Waymo Cars Queue to Navigate a Dead End on a San Francisco Street

cageymaru

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The one quiet neighborhood in San Francisco is abuzz with the hum of Waymo self-driving vehicles. Every 5 minutes, these autonomous vehicles are queueing in line to perform a turnaround at the end of a dead end street and the residents of the neighborhood, many of which still work from home, are confused as to why this is happening. The vehicles have human drivers that can takeover control of the vehicle if the self-driving mode fails, but they say the vehicles are following their programming. Is this our automated driving future? Waiting at a dead end in a queue?




In an emailed statement, a Waymo spokesperson said, “We continually adjust to dynamic San Francisco road rules. In this case, cars traveling North of California on 15th Ave have to take a u-turn due to the presence of Slow Streets signage on Lake. So, the Waymo Driver was obeying the same road rules that any car is required to follow.”
 

ng4ever

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I read about them in Arizona. They do ok but take 2 to 3 times as long to get where you are going.

To be honest I don't care. I can plan accordingly.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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So,
In an emailed statement, a Waymo spokesperson said, “We continually adjust to dynamic San Francisco road rules. In this case, cars traveling North of California on 15th Ave have to take a u-turn due to the presence of Slow Streets signage on Lake. So, the Waymo Driver was obeying the same road rules that any car is required to follow.”

I don't know what "Slow Streets Signage" is. I don't think we have that around here, but it sounds like all the real drivers are disregarding the law. The only ones obeying it are the Waymo cars. Pretty funny.

Same reason self driving cars have a difficult time merging into busy traffic. They are programmed to find a safe distance between cars before merging, whereas real drivers just force their way in and hope for the best.
 

ng4ever

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So,


I don't know what "Slow Streets Signage" is. I don't think we have that around here, but it sounds like all the real drivers are disregarding the law. The only ones obeying it are the Waymo cars. Pretty funny.

Same reason self driving cars have a difficult time merging into busy traffic. They are programmed to find a safe distance between cars before merging, whereas real drivers just force their way in and hope for the best.

I don't consider it funny.
 

ng4ever

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If I was going to Arizona where these cars are live now I would definitely try them!
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Should ride a bicycle instead.

It will be a cold day in hell before I ever use a bicycle as a mode of transportation.

Recreation? Sure. Maybe I'll but a bike on my car and drive to a nice place for a bike ride, then put it back on my car and drive home, but as a means of transportation it will never happen.

The only way I am not driving my own car wherever I am going is if there is drinking involved. Then I may have to take a cab or one of these terminator vehicles. If I am traveling somewhere by plane, once I arrive I will rent a car.

The U.S. is and will always be the home of the driving your own car everywhere. Walking? Biking? Public Transit? Car Sharing service? Car pooling? You want to get laughed out of a room? because that's how you get laughed out of a room.

None of these are legitimate alternatives.
 

HeadRusch

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If the Waymos take 3 times as long, do they cost 3 times less? Why make them Taxis, make them tour bus routes instead...I'm assuming they chose Arizona because the chances of bad/winter weather are slim to none so they can operate year round, and the road (from memory) in places like Phoenix tend to be huge grid systems....???
"And to your right we have our luxurious string of Mortuaries catering to the needs of our aged population that like to retire here to stay warm before dying......further up the road on the left you will see Big Eds Golf Cart Emporium and Cadillac Dealership..."

Guessing these don't do so well navigating canyons tho.......
 

Armenius

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It will be a cold day in hell before I ever use a bicycle as a mode of transportation.

Recreation? Sure. Maybe I'll but a bike on my car and drive to a nice place for a bike ride, then put it back on my car and drive home, but as a means of transportation it will never happen.

The only way I am not driving my own car wherever I am going is if there is drinking involved. Then I may have to take a cab or one of these terminator vehicles. If I am traveling somewhere by plane, once I arrive I will rent a car.

