‘Puller-outers’ join list of dubious Durango quirks

While driving on East Third Avenue the other day, I saw something that has always bugged me. Why do drivers think they can pull out of the side streets and wait in the middle of the road in the space between the northbound and southbound lanes? Isn’t this illegal, or is this another one of those “Durango things?” – Bullheaded on the Boulevard

While sometimes annoying and often unpredictable, the “puller-outers” (for lack of a better term) are within the law.

“The space is considered a median, so you can go forward and wait there as long as drivers yield to oncoming traffic on East Third,” said Sgt. Jeremiah Lee of the Durango Police Department.

That being said, the puller-outers are not without problems.

“A lot of people don’t know how to use that median,” Lee said.

Among the most irritating and dangerous acts is when puller-outers fail to go forward enough, leaving their back end sticking out into oncoming traffic.

This is especially prevalent among SUV and supercab pickup drivers. In other words, two-thirds of the population.

Jeremiah also pointed out that puller-outers often idle in the very middle of the median, rather than on their side of the road, blocking an East Third Avenue driver from making a left turn to a side street.

The mere fact that puller-outers are there can be an issue.

It’s disconcerting to see a rogue vehicle in the middle of the road just inches from your lane.

And the only time puller-outers do their maneuver is during peak traffic hours, when everyone is either late for work or hellbent to get home, and thereby not being in a courteous or attentive state of mind.

Thus, the East Third pull-out is a “Durango thing,” much like the unwritten rule that Main Avenue pedestrians don’t have to obey traffic lights, especially when crossing Ninth Street.

The list of “Durango things” is long and bizarre:

We celebrate the coldest days of the year with a Polar Beer Plunge.

We buy plenty of firearms but purchase only cruelty-free meats and cage-free eggs.

We drive to the recreation center, so we can walk on a treadmill, even in summer.

We have enough manners to know not to bring children to certain social functions but insist it’s perfectly acceptable to bring our dogs to everything.

Chances are great that you have a dark wool suit or formal dress in your closet, but you have yet to wear either in Durango – so you brush off the dust and turn them into a Halloween or Snowdown costume.

Some locals don’t bother carpooling from propane-heated homes to attend a meeting to protest gas drilling.

Other locals lament the government’s “socialist agenda” while vehemently opposing cuts in Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

Some people are so concerned about indoor air quality that they insist using only non-VOC interior paint but pursue “wellness” by inhaling as much herbal smoke as possible.

If there were a TV show called “Real Housewives of Durango,” it would highlight one of three things:

The horrible stress of balancing pressures of yoga retreats, snowboarding lessons and planning a week’s worth of gluten-free, locally grown, vegan menus.

The immense pressure of organizing a wine luncheon at a downtown restaurant to brainstorm for the upcoming gala silent auction event that only 50 select ladies are invited to.

Local moms who have no time for stupid TV shows because they are working full-time, taking the kids to school, cleaning up everything, doing laundry, cooking meals, paying the bills and keeping the household from falling apart.

To think that Durango’s marketing slogan is “Get Real.”

And what does this have to do with puller-outers on East Third? Action Line will get real and freely admit it’s yet another of those dubious “Durango things.”

Email questions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 80301. You can request anonymity if you know Snowdown’s theme next year is “Get Your Geek On!”

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