Because the park separates the lanes of Friendship at Gross, eastbound traffic can go three ways at the intersection: straight on Friendship, left onto Gross or left in a u-turn back onto Friendship. It’s a three-way intersection stuck onto half a roundabout.
While unusual, this design doesn’t actually pose any problems not encountered by any intersection where one car wants to turn left through opposing traffic. A wordy sign tacked up just out of view reminds the eastbound lane of Friendship that the “left turn yields to oncoming traffic.” Even so, drivers at this intersection honk all day. All day.
Someone just honked, right now.
That one was a short burst, but the honking is usually a sustained blast that signifies anger, not danger. Now that it’s warm, and drivers have their windows rolled down, the final syllables of taunts emerge when the honking ends: “Cker!” or “S’hole!” A recent investigation at street level revealed that the honking often comes from the driver second in line on the eastbound lane of Friendship. That driver is waiting while the driver in front of him is waiting for a break on the other lane of Friendship that will let him turn.
Sometimes, though, the honking is legitimate, such as the anxious one that quickly preceded the screeching tires and a metallic clunk one night last November, just before Thanksgiving. An emergency crew spent half an hour using the Jaws of Life to extricate a driver from a red sedan parked on the sidewalk between a hydrant and a traffic pole.
Another driver just honked, a long one. It’s annoying, but a neighbor recently offered a thought that takes the edge off a bit. He believes car horns can be clues. Sometimes he’ll be sitting in his living room thinking spiritual thoughts — “in between places,” as he described it — when a horn goes off, here and there. It affirms his meditations. The drivers outside have no idea of the service they are providing. They only feel concern, annoyance or impatience, but perhaps their brief encounter serves an additional purpose.