Unique solutions for these unique times

Jan. 6, 2021

This column published as "One of a Kind" in January 2021 issue

One year into a global pandemic that has most of us feeling stressed, a U.K. scrapyard is offering people a unique way to let off some steam.

It’s called the Rage Yard.

“The year 2020 has been one of the absolute worst in living memory,” Dan Gick, managing director at Scrap Car Comparison, the company offering the service, told Fox News, “and we wanted to be able to offer customers a way to release all the stress that [2020] has brought into their lives.”

The first part of the Rage Yard experience begins with a scrap car emblazoned with the number 2020 along the side. Entrants are asked to think of something in 2020 that upset them (cancelled vacations, layoffs, only nine issues of Roads & Bridges), and are then handed shotguns and given the chance to take it all out on the car. 

Once the 2020 scrap car has been turned into a piece of swiss cheese, customers can blow the car up or smash it flat with a souped-up 56-ton Chieftain tank. 

Due to limited space, the scrapyard only accepts ballot-style booking requests. The lucky winners can kick off 2021 with some true car-tharsis. 

Be careful what you ask for

To celebrate the opening of a new location in Valladolid, Spain, IKEA allowed the public to rename the street leading to the store. 

While the finalists in the Facebook poll included cute names like “There’s No Place Like Home Street” and “Hug on the Couch Street,” the winner was a bit more snarky. 

With 54% of the total vote, the name that locals selected was Calle Me Falta un Tornillo, or “I’m Missing a Screw Street.” 

The name, of course, is a reference to how IKEA’s products come “ready to assemble,” which can be a frustrating exercise, especially when parts are missing from the packaging. 

While the screwy name may not have been what IKEA was hoping for, the Swedish company is taking it in stride. 

“We wanted to make our arrival here more special, involving its people and making them part of our identity in Valladolid, always with a touch of humor, which defines our style,” a company spokesman said in a statement.

“I’m Missing a Screw Street” joins a growing list of creative names chosen by the public. 

In 2010, the future residents of a new Spanish neighborhood voted to name a dozen of their streets after video games, including “Avenida de Super Mario Bros.” 

In 2012, Slovakians voted to rename a pedestrian bridge after American action movie star and martial artist Chuck Norris. (Officials rejected this choice and instead chose “Freedom Cycling Bridge.”)

And in 2016, Brits voted to name a new $287 million polar research vessel “Boaty McBoatface.” (This name was also rejected in favor of RRS Sir David Attenborough.)

Animal Crossing

In 2018, Utah opened a new bridge over I-80 in the hopes of reducing accidents and saving lives. 

In the years since, the bridge in Summit County, Utah has sat covered in debris rather than traffic. In fact, not a single car has ever driven over the bridge.

Utah officials are thrilled with the response, posting “It’s working!” on Facebook late last year. 

That’s because the Parleys Canyon Wildlife Overpass was built for animals, not cars. 

And after two years, local wildlife has begun using the bridge to safely cross the busy six-lane highway, which is notorious for creating roadkill. 

Officials worried that it could take up to six years for the local moose, porcupines, deer, cougars, bobcats, and even bears to develop those new habits. 

The largest wildlife overpass in the world is expected to open in California in 2023. Stretching across 10 highway lanes of the 101 Freeway, the 200-ft “Wildlife Crossing at Liberty Canyon” will provide safe passage for Los Angeles cougars, many of whom are stumbling into traffic late at night with only a half-full glass of chardonnay to protect them.

About The Author: Matthews has been chronicling the unexpectedly humorous side of transportation news since 2000. The stories are all true.

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