Small Town Traffic · 25 August 2018

You would think traffic in a small town would be, well, small. But that is not the case around here.

I live in a small town and work in another small town down the road. The traffic is usually pretty good traveling in them and between them. Usually. Unfortunately, there are times when it is downright intolerable.

Part of the traffic problem in our small towns is that we are very near a sprawling metropolis. Two in reality. Seattle and Bellevue are far enough away that a visitor might think their effect would be negligible. However, since my towns are bedroom communities for those cities, their effect is huge.

Traffic is also affected by the notion that the roads should always be torn up. There is always work to be done. And so there always seems to be delays due to construction. Or maybe that is just recent rather than ongoing. It just seems to be ongoing all the time. A construction project here. An improvement there. Flaggers or at least signs seem to be everywhere slowing the traffic down.

I must admit though that the biggest traffic problem only comes around once a year. Which makes it tolerable. But it is a yearly event. The Evergreen State Fair.

Tractor Crossing
by Fry1989
This work is in the public domain.

We usually go to the fair to enjoy the animals and the vendors. We like to just wander around checking out the trailers and RVs and other stuff. We like to people watch. And of course, there is the food. We do not always eat there, but the smell of onion rings and fried onions and cotton candy and barbeque are all around. The aroma is both scrumptious and overpowering.

So what does the fair have to do with traffic? Everything.

The only thing that makes sense of the traffic is thinking about population. The fair is a way for our small town to grow to double its size. For twelve days a year. That doubling (or whatever the figure) causes the traffic to come to a standstill. Hurry up and wait to get through town. Make sure to go early. Do not come to town or leave town at specific times of the day. Of course, these are good warnings for most commuters, but they are especially true during the fair. In fact, it is just best to avoid going anywhere at all while the fair is open. Close the doors and stay home until the population goes back to normal. Unless, of course, you are going to the fair.

I like living and working in small towns. They have a great sense of community. I just wish that my small towns could just have small town traffic. All the time.

© 2018 Michael T. Miyoshi

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