Please Don’t ‘Block the Box’

A NPJ reader expressed their frustration over the increasing number of drivers that “Block the Box.” It may not seem like there’s a lot of traffic in little ole’ Natchitoches when it’s compared to bigger cities like Baton Rouge, Houston or Los Angeles. But there’s a serious issue at select intersections in town including the four way stop at the intersection of Second and Church Street, both intersections at either end of the Church Street Bridge, and the intersection at the Jefferson Street side of the Keyser Bridge.

As an attempt to shed a little light on this frustrating situation, the NPJ decided to post some information on this common driving error. The following information comes from the City website for Austin, Texas. Maybe they’re on to something…?

What does it mean when to “Block the Box”?

When you block the box, you have entered an intersection when cars on the other side prevent you from making it all the way through. If cross traffic begins to move before you can get out of the intersection, you’re blocking that cross traffic from moving forward.

What should I do to avoid blocking the box?

To avoid blocking the box, you should wait to enter an intersection until you are sure you can make it all the way through. Wait behind the stop bar, not in the crosswalk, and look to see if the vehicles in front of you on the other side of the intersection have left enough room for you to make it through without stopping in the crosswalk on the other side. If you can’t clear an intersection, don’t enter it, period. Entering the intersection may stop those drivers from honking, but if cross traffic can’t get through because of you – those drivers will probably honk too.

What about if drivers behind me are honking and want me to go?

If you can’t clear an intersection, don’t enter it, period. Entering the intersection may stop those drivers from honking, but if cross traffic can’t get through because of you – those drivers will probably honk too.

Are there any dangers associated with blocking the box?

Yes! When cross traffic cannot get through, neither can emergency vehicles. Additionally, blocking the box can cause pedestrians to weave between cars if the crosswalk is impacted, decreasing their visibility to other travelers.

Well, I just don’t want to wait for another light cycle!

Everyone is trying to get somewhere, whether it’s home, work, school, or simply to meet up with friends and family. Be courteous to everyone’s trip, don’t block the box and we will all get to our destinations safely.

14 thoughts on “Please Don’t ‘Block the Box’

  1. Crime, traffic, red lights,stop signs now people with trashy yards! And you always have to blame the police?? Why is that? I Know a couple people got tickets on parkway and we’re calling it a speed trap,well there’s a posted limit you went over NOT A TRAP! Stop blaming the COPS for everything! Blame the idiot drivers which we are famous for! Most of natchitoches drivers would die if they had to drive in Nola or Houston!

  2. Officers posted at both ends of the bridge for a day or two helped for those two days. Today I sat at either end and watched 2-3 vehicles block each intersection from Williams to Third St. Traffic was backed up due to it being so blocked that no sides could go or could not see if it was safe to loop around the back of the vehicles. The traffic camera on Front Street would show the vehicles doing it

  3. Very simple solution would be to make a bypass on the north side of town from the intersection at the light at Highway 6 bypass around through the woods to Walmart very simple one bridge cross cane River and all downtown traffic would be sent that way clearing up all the intersections.

    • Hey Barry thanks for your comment. The bypass was officially drawn up back when Mayor Scott was in office. That’s how long it’s been about 50 years. I really doubt it will happen in the next 10 years.

    • Planning stage at least 20 years ago; as usual, no forward movement. Sadly said, typical of Natchitoches. Same with the “pumps” for Cane River- likely will not be pumpinging in 2028.

  4. I’m going to say this. We have so, so, so many police working in the city of Natchitoches. Would it be too much to ask for the local police to direct traffic like they used to years ago there? We need a policeman or woman directing traffic at the corner 2nd and Church Street., and at the Front Street Red Light. The red lights are timed completely wrong. The very second your light turns green, the light on the other end of the Church Street bridge turns red, so then the bridge is blocked and no one can move anyway. I just wish the Natchitoches police would start directing traffic in like they did a few years ago. Makes traffic go by so much faster, less frustration, let’s road rage, unless people breaking the law. Rather than simply sit back and say don’t do this, and don’t do that, why can’t we get some help?

    • A serious thought: Are the policeman in this town taught how to direct traffic? Years ago, yes; I really don’t know about today. People are also passing through red lights as though they were green all over E. Natchitoches and downtown is crazy. There is an art to performing jobs of this nature. Police yourself; stop and look and then move on at intersections or be T-boned– been there.

  5. Simple – if you cannot clear the intersection don’t enter it ! Big city – Little city – this is probably the most selfish driving trick and should be ticketed.

    • The only way traffic will get better in Natchitoches is when the police start enforcing the laws. People consistently drive 50 on residential streets with a 25 mph limit. Block intersections, run stop signs and traffic lights.

  6. Technically if you’re in an intersection “blocking the box” and you entered on a green light, but it changes red with you still sitting there that is the same as “running a red.” This has probably happened to all of us one time or another. But, a cop could (should?) write you a ticket. Same is true for 4-way stops.

    But, don’t expect the cops to actually do anything in this town.

  7. First paragraph in the story they say “it may seem like there isn’t a lot of traffic in our city ” but there is..Have you tried crossing either bridge after 5 or after an event,traffic is horrible.The city should have planned for growth like any city would have,thoughts of building another bridge to relieve traffic.

    • Dude. We don’t have traffic… Go to Dallas, Baton Rouge, Houston where it takes an hour plus to get home. That is traffic. We have a slightly annoying 5 minute wait to get over a bridge. And honestly much of that traffic is from stupid folks running a red light and blocking an intersection.

      • I totally agree. Arrogance and stupidity on the part o many drivers are the causes of most of our “traffic” issues. However a proper assessment of the signals both electronic and signs could do a lot of good in correcting much of the congestion. A ticket is a good start to awaken some of these drivers but the city needs to work on the signals/signage, asap.

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