Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Better to Turn Off One Light

The more things change, the more they don't. What follows are musings from this time six years ago. I'm not happy to report there is NO update possible because NONE has happened. It's early when I go to work, not as early as when my brother Adam heads out, and by the time I do he's gotten most of the chickens fed and the cows milked, which works out well for me since my employment efforts are confined mostly to the mess the back ends make. 

At the foot of Washington Street, which is also a state highway whose number, even after all these years of living here, I cannot remember, right next to the church with a sign that once advised, "Life is Short, Pray Hard" at the intersection with the Sweeney Bridge, is a traffic signal that captures relationships in and with The Rose City. 

The light sits at the junction of a "T". Those coming down the hill who go right AND those coming up the hill who go left, all head in the same direction over the bridge onto what becomes Route 82 (I think). Maybe that's what happened to Norwich-everyone went for a drive and drove over the one-way bridge and never came back because they can't. The traffic signal is a beacon and often a vexation and, I suspect not for me alone, a cause for some head-shaking. 

No matter the hour, this traffic signal is on duty--no blinking light, red for us and yellow for the other folks. No pause and go-no roll on through and have a nice day. Nope, nada. It works 24/7 every day of the year. Once, during a truly awful snow storm it was a blinking light (red in both directions-that was very helpful, especially for those struggling to get up the hill) but only that one snowstorm. I wasn't sure what to make of the state snow plows NOT heeding the red blinking light as they blew right on through it, so I decided I imagined it (I'll bet you didn't know there's a difference between city snow and state snow.Yepper).

Again, as always, yesterday morning the traffic signal was red when I reached it. It's not on a sensor and if it's on a timer, it's more of a calendar than a clock, based on my experience. My red signal lasted five and a half minutes at four something in the morning (Yes, my life is that empty I timed it. In fairness, it's NOT always that long, so add inconsistency to the list of quirks.).

The part I find funny is at the time of day I'm there, it's not unusual to NOT see another vehicle for the entire timeI'm at the light. Yesterday was a bit weird when the walk/don't walk signal came on, and there were NO pedestrians. For a moment I thought I saw a barbecue, but that would have been quite a feat...so I'll imagine I thought I saw a 'puddy tat.'

Eventually (of course) the signal changed, otherwise I'd be trying to type this on a cell phone (and be cited for violating CT's hands-free law) and I had f-i-f-t-e-e-n seconds of green light (that amount of time is a constant; go figure). I've driven the street at all times of the day and every day of the week and it's not always like that so I have to wonder why, at oh-bright-early it can't be blinking. I'm counting on, eventually, the bulb(s) in the signal, mine (red) and the oncoming (green), just burning out and motorists can then drive happily ever after or until they reach the next intersection at the Laurel Hill Bridge
-bill kenny


Friend of Evan said...

We have intersections rarely used where the lights are on sensors, they never change until someone drives over or onto the white line. Could you have eventually inched forward after five minutes?

Anonymous said...

While we think of it, quite rightly, as a city street Washington is also part of the state road system so CT Department of Transportation rules are in effect as opposed to city and local police ordinances. To my knowledge we don't have a lot of sensors at any of our lights, or maybe I just lack the sensibility to feel their presence.

With my luck, had I crept forward at the light at the precise moment my front bumper broke some invisible plane, a CT ANG helicopter with seven Rangers Rappeling (six maids a milking and five golden toques) would have descended from above and when I awoke I would have been in an orange jumpsuit learning Spanish at Gitmo Traffic Court... bill kenny