Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Cleaning: Carless Edition

Last Thursday was the first official day of spring, and we've been welcoming the new season with some spring cleaning here at Carless Central! We don't usually operate on such a seasonal schedule, but the issue was pushed this year when my father came to visit from Georgia two weekends ago. The purpose of his trip to OKC was twofold: the main reason, of course, was to see John and me for the first time since we moved here last September. The second reason was to bring a huge load of our remaining furniture and other belongings that were still in Georgia being stored at my parents' house. If you'll remember, we moved here on an airplane, with a couple of stuffed suitcases and two angry cats in tow. We had no furniture, and only as much clothing and bedding as we could carry in our baggage.

Very Impatient Pet
We had already received one carload of belongings when John's dad visited us back in November, and we've been purchasing furniture since we've been here in OKC. We were anxiously awaiting a dresser and two sizeable bookshelves from my parents' house, in addition to the assorted clothing, books, musical instruments and equipment, wall art, etc that we left behind as well. What we were not expecting, however, was the sheer AMOUNT that was coming. For example, I've moved multiple times in the last few years, and because my parents lived nearby while I was living in Georgia, I was able to keep things at their house when I needed to. In that time, I've amassed an absurd amount of clothing, and I didn't realize exactly HOW MUCH until my mother packed all of it to send with my dad.

After a fun weekend spent showing my dad and his best friend around Oklahoma City, we settled in to assess the situation. We had boxes and bags up to our eyeballs, wall to wall, and it was obvious that we were going to have to do a serious amount of unpacking, organizing, cleaning, and, most importantly, DONATING what we didn't need or want anymore. It took several days, but we finally got everything sorted, and then we were faced with the prospect of getting a massive number of bags of clothes and boxes of other items to the Goodwill Donation Center on NW 23rd. Without a car. 

That's a lot of junk.

Ready to go!
Luckily, we are members of TimeCar, and we have access to a Ford Ranger AND a Nissan Frontier for short-term rentals when and if we need them. Our plan was to rent the Ranger from the Deep Deuce TimeCar location, which is a short walk for us, load it up at the apartment and then drive it to the donation center. What actually happened was that by the time we were ready to take this excursion, the Ranger was already rented from the Deep Deuce location. The Frontier was still available at the OCU location, which is about 2 miles away from us - a walkable distance in theory, but this was last Sunday morning, and I don't know if any of you remember, but the weather here was very cold and extremely windy, and we were not in the mood for an arctic adventure. We took Uber to OCU instead, which was super convenient and affordable, as always, and well worth the money not to freeze our butts off OR waste time. 
We had a little bit of trouble finding the OCU TimeCar location on campus (just so you know, it's near 27th and Florida), but once we found the truck, we were on our way. We ran a couple of other "car errands," then headed to the apartment, loaded up the truck with all of our items, and happily unloaded it all at the donation center for Goodwill to deal with. In case you're wondering, giving to the donation center is a breeze, at least it was at the location on 23rd. We backed the truck up to the door, the two attendants helped us get everything out, and then we were on our way. After dropping off the truck at OCU, the weather had warmed up just a smidge, enough that we were able to take a nice (but chilly) walk home!


Because we are carless, this spring cleaning venture could have been a big pain bordering on impossible, but because we have a membership with TimeCar, we were able to easily get a truck and take care of all of our hauling needs. I know we've bragged about TimeCar a lot, but we always manage to find new, helpful ways to use the service. Maybe you can use it, too. Happy Spring Cleaning!

Timecar saves the day!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

You vs. A Two-Ton Death Machine: What To Do If You Get Hit By A Car While Walking

You’re walking down the sidewalk on the right side of the road and get to an intersection. You see the Don’t Walk sign is on so you pull out your phone and check to see if you’ve gotten any messages. You put up your phone and look up to see the sign change to Walk and step out into the intersection. Unfortunately, you didn’t see the car to your left who has decided to turn right on red, and everything happens really quickly, and you get hit. 

What do you do?

Unfortunately, this and many variants of this situation occur daily in our country, and every 3 days in Oklahoma City on average. And most of the time they end in injury. In fact, out of the more than 1,400 pedestrian collisions that have occurred in OKC since 2003, less accidents have resulted in no injuries than have resulted in a pedestrian fatality.

If you were in the situation described above it would be less likely that you would suffer serious injury as a car turning right on red is probably traveling relatively slowly. Speed is the real killer, which is why nearly 95% of all pedestrian collision fatalities occur on streets with a speed limit of 30 mph or greater.

So what do you do in this situation? I’m no lawyer, but I’ll do my best to offer advice based on what I’ve learned.

  • If you see that you’re about to be hit by a car and there’s no chance of getting out of the way, try to jump up so that you land on the hood; it’s much better to go over a car than under a car.
  • First thing is first; seek immediate medical attention, as internal injuries may not manifest themselves for some time.
  • Call the police as well to get them onto the scene to file a report. If there are witnesses, have them speak with the police. If the driver leaves the scene, witnesses will be your best chance at justice.
  • Exchange insurance information with the driver. If you have car insurance, use it. If not, then health insurance. If you are uninsured, things are going to be more difficult if any of the liability rests upon you.
  • Do NOT discuss the accident with anyone except the police. And when you do, do not assign blame or make any accusations; the investigation will take care of this.
  • If you plan to make a claim on the driver’s insurance, speak with an attorney to ensure that you do not somehow get cheated out of what is due to you.
  • Take pictures if possible of injuries, the scene, and any damage that occurs to belongings.
Who is at fault will be determined by a variety of measures, so it’s best if you make sure that you have followed all of the laws that govern pedestrianism. In Oklahoma City the laws surrounding crossing at intersections are quite outdated, and could lead to you being liable for being hit even if you think that you’ve followed all of the rules:

§ 32-66. Pedestrian control signals.
Special pedestrian control signals exhibiting the words "walk," "wait" or "don't walk" shall regulate pedestrian movement as follows:

(1) "Walk." Pedestrians facing such signal may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal and shall be given the right-of-way by the drivers of all vehicles.