The U.S. is and will always be the home of the driving your own car everywhere. Walking? Biking? Public Transit? Car Sharing service? Car pooling? You want to get laughed out of a room? because that's how you get laughed out of a room.

None of these are legitimate alternatives.
If you have your own car then why are you worried about a taxiing service? This is for people who do not have a car. I can imagine using one if you don't want to worry about the limited parking availability in a large city, too.
 

GreenLaser

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I work literally less than a mile from the Waymo vehicle facility in AZ. I see the cars and also semi trucks doing loops all the time. IMO they found an abberation in the wild so theyre mapping around it and refining their algos.
 

DejaWiz

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Waymo? More like....Lame-O!

Rimshot.gif


They'll have it sorted out in a year or two as more mapping and traffic logic get developed and implemented.
 

GreenLaser

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It will be a cold day in hell before I ever use a bicycle as a mode of transportation.

Recreation? Sure. Maybe I'll but a bike on my car and drive to a nice place for a bike ride, then put it back on my car and drive home, but as a means of transportation it will never happen.

The only way I am not driving my own car wherever I am going is if there is drinking involved. Then I may have to take a cab or one of these terminator vehicles. If I am traveling somewhere by plane, once I arrive I will rent a car.

The U.S. is and will always be the home of the driving your own car everywhere. Walking? Biking? Public Transit? Car Sharing service? Car pooling? You want to get laughed out of a room? because that's how you get laughed out of a room.

None of these are legitimate alternatives.

After they cancel the internal combustion engine and E-TCO goes thru the roof you will not own your own transportation unless you email ends with .gov. Youll go on your phone app, punch in the destination and moments later a state owned Johnny cab will show up. Before departure your social score will be checked for compliance and authorization after which the most efficient route is calculated and locked in. Of course cigarrettes, weed, snacks, drinks and air cond or heat will be available for extra charge (including taxes, surcharges and luxury fees). Costs will be deducted form you IRS controlled bank credits. Coincidence? ...Johhny looks like a younger Joe? ...jusrt as creepy.

1634323769824.png
 

TheSlySyl

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The U.S. is and will always be the home of the driving your own car everywhere. Walking? Biking? Public Transit? Car Sharing service? Car pooling? You want to get laughed out of a room? because that's how you get laughed out of a room.
Really, really depends on location. Walking, biking and public transit are all entirely worthwhile and even superior to car driving in multiple areas I've lived in.
 

toast0

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It will be a cold day in hell before I ever use a bicycle as a mode of transportation.

Recreation? Sure. Maybe I'll but a bike on my car and drive to a nice place for a bike ride, then put it back on my car and drive home, but as a means of transportation it will never happen.

The only way I am not driving my own car wherever I am going is if there is drinking involved. Then I may have to take a cab or one of these terminator vehicles. If I am traveling somewhere by plane, once I arrive I will rent a car.

The U.S. is and will always be the home of the driving your own car everywhere. Walking? Biking? Public Transit? Car Sharing service? Car pooling? You want to get laughed out of a room? because that's how you get laughed out of a room.

None of these are legitimate alternatives.
Driving your own car sucks if you have to pay for or fight for parking when you get there. I was biking to work for a while because it was the fastest way to get to the office from the ferry terminal, plus biking past cars stuck in traffic is free entertainment. :) (OTOH, crashing because of trolley rails was probably free entertainment for others)
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Driving your own car sucks if you have to pay for or fight for parking when you get there. I was biking to work for a while because it was the fastest way to get to the office from the ferry terminal, plus biking past cars stuck in traffic is free entertainment. :) (OTOH, crashing because of trolley rails was probably free entertainment for others)
I feel like biking to work sounds great on paper, but in practice it sucks.

Even in the northeast we have hot humid summers. No one would want to spend an hour with me in a conference room if I rode my bike to work.

Then there is the winter. Ice, snow do not make for good surfaces to ride a balance-based two wheel vehicle on. And inclement weather in general is also no fun. I don't want to ride (or even walk) in the rain.

I want to be snug in my own car, where I don't have to deal with any other people or the weather outside.

