Left In Lowell

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March 16, 2010

Ah, Satisfying

by at 7:41 am.

This AM, just as the light turned green on YMCA Dr turning onto Thorndike, yet another idiot decided to run the red. Which of course meant he was going through the intersection when it’s possible to hit another vehicle.

Then, blue flashing lights. Me, patiently losing green light time while the cop hurried through the intersection: “Whoo hoo! Go get ‘im!” (There were only two of us at the light anyway, it was unlikely we wouldn’t get through afterward the police car was gone…but I would have happily given up another light cycle for someone to get caught running the red.)

There are some things in life that are very satisfying. I could write a poem about this moment. :-D

Now, do that every morning for a few months, and I will be a happy person…and I’m convinced you could close the city’s 2010 budget gap at the same time.

PS - I hope the offender is someone who reads this blog and is ashamed of themselves!

22 Responses to “Ah, Satisfying”

  1. James Says:

    That is a bad place for people running lights or making illegal turns. The other place that could close the budget gap is over off of 1st street on Christian Hill where you can make a right turn (really a U turn) onto 110 but there are no left turns allowed clearly from the sign (because you’d be crossing a lane of traffic) Everyday people routinely make that illegal left turn, often holding up the people trying to make the legal right turn. Park a cruiser over there (right by Duck Island which is why they probably won’t want to do it) and the budget gap would be closed in no time.

  2. The Mark Says:

    James last fall that no left sign disappeared for a while. Lynne was I was in high school a kid I knew named Eric was killed in that intersection by some asshat running a red. The garden at the Y is in his honor.

    I tell the Police at CNAG all the time park a cruiser at the 4 way stop at 18th and Beacon- every so often they do. One Cop I’ve met (they park on the side of my house) told me they pulled over a slew of people running the stop sign last summer from Memorial Day weekend on to the fall.

  3. JackFrom01854 Says:

    I had a similar experience recently and initially I thought I was being petty feeling good about it but I was WRONG. It felt GREAT and was very satisfying.

  4. Maggie Says:

    Ther is nothing like having your day made by a little incident like that. Enjoy the moment. Now if they could just stop people from blocking Princeton and Wood heading towards the Roarke Bridge. And then there are the fools that went around the barrels and horses on the flooded section of Princeton yesterday and stalled out thus having to be towed. Hope they have fun explaining that one to their insurance company. The state finally parked a truck there last night and some brave soul spent the night in it keeping the rest of the not-so bright away.

  5. Corey Says:

    People complain about that intersection all the time. Long ago, I started taking Central St to the Connector and Thorndike/Dutton back only because that area is such a zoo. At that time of morning, I’m sure it’s locals blowing the light, but the setup with the Connector ramps right there and then the South St light a few car lengths down in the opposite direction is just a bad design and a little confusing.

    Idea: Move the Connector ramps onto YMCA Drive, freeing up real estate on Thorndike St and eliminating some of the northbound backup that people face trying to turn onto the highway with no light…yet one two car lengths in front of them for a turn very few people take.

  6. Greg Page Says:

    Here’s my contribution — the jerks who don’t yield when coming down from the Lord Overpass onto Thorndike (heading southbound). It’s dangerous for people in that right lane coming up Thorndike to get to the Y, the Connector, the train station, or wherever else.

    The yield sign is there, but many drivers treat it as just a suggestion.

    Oh, and now I’m threadjacking a bit, but you wouldn’t believe how many rocket surgeons there were on Rte 3 and 128 yesterday and Sunday with no headlights on during the monsoon. You can barely see them, and if their car is gray or white, forget about it.

  7. Corey Says:

    Ah yes Greg, but not as if it’s any better northbound! I saw a woman coming down that ramp once and just felt she was going to blow the yield. So, I moved over to the left-hand lane to let her on (I need to take a right into the NPS lot a lot, so I need to be in that right-hand lane). She went BOTH LANES and missed me by inches. I lay on the horn and she stops in the middle of Dutton St. *sigh* In these people’s defense: Those yield signs and the ramps look a lot more like highway onramps than they are. You don’t expect a lane to just end like that. Lowell traffic and signage: by Lowellians; for Lowellians.

    As for the monsoon - I think a lot of people have automatic headlights, but a lot of cars don’t have automatic headlights that come on with the wipers. My last car did, but I just got a new one, and you have to manually turn the lights on if it’s not dark out.

  8. tim Says:

    Oh man that drives me crazy! Can we hijack those LED signs? “Hey man - turn on your damn lights so the SUV behind you doesn’t run right up your ass before he even sees you”.

    there’s a cop that sits by the industrial ave exit, picking off people who roll through the stop. He should go to these other intersections, that one should be a yield anyway since you can see if anybody is coming for most of the exit ramp. I always stop because a ticket isn’t worth the 1/2 a second, but if someone’s behind me I’m always afraid of getting rear-ended there.

  9. Kim Says:

    I understand that people blowing through the light may annoy many, but it is a bad design there. The lights do not work together at all. As someone that tries not to block that intersection I sometimes I find it difficult.

  10. Lynne Says:

    My old Corolla is way too old to have lights, but I try to remember to put them on. (If I recall correctly, I did on Sunday! What a sucky drive to and from Manchvegas that was!)

    Greg - yup, that’s a pet peeve too… also ones that do not get out of the way of the right turn lane even though there’s plenty of room. I am always coming south on Thorndike from work to pick up the Mr. and I swear, I could get the train station about five minutes earlier than I do some days, if only people going straight would GET FULLY IN THE STRAIGHT LANE and leave a few extra feet for people who want to turn.

