Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Joe Frank: Still Unsafe at Any Speed

Joe Frank: Still Unsafe at Any Speed

Almost a year ago, I got my learner's permit. Of course, those are only good for one year, and even my non-driver's license I got in 2001 was set to expire in November, after six years; and, my passport expired in March after 10 years of service, but I haven't wanted to spend the money on renewing it. So I had a pretty firm deadline to get a real grown-up driver's license, if nothing else to have a legally valid photo identification!

Yesterday, I passed the road test and got my license just before 5:00 PM!

I was very lucky. I arrived at the Deer Creek Shopping Center office (via walking from the MetroLink Sunnen stop) about 3 PM, checked in for the test, then waited until about 4:30 to actually take the test. I was probably the last one done that day.

My score was only 70 because I had some trouble quickly identifying and using the controls (!) like the defroster. I also left my brights on the whole time. It was mostly because I was nervous. But my driving was ok; my parallel parking between the posts/cones was horrendous.

But I passed!

Of course, it was raining when I took the test, so I took it extra slow through the residential streets of southeast Maplewood, the only streets on which the test goes.

After I finished the test, the rain stopped! Fortunately, we were able to follow the dotted line down the walkway and get into the License Office just before their 5 PM closing.

So now I don't have to worry about renewing my driver's license... until my 35th birthday!

Of course, now there's that pesky car registration due next month.

Still, I plan to continue using public transit as much as possible. Driving is especially convenient on weekends for shopping and errands. But for commuting, I'll stick with my 15-minute bus ride up Gravois/Tucker, at least for the time being.

And I'm still not quite ready for highway driving. Instead, for cross-town trips when I'm driving we take routes like Jefferson-to-Natural Bridge, or the Jennings Station/Kienlen/ Skinker/McCausland corridor. I also seem to really like driving on Delmar east of Skinker, and just the other day took Hodiamont as a shortcut from Skinker to Delmar. It's a little annoying that Delmar ends at Vandeventer, but you can just jog one block south to Washington, so it's not that bad.

But can somebody tell me why, on southbound Skinker, there's still a left-turn lane that disappears into nothing, where Rosedale Ave used to end? I suppose now it's just for that funky car wash; or a testament to the power of WashU.


MattHurst said...

i think i get it now - your confusion driving accross town is equivalent to my aloofness towards st louis's public transit. far be it for me to offer advice to a liscenesed driver, would you like to compare notes anyway?

Doug Duckworth said...

Do not go to the Lindell DMV! It is horribly slow. South Kingshighway is the best location in my opinion. If you are one day late there is a 25 dollar fee. Don't think they will use their street level discretion. They don't.