I can't imagine a workplace not providing ample free parking for all of its employees. I wouldn't accept a job at a place that didn't. That's just a base expectation of any employer, IMHO. You can't be bothered to provide me with ample, safe protected company exclusive parking? Then I can't be bothered to work there. Bye.

Traffic is real, and it does suck, and it's only getting worse through a combination of groing populations, and these fucktards stealing our lanes to put in bike lanes, restaurant seating, parks and other nonsense. Keep it up and there will be pitchforks.
 

toast0

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I can't imagine a workplace not providing ample free parking for all of its employees. I wouldn't accept a job at a place that didn't. That's just a base expectation of any employer, IMHO. You can't be bothered to provide me with ample, safe protected company exclusive parking? Then I can't be bothered to work there. Bye.

Don't work for any of the big internet companies then; they tend to have enough parking if you don't want to get into work early. And don't work at the FB Seattle building, which is downtown enough to charge for parking (although they were openning a Bellevue location when I was leaving, I don't know if they still have a Seattle office, or if Bellevue has decent parking). Probably don't work downtown anywhere.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Don't work for any of the big internet companies then; they tend to have enough parking if you don't want to get into work early. And don't work at the FB Seattle building, which is downtown enough to charge for parking (although they were openning a Bellevue location when I was leaving, I don't know if they still have a Seattle office, or if Bellevue has decent parking). Probably don't work downtown anywhere.

Well, this might be industry specific, but I have always worked in Medical Device R&D and Manufacturing.

We tend to roll our eyes at the big fancy downtown finance, pharma, biotech and tech types who love to needlessly blow money on fancy downtown campuses. We tend to locate where price per square foot is cheap, because paying lots for a building does not result in return on investment. It helps a little bit if you want to recruit young talent, but young talent is usually mostly useless. it's better to pick them up once they get older and have someone else beat some sense into their work habits and teach them valuable skills on their dime instead of on ours :p It would be one thing if they stayed around, but that's not how people work anymore. Most are in and out in 2 years or less. You'd be crazy to try to train someone on the job, putting all that money in, and once they gain the experience they are gone.

...and I wouldn't have it any other way. When I was in my 20's I used to think I would like working in a downtown location (though I never got around to actually doing it). Now I wouldn't even consider it. I like living near a major city for the amenities that provides, but I try to avoid ever going downtown for any reason.

I live in metro Boston, but I can't even tell you the last time I was in Boston proper. Its been many years. Closest I've gotten was nearby Cambridge, and that was bad enough.

I live in one suburb, and I drive to another suburb for work (or I did, I've been working 100% from home since March 2020.)

The less I have to deal with (or see, or smell) other people the better. And there are fewer other people out here :p

I will say this though. I do miss the food. Even here just 10-15 miles outside the city the food is just not the same. We have ethnically diverse restaurants of many sorts, but they just don't taste the same. And even when you order something "extra spicy" it kind of comes out bland. That's suburb life I guess.
 
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TheSlySyl

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I can't imagine a workplace not providing ample free parking for all of its employees. I wouldn't accept a job at a place that didn't. That's just a base expectation of any employer, IMHO. You can't be bothered to provide me with ample, safe protected company exclusive parking? Then I can't be bothered to work there. Bye.
Stay in your little secluded corner of the NE then, in most other major cities around the world, its easier to public transit in a big city and parking isn't expected at all. Not for anything.

The whole snow argument is something I completely and totally forgot about because I haven't lived anywhere that it snowed for the past 20+ years of my life. Snow does sound inconvenient.

I personally can't wait for self driving vehicles, they'll make it to my sleepy little town someday.
 
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serpretetsky

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The U.S. is and will always be the home of the driving your own car everywhere. Walking? Biking? Public Transit? Car Sharing service? Car pooling? You want to get laughed out of a room? because that's how you get laughed out of a room.

