldn’t read them without stopping in the middle of the road. I eventually called Ben who looked up the mall online and got me there. Where I found out that Texas law prohibits fulfilling glasses prescriptions more than a year old. (Which mine is by a couple months.) And the optometrist had already gone home for the evening. Big Sigh. So then I had to try to figure out how to get out of the mall. So I turned around and went back the way I came. But that doesn’t work here. There are so many one ways and access roads and divided highways that you can’t just go back the way you came. I eventually had to make a couple U-turns (which are totally standard here — I have to make two every day to get Sean to daycare) and traverse a random unmarked road to get back to a highway. Except I decided not to get on the highway because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get off again. That, it turns out, was the right decision. I followed the horrible access roads back home, which was the correct way to navigate this intersection:

I would like to point out that this is just the intersection of two highways. A simple clover-leaf would do the trick anywhere else. But not here. It’s those awful access roads, I think. Blah.


And now for the mandatory cute Sean picture.

Ooh, look! Mommy and Daddy got me a cool gate to pull up on!

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