The fire chief, re: Willamette Street: ‘It goes to 11!’

Well, hi there. Look at me wiping the cobwebs off of the inside of WordPress.

I tell you what, though, I think our fire chief just had his “Nigel Tufnel” moment. You remember. Nigel Tufnel (as played by Christopher Guest) was the golden-retriever-like guitar player in the mockumentary “Spinal Tap”:

Nigel Tufnel, as played by Christopher Guest

And here’s our fire chief, Randy Groves (as played by Randy Groves):

Is anybody else scratching their head after reading Groves’ comments in the paper this morning as he weighed in on what to do about Willamette Street?

As quoted by reporter Ed Russo, Groves says he prefers the four-lane alternative — as opposed to three lanes with bike lanes. Of course — and nobody in the story bothers to point this out — in either case, the width of the street would be … exactly the same.

So here’s what Groves had to say:

A street with more travel lanes is better than a street with fewer “because it’s easier to get around traffic,” [Groves] said.

Look, I know it’s not cool to speak badly of firefighters, but is that really the best he could do? I read that, and thought: “Nigel!”

The amazing “Spinal Tap” amp! Goes to 11! And when asked by Rob Reiner (as played by reporter Ed Russo) if that’s louder, Tufnel patiently explains, “Well, it’s ‘one’ louder, isn’t it?”


And by this logic, everyone intuitively knows that a street with four lanes is better than three because, it’s “one wider,” isn’t it?

(Did I forget to mention that bike lanes or not, the width of the street would be … exactly the same?)

Maybe we need to tell Groves that a street with three auto lanes and two bike lanes would actually have FIVE lanes!

It goes to FIVE, Chief!

Really now, do fire trucks have a problem getting down, say, 18th Avenue, which has three lanes and bike lanes? Do the painted lines on the road really mean anything to you when an ambulance is coming up behind you, sirens blaring? Or do you just try to pull over to the curb? I’ve never known a car that minded pulling into the bike lane when a fire truck was coming. They’re supposed to.

Ah, well, we certainly do not want the fire department to be delayed in deploying two fire engines, an ambulance, nine paramedics and a ladder truck the next time a pedestrian gets hit by a car on Willamette Street and needs to be taken to the hospital.

Oh, I could go on all day about this. But remember:


3 thoughts on “The fire chief, re: Willamette Street: ‘It goes to 11!’

  1. How is it easier to “get around traffic” in a four-lane situation where the cars have nowhere to go to clear a path? There’s no bike lane, no shoulder of any kind, just cars all the way across the street. Maybe we’re all misunderstanding our fire chief, or he was misquoted. If he wants an option with more lanes, the five-lane option is clearly the best.

  2. I’m liking the 5-lane option. Doesn’t it narrow down into one lane each direction as it approaches 19th anyway?

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