From all indications, this year will be the most aggravating road construction season in decades. Not only will key parts of Washington Road go to gridlock, but connecting arteries like Cochran Road and Bower Hill Road will add to the delay. And Mt. Lebanon isn’t the only community planning to embroil traffic — roadblocks are popping up everywhere.
Yes, it will certainly be frustrating, maddening, infuriating to be stuck in a two-mile-per-hour parade. Add the summer heat, boiling radiators, dying air conditioners and an occasional fender-bender. It will be recipe for Hell on Earth. Yet, inevitable as all this will be, you don’t have to join in.
There is another way. A better way. Make it a game. All you have to do is change your attitude from negative to positive.
Of course, this game will require you to change the way you customarily do things. Change is like that. You must break old habits, be imaginative, invent new pathways. And along the way, become totally unpredictable. Nevertheless, under these circumstances, the change is worth it. As one of those self-help books preaches: “The behavior that got you here isn’t going to work anymore.”
My dentist, who drives between Upper St Clair and Crafton every day, has developed a cunning way to avoid most of the traffic during rush hour. It took him years to perfect his route. And now, when it really counts, his secret trail will get him around the entire Mt. Lebanon construction zone with ease.
You can do it, too. But don’t ask my dentist how. You have a different starting and ending point. You have to figure it out yourself. Thats most of the fun.
Here’s a few tips:
• Scout enemy territory during low traffic times. The obstacle course is constantly changing.
• Practice and perfect your run-around routes. For complex routes, keep a notebook.
• Consider changing the places where you buy groceries, gas, fast food. Choose destinations that don’t require crossing enemy lines.
• When it makes sense, walk, ride a bicycle, take the T or just stay home.
• Shop as much as possible on Sunday. Stockpile.
• Order more stuff on-line.
• Work on your house.
• Read. Electronic books are best — they come to you, courtesy of Amazon, in a whisper.
• Most of all, when you must drive, keep your eyes and mind on the road. If you surrender to distractions, you could miss the only opportunity to duck into a side street before being enveloped in a 30-minute road trap.
• And every time you outwit the enemy, celebrate.