None of these are legitimate alternatives.
shrug. I bike to work 2 or 3 times a week. We have a shower, so that definitely makes it nice. Last place I worked at didn't have a shower, but it was a 15min bike ride so no problem. Have done public transport too.

Laughed out of a room?? huh?
 

sfsuphysics

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So,


I don't know what "Slow Streets Signage" is. I don't think we have that around here, but it sounds like all the real drivers are disregarding the law. The only ones obeying it are the Waymo cars. Pretty funny.
Originally it started as a way to make some (very few actually) streets similar to streets of old, where you could ride a bike down the street without worry too much about a shit ton of traffic. Some streets were even closed off to vehicles all together, main one through Golden Gate Park, another one along the beach. This was primarily done to allow some level of safety when everyone was cooped up at home for them to actually go out and ride bikes, walk, etc. while allowing people to remain socially distanced. Very few actual streets actually do this though. As the lockdown has eased up, the slow street program slowly is going away, although some streets have gotten reasons to keep it, with signs saying "road closed to through traffic, locals only" there's one street near my kid's school that is 6 or 8 blocks long & the same street as the school drop off (doesn't mean you can't drive on it, since you are a "local" if you're dropping off your kid), there was one a number of blocks down the hill next to a park. Basically a way to make some streets "local only" and not used as a way to cut through, which whatever again very few streets use them, most of the streets are residential with many other streets that parallel them.

Not even sure if there are any legal ramifications for going down when if you're not "local", it's just a sign that says it.

That said, if Waymo is going to a dead end to turn around that's on Waymo for being inefficient as fuck. Which isn't a surprise since Google owns them, and there have been a number of times instead of telling me to make 3 rights and a left it throws up "when you can safely make a U-Turn..." bottom line, all the blame needs to go to Google for making that the choice to do.

Oh yeah I see Waymo cars all the time, they drive like cars on city streets, i.e. speed limit, which may piss people off, but whatever. One thing I saw that did make me happy, was a woman with a baby stroller running out against the crosswalk light trying to catch a connecting bus while the Waymo had the green light, and the Waymo didn't go ED-209 and murder the mother and daughter, it simply stopped.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Laughed out of a room?? huh?

...if you try to propose it as viable alternative to more than a tiny minority of the population.

shrug. I bike to work 2 or 3 times a week. We have a shower, so that definitely makes it nice. Last place I worked at didn't have a shower, but it was a 15min bike ride so no problem. Have done public transport too.

Shower at work? I mean, how does that work? Do you pack work clothes? An iron?

I understand that weirdo tech companies have dropped all sense of decorum in the office, but I could't do it, and I don't even wear suits to work.

Riding a bike to work in pressed dress pants and a button down shirt just wouldn't be a winning combo, and I couldn't justify throwing them in a backpack and putting them on at work, they'd be all messed up, crushed and wrinkled by the time I got there.
 

M76

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Same reason self driving cars have a difficult time merging into busy traffic. They are programmed to find a safe distance between cars before merging, whereas real drivers just force their way in and hope for the best.
Our traffic laws says you are allowed to "disturb" the traffic in case it is so packed that there are no openings, you don't have to grow old and be buried at the intersection. Of course if the the traffic has to use emergency braking to not hit you that's a no no. But making them slow down slightly is allowed. Even though most people are oblivious to this law and will get mad because they had to slightly take their foot off the accelerator.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Our traffic laws says you are allowed to "disturb" the traffic in case it is so packed that there are no openings, you don't have to grow old and be buried at the intersection. Of course if the the traffic has to use emergency braking to not hit you that's a no no. But making them slow down slightly is allowed. Even though most people are oblivious to this law and will get mad because they had to slightly take their foot off the accelerator.

When I learned to drive I was taught that if you ever do anything that requires another driver to take any action (slow down, change course, brake, etc) you have just done something irresponsible and wrong.

Other drivers should always be able to continue along their existing course and speed without taking any action what so ever because of you. It is your responsibility to only merge when you can do so without impacting others in any way at all.

