More Dogs on Main: More traffic news |

More Dogs on Main: More traffic news

The Legislature is truly doing great things.

Tom Clyde

Park Record columnist Tom Clyde.
Tom Clyde mug

There is more exciting news from the state Legislature. Rep. Stephanie Gricius, from Eagle Mountain, has introduced HB 256 that would make it legal for pregnant women to drive in carpool lanes in Utah. The pressing need for this is that pregnant women suffer morning sickness and need to go to the bathroom frequently (like men my age don’t?) and so traveling more expeditiously in the carpool lane is a benefit for them. And, of course, the fetus is a separate person, so there are in fact two people in the car.  Apparently if there is a toddler in the car, that already counts as a car pool.

At a hearing on the bill, according to KSL news, other legislators said it would put Highway Patrol officers in a difficult position of trying to determine if a women is pregnant or not when issuing a citation for being in the carpool lane. I’m reminded of the “Dave Barry” rule, which is, “never ask a woman if she is pregnant unless you can actually see the baby’s head.” Rep. Gricius responded that we expect law enforcement to make much more difficult judgment calls all the time. And women could carry a note from a doctor as proof of pregnancy. 

It all seems inconsistent with the purpose of the carpool lane. The idea is to get cars off the road.  Unless that fetus is a licensed driver and was going to make the trip in its own car, riding along with Mom doesn’t reduce traffic at all. It’s not a car pool. The proposal was voted out of committee by a 6-3 vote, and advances to the full House for consideration.

All of which leads to the question, how does the Park City Mountain resort treat pregnant women for the free carpool parking lot? Can a woman show up in her own car, say she is carrying triplets, and park for free? Does the guy in the parking lot have to make that determination on the spot? Will the ski patrol’s EMTs be there with ultrasound machines to verify? For some reason, there is no guidance on this topic on the Park City Mountain resort website. Nothing. So I asked the guy in the parking lot and got a shrug.  He asked if the triplets would be skiing, and I said of course they were, if Mom was skiing they weren’t going to be left sitting around the lodge having coffee. But were they buying a ski pass? he asked.

Ah, there’s the rub. If the unborn triplets count as people for carpooling and parking, they ought to count as people for skiing. Shouldn’t each of them have its own ski pass? I guess Park City Mountain resort could adopt a policy that fetuses ski free and cover it that way. I guess fetuses ski free now.

The Legislature is truly doing great things.

In other traffic news, after fighting my way through town in Sundance traffic, I finally hit the open road and cruised along 248 all the way to Kamas before hitting an entirely different kind of traffic jam  A herd of cows was being moved from an open pasture somewhere in the Democrat Alley area to a pasture on the east side of town. It’s an odd time of year to be moving cattle. It’s not like they are grazing — maybe they are being moved closer to a haystack. Then I realized that we are at the beginning of calving season. They were moving them closer to the farmstead where there were sheds and barns to provide some shelter for the cows and newborn calves in this bitter cold. Apparently pregnant cows are able to block not just a carpool lane, but the entire highway for a stretch of about four miles.

The traffic was reduced to traveling at the speed of the cows, who were in no particular hurry. Still better than in Park City. They seemed to know where they were going but were seeing the sights along the way. The cowboys pushed them along at a steady pace. An insurgent group made a break for it at the Exxon station, trying a shortcut through the pump island, but the border collie put a quick end to that.

A couple of Covidians in a range Rover were behind me, and going nuts because of the delay. The very idea of these cows making them late for a spa appointment or the like. A couple in a Sprinter van had pulled over and was filming the entire event, which I’m sure is posted on some van life website already under the “tales of the wild west” heading.

You don’t see cattle on the road much anymore. It was nostalgic and a reminder that Kamas is still Kamas, where that kind of thing is perfectly normal. Frankly, it made my day getting stuck in the time warp cattle drive. The car is completely undercoated with manure, the garage smells bad, and if I got stuck behind them again tomorrow, it would be OK.

In fact, if Kamas really wants to preserve its rural feel, they ought to arrange random cattle drives down Highway 32 a couple of times a week, just to remind everybody what rural means.

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