  11. Ned Says:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but were there not two police positions added recently based on funding contributions from traffic stops?

    You can’t help but notice the increased traffic enforcement around the city. I see the fuzz hanging out on Boylston Street near the Pine School regularly. A good spot I might add.

  12. joe from Lowell Says:

    PS - I hope the offender is someone who reads this blog and is ashamed of themselves!

    You think your readers should be ashamed of themselves?

    ;-)

  13. David Says:

    While we’re all thinking about creative budgeting and filling deficits, if MA would allow for regulatory cameras in intersections, it would help modify the out of control behavior of running red lights and provide funding for the city/state in the process.

  14. The Messenger Says:

    Don’t stop there David… put the cameras in our living rooms and bugs in our lamp shades… the gov’t will surely deter some nefarious behavior that way!

  15. Right In Lowell Says:

    Boylston Street has become quite the revenue stream.

  16. Robby Says:

    Dont get me started on the bad driving.

    The worst for me is turning left from Arcand Drive onto Father Morrisette Boulevard. People don’t seem to understand that both the left, and the MIDDLE lane can turn left. The right lane on Arcand if for right turn only. The left is for left turn only. The middle lane can go stright into the Tsongas arena OR turn left as well. Makes sense doesn’t it? Too bad nobody seems to get it.

    I know what your all saying in regards to merging onto Dutton St. from the Overpass. In defense of people, its almost impossible to really see whats coming up the street, and people fly on Thorndike and Dutton all the time. You kinda just have to go and hope you dont get killed!

    I have auto lights in my car, but never ever use them. I always turn them on myself just to make sure thier actually on.

    PS- Another pet peeve. Driving toward downtown on Father Morisette Blvd, at the intersection of Arcand Dr. Will people please learn what “right turn only” means? Every time Im driving straight heading toward LHS, people in the right lane seem to think that there is 2 lanes in front of LHS, which there is not.

  17. Corey Says:

    Robby, a lot of the issue in Lowell is a failure to keep lines painted, bad signage, bad geometry, and outright confusing setups. I swear, every intersection in Lowell is set up for people who have already been there before and are part of our little herd. Try explaining the jog in the road with how Prescott St somehow lines up with Bridge. Or, if you’re on Arcand Dr and you’re continuing onto Dutton St, there is something incredibly bizarre about that angle and the left-hand lane seems to put you into oncoming traffic. Sway too far to the right to avoid that issue, and you’ll sideswipe the right-hand lane. They’ll never stripe the intersection to help you out like any other community would do. Something I learnt recently: Merrimack Street and Dutton, same intersection, facing the one-way downtown blocks. You are not allowed to make a left onto Arcand from there, you are forced to turn onto Dutton. Has this always been that way? Seems stupid because the last place you are allowed to turn before then to get to Father Morrisette is way back at Cabot St I think. At Towers Corner… There are two lanes of Central at Middlesex. It becomes three (finally well striped after a long time) for one block, no sign of which lane becomes which, then two again for a few blocks of Gorham until it becomes one by the time you pass Santoro’s. I’ve seen quite a few people get into the left-hand lane of the three-lane block, which is intended for people turning onto Appleton (when that short block isn’t too backed up, requiring you to pull a U-Turn in front of Post Office Locksmith to not block the intersection), and then try to go straight in front of Dana’s, getting trapped behind a parked car. Nearby, if you’re on Middlesex crossing over Central, I don’t think there’s a single sign telling you that if you go straight onto Greene, that’s one-way against you.

  18. Robby Says:

    Ive been thinking of this all day, never realizing just how poorly designed the streets are in Lowell. You really have to drive through Lowell on a constant basis to learn the way everything is (supposed) to work. Being born and raised in the city, thankfully learning the streets was never too big of an issue for me.

    And, Corey, your right, the city doesn’t do much too help in regards to painting lines, adding signs, etc. Id say the majority of lines out there are either badly faded or are gone all together.

  19. Maggie Says:

    Doesn’t Lowell have a traffic engineer and if so what are we paying him/her for? It seems to me that several of the complaints here could be solved by someone getting out there, looking at the situation and actually doing something about it.

  20. Mr. Lynne Says:

    I worry sometimes that we do so much driving through so many streets and intersections that we all believe we, ourselves individually, would be great traffic engineers. I sometimes consider how I’d design an intersection or time the light sequence if it were up to me, and then I remember that traffic probably is one of those design subjects where one change winds up with many consequences that a layman couldn’t predict. So I then take a moment and remember that I’m not a traffic engineer and that there my well be very good reasons for a specific intersection looking the way it does that I don’t see because I haven’t been educated in traffic engineering nor the constraints and history that went into the decisions behind the design. I remember my Socrates.

  21. K-R-S Says:

    OK, so I’ve been reading & moderating comments all week and have a thought as there were lots of great comments
    There were a few “anonymous” posts, that I had deleted (I may have agreed and experienced similarly, however, we are deleting anonymous posts), so please, do give yourself a moniker.

  22. joe from Lowell Says:

    “Maggie Says:
    March 19th, 2010 at 6:04 pm
    Doesn’t Lowell have a traffic engineer and if so what are we paying him/her for? It seems to me that several of the complaints here could be solved by someone getting out there, looking at the situation and actually doing something about it.”

    The problem is the sheer number of issues he has to deal with. Being Lowell’s transportation engineer is not easy.

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