This was hammered in pretty strongly, and I still believe it wholeheartedly. People who take any action while driving counting on someone else to do something - no matter how small - to avoid hitting them, should not have a license.
 

M76

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Really, really depends on location. Walking, biking and public transit are all entirely worthwhile and even superior to car driving in multiple areas I've lived in.
I'm sorry but even in Europe which supposed to have much better public transit than anywhere in the US, I've never seen a place where public transit was superior to driving. Let's just say if you have no other means it is possible to get everywhere with public transit, but it most certainly not be better. Especially if your destination and starting point are both outside the city center, because 99% of public transit is arranged in the star layout, meaning form A to a central location, and from B to another central location. As long as you want to get to or from the city center it is only 30-50% slower than driving. But as soon as you have to go from point A to B, you have to go through a central location even if A and B are not that far apart. In this case public transit can take anywhere up to 5 times more than driving.
 

michalrz

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What if the AI is right, though?
What if its brain learned that doing this will reduce the risk of collisions at intersections exactly 200ft away with at least two roads crossing at an angle of 89 degrees?
What if your car will refuse to leave the garage because it's likely, based on data from other vehicles, that the risk of a pile-up is too high?
 

M76

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When I learned to drive I was taught that if you ever do anything that requires another driver to take any action (slow down, change course, brake, etc) you have just done something irresponsible and wrong.

Other drivers should always be able to continue along their existing course and speed without taking any action what so ever because of you. It is your responsibility to only merge when you can do so without impacting others in any way at all.

This was hammered in pretty strongly, and I still believe it wholeheartedly. People who take any action while driving counting on someone else to do something - no matter how small - to avoid hitting them, should not have a license.
You always take action to not hit other people. Or do you just drive like there are no other cars on the road? Either way this is the letter of the law in Hungary. That you are allowed to disturb the traffic who have right of way in heavy traffic conditions. So how this makes you feel is quite irrelevant. I don't think teaching that you are untouchable if you have the right of way is a good thing either. Here, what is getting drilled into people is that you only have the right of way if other people give it to you. Which means always be prepared to slow down and don't assume anything.
 

kirbyrj

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You always take action to not hit other people. Or do you just drive like there are no other cars on the road? Either way this is the letter of the law in Hungary. That you are allowed to disturb the traffic who have right of way in heavy traffic conditions. So how this makes you feel is quite irrelevant. I don't think teaching that you are untouchable if you have the right of way is a good thing either. Here, what is getting drilled into people is that you only have the right of way if other people give it to you. Which means always be prepared to slow down and don't assume anything.

"Right of Way" is something that only comes into play when there's a crash and the cops have to figure out who is to blame. What Zarathustra is saying is that anytime the merging car causes a crash, it is the merging car's fault because the people in the existing lane had the right of way.

There's a difference between what he's saying and the actual practice when there is heavy traffic which practically turns into "you have the right of way if other people give it to you," pay attention to everything, and don't assume people are going to abide by the actual rules of the road. Sure, in practice, people are just going to pull out in heavy traffic whether or not they are technically allowed to or not.

I'm sure even in Europe yield means yield, and if the merging car crashes into the car in the lane, regardless of heavy traffic, the merging car would be at fault and not the other way around.
 

M76

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I'm sure even in Europe yield means yield, and if the merging car crashes into the car in the lane, regardless of heavy traffic, the merging car would be at fault and not the other way around.
If someone pulls out in front of you and you refuse to reduce your speed even slightly and thus crash into the car it is your fault. As you are obliged to do everything to avoid a collision. Refusing to break to prove a point is silly. This is the same kind of mentality a lot of people do when they not just won't slow down, but deliberately accelerate to prevent others from merging in front of them.

The only time where an accident is clearly the merging cars fault is if they pull out within your breaking distance. If someone pulls in front of you that doesn't mean you have the right to crash into them and it will entirely be their fault automatically.

