Bill Woodall

Bill Woodall

She Who Generally Knows Best calls it The Kilgore U-turn.

A Kilgore U-turn comes in a couple of varieties; both are components of angle parking — one at arrival, one at departure.

The straight-forward U-turn involves progressing down either Kilgore or Main streets with a plan to park on the opposite side of the street. Assume you’re heading north on Kilgore Street, anticipating a root beer float at Kilgore Mercantile and Music.

There are open spaces on the east side of the street, but you have an aversion to walking all the way across the street — it is, after all, a broad, 50-ish-foot street and you’re here for ice cream, not exercise.

Wait until cars line up behind you, stop in the northbound lane and ease into a U-turn that will get you into that angled space in front of the Mercantile.

Variant number two: You’ve finished that root beer float and need to complete the day’s mission: dropping off your water-sewer payment at city hall — north of the Mercantile.

To get yourself squared away, you wait until there are cars in both lanes, back out of the parking space, across the southbound lane and swing around into the northbound lane.

Both are best completed when driving a ‘dually’ with a 60-foot turning radius — the three-point turn here demonstrates incomparable panache.

As a newcomer here early in the new millennium, I was taken aback by the maneuver, but impressed by the patience of those motorists waiting for the turning driver to complete his turn, drivers who knew they, too, were U-turners and understood its importance.

“It’s illegal,” I was assured by SWGKB, “but you won’t get a ticket for it.” I scoffed. “It can’t be illegal, it happens many times every day.” “It’s against the law,” she assured me.

Years later, in my role as intern at city hall (I prefer the title Municipal Archivist, but...) I found it.

Ordinance 595, dated April 19, 1977 and signed by Mayor Foster T Bean, proscribes U-turns on any city street and authorizes a fine of up to $200.

But we are Kilgoreos, a citizenry renowned for our tolerance.

Advice from SWGKB: Dodge the pedestrians.

The writer is former co-publisher with SWGKB of the News Herald. He became a licensed driver 54 years ago and is an accomplished U-turner.


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