(2) "Wait" or "don't walk." No pedestrian shall start to cross the roadway in the direction of such signal, but any pedestrian who has partially completed his crossing on the "walk" signal shall proceed to a sidewalk or safety zone while the "wait" signal is showing.

The signals downtown give you 6 seconds of “Walk” and then around 20 seconds of flashing “Don’t Walk”, and this ordinance seems to say that if you were to walk out into the intersection after 7 seconds of the “Walk” sign coming on, you would then be held liable for the collision as you are not allowed to start to cross a roadway, even though 20 seconds is more than enough time to cross a 4-lane street. I’ve timed myself, and I usually get a little over half-way across the street before the “Don’t Walk” signal begins flashing. Other signals in the city have countdowns, which are much better.

Don’t jaywalk. Well, do it if there’s no chance of you being hit and you’re paying attention, but as a rule – Don’t jaywalk. If you’re hit while jaywalking, you’re likely to incur the majority of the liability for your injuries.

Don’t wear headphones. You could be accused of negligence for not being aware of your surroundings being distracted by your music device/phone.

Don’t cut corners on crosswalks. If you step out of the designated crosswalk area, you could bear liability for not following the rules.

Don’t risk it. If you have the right-of-way and a vehicle doesn’t look like it is going to yield to you, don’t risk being hit. “I had the right-of-way” would make a great inscription on a tombstone.

If you follow all the rules for being a pedestrian, in case you do get hit someday, you shouldn’t be liable for covering the costs of injury, suffering, and property damage.

Be safe out there.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Midtown - Carless Rating #8

With all of the walkability ratings that we've done here at Carless In OKC, there's one glaring omission when you consider that we live downtown, and that's Midtown. 

Carless Rating: Midtown - 21/25

Midtown is our home base. It is one of the closest districts to our apartment building, with an array of restaurant options, most of which are super affordable. Our favorites (so far) are Irma's and Boulevard - we've got a thing for home cooking, being recent transplants from the South. Our closest TimeCar location is in Midtown, in in the parking lot of Brown's Bakery. We can have drink at our favorite bar, McNellie's, where the beer list never fails to astound us, and the atmosphere is bustling and cozy. There's not one but two bakeries in Midtown, Brown's (where I like to buy donuts), and the amazing Prairie Thunder Baking Company. At Prairie Thunder, one can eat a delicious breakfast or lunch (we've only eaten breakfast there so far, and it's SO tasty), pick out a delectable dessert pastry (the almond croissants always call my name), and then take home a loaf of their fresh-baked bread, which is delicious, rustic, and made without any preservatives. Yes please!

Prairie Thunder Baking Company

You've heard us harp repeatedly on the necessity of a downtown full-service grocery store, and if we had our choice, we'd put that store in Midtown. It's the perfect location, and there's already a good bit of development going on in the area, so it would be a very natural part of the growth and diversification that's happening there. 

We're still making the rounds in Midtown. I'm anxiously awaiting my first trip to Waffle Champion, and one of these days I'll finally have a bison burger from Kaiser's. Tell us about some of your favorite places in Midtown! We would love your suggestions. 

McNellie's Pub
And now for the walkability rating!

Midtown is located just about half a mile from our apartment (actually less, because we take a shortcut), which would get an A rating for distance.
The walk to and within Midtown gets a B rating for pedestrian infrastructure. We are able to take safe, well-maintained sidewalks all the way to Midtown. There are usually crosswalks and crossing signals when we need them, but the pedestrian infrastructure isn't always very ADA-accessible. 

Midtown has a good array of transportation options. There's obviously the road and car infrastructure, with the added bonus of the roundabout at Classen and 10th, which drivers seem to be figuring out a little more every day. Bus route 5 runs through the area, and Bus route 4 to a lesser extent. There are also sidewalks for pedestrians, but no bike lanes. The roads are also fairly narrow in the area, so it doesn't seem like the safest place to bike, although the roads leading into and out of Midtown are wider. I'll rate Midtown a B for transportation options. 
The land use in Midtown is good, and seems to be getting better. A lot of older buildings are being repurposed, and the density is fairly high in the residential areas. There are some areas that could be developed to make the land use even better; the area where the holiday pop-up shops were held would make a fantastic small park area (I'm having a total Leslie Knope moment here - there's a pit and everything). Land use in Midtown gets a B.
I love the atmosphere in Midtown! It feels like a special little community within the city, but I would, however, like to see Midtown start its own regular, monthly event like Automobile Alley's Shop Hop, Plaza District's Live on the Plaza, or Premiere on Film Row. Midtown's aesthetic also adds to the atmosphere with its classy vintage vibe. Midtown's atmosphere gets a B - that A is totally attainable in the future with a little more community involvement! The holiday pop-up shops were a great event and really demonstrated the potential of Midtown to host its own monthly shindig. (I just realized something: does H & 8th count as being in Midtown? To me, it's not the same. The Hudson & 8th St strip is its own little district as far as I'm concerned, and I'm ANXIOUSLY awaiting more development there. I'm talking about something in the area of the pop-up shops.)

More of this, please!

 Overall, Midtown gets a solid 21 out of 25! All the elements are there for Midtown to score even higher, so let's all support and encourage the district so that they'll know that we want more Midtown!