Of course common courtesy suggests that you don't pull out in front of other cars if there is plenty of space behind them or after waiting a few seconds. But if they have been waiting at the intersection for minutes, and they see a slightly bigger gap then pulling out is not a cardinal sin, even if the next driver has to lift off the gas.
 

pendragon1

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you guys get the difference between merging and yielding right?!
at a merge both cars are supposed to be at responsible; the one merging matches speed as best as possible, the one travelling straight speed up or slows down to allow them to merge safely
at a yield, the "merging" car stops until they can go safely, traveling traffic does not have to yield to them.
 

Bowman15

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I have no skin in the game but I'd rather they have these outlier problems than the vehicles trying to drive through dead end streets at 30 mph.
 

serpretetsky

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...if you try to propose it as viable alternative to more than a tiny minority of the population.



Shower at work? I mean, how does that work? Do you pack work clothes? An iron?

I understand that weirdo tech companies have dropped all sense of decorum in the office, but I could't do it, and I don't even wear suits to work.

Riding a bike to work in pressed dress pants and a button down shirt just wouldn't be a winning combo, and I couldn't justify throwing them in a backpack and putting them on at work, they'd be all messed up, crushed and wrinkled by the time I got there.

Yes, clothes in backpack. No iron. No, I dont care about wrinkles. I doubt any of my coworkers care about my wrinkles either. Other people might have better solutions for wrinkles, I never researched it.
 

MrCaffeineX

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Really, really depends on location. Walking, biking and public transit are all entirely worthwhile and even superior to car driving in multiple areas I've lived in.
The people at the Subaru dealer look at me funny because I ride my bike home after dropping my wife's car off for service, if I'm not waiting there for it to be completed. Why would I want to pay for an Uber, inconvenience a friend or my wife to give me a lift a few miles up the road?

Having said that, additional bike lanes would be appreciated around here by more people than just myself. Either that or some enforcement of the "Bicycles Allowed Full Use of Lane" rules...

My favorite part of town is where there is a bike lane every other block, but no shoulder area and signs saying you're not allowed to ride on the sidewalk on the blocks where the bike lanes disappear.
 

toast0

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...if you try to propose it as viable alternative to more than a tiny minority of the population.



Shower at work? I mean, how does that work? Do you pack work clothes? An iron?

I understand that weirdo tech companies have dropped all sense of decorum in the office, but I could't do it, and I don't even wear suits to work.

Riding a bike to work in pressed dress pants and a button down shirt just wouldn't be a winning combo, and I couldn't justify throwing them in a backpack and putting them on at work, they'd be all messed up, crushed and wrinkled by the time I got there.

I guess you don't have mormon missionaries riding bicycles around in dress clothes near you. Seemed to work for them in SoCal. Of course, I've mostly worked for weirdo tech companies, so stuff a change of socks and a t-shirt in a bag and there you go after the shower. I dress nicer to go volunteer at my kids school, or when I need to bank in person than I did for work. I'd actually try to wear a shirt with a collar on days I was interviewing candidates so the candidate wouldn't feel too overdressed if they hadn't gotten the memo and wore business casual
 

noko

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Our traffic laws says you are allowed to "disturb" the traffic in case it is so packed that there are no openings, you don't have to grow old and be buried at the intersection. Of course if the the traffic has to use emergency braking to not hit you that's a no no. But making them slow down slightly is allowed. Even though most people are oblivious to this law and will get mad because they had to slightly take their foot off the accelerator.
lol, when I learned how to drive in Boston (Was stationed close by so took trips to Boston), I learned driving a beat up car, had a Nova being renovated with some dings and aiming, going towards shinny BMWs, Porsches, New cars and what not I immediately got openings, turn abouts were everywhere. I understood from that point why yellow cabs were all beat up, one look and those with high $ car drivers became fearful of imminent bending.
 

sfsuphysics

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What if the AI is right, though?
Well if it's right, then feel sorry for those people who happen to live in that quasi-culdesac that will now be home to a major traffic jam. Maybe they turn that street into a "slow streets" area to combat it.
 
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