If Mark Twain had lived in my southern Connecticut ‘burb instead of up in our state capital of Hartford, he might have complained that everybody talks about the traffic, but nobody does anything about it.
We also spend stacks of tax dollars on studies that talk about traffic.
Stamford has a couple of these in the works now. One is a $560,000 federally funded report on how to perform angioplasty on our two main north-south arteries, known as High Ridge and Long Ridge roads. The other spends up to $100,000 to analyze whether the city, for safety’s sake, should straighten and widen winding cut-though street called Oaklawn Avenue.
This is a boondoggle I need to get in on!
First, I’ll offer some free advice that’ll knock their eyes out. After I knock their eyes are out, I can charge ‘em anything I want.
Here goes …
Narrow, curvy streets discourage speeding. If city officials had actually driven on Oaklawn Avenue this winter, they'd know that so do potholes. Hence, this road should not be widened, straightened or paved! Bonus: Less tax money spent on asphalt means economic stimulus to local auto repair shops.
As to High Ridge and Long Ridge roads, some in the city have already suggested adding bicycle and HOV lanes, trolley lines, bus service and commuter lots in hope that people will use them. Just as easily, I could write Kim Kardashian‘s name on a sheet of paper and put it under my pillow at night in hope of finding her beside me come morning. In either case, we'll both wake up to cold showers.
The rush hour clogging of these roads are an unavoidable product of our city’s commuting/suburban sprawl design and lifestyle. The true solutions (double-decking, adding lanes or building express under- or overpasses) would cost gazillions in construction, lawsuits and headaches. In the meantime, the most cost-effective answers are simple: add a few turn restrictions here, do some fiddling with the timing of traffic signals there, and pray that someone perfects the personal jet pack.
Piece o' cake! That gives me room to take on a couple other traffic-related issues.
- Connecticut lawmakers want to stiffen the penalty for driving with one hand on the wheel and the other on a cellphone by increasing the fine and revoking the offender's license for 24 hours. Pfft! Nothing like toughening up a law no one enforces. Next up – sterilization for people with more than 10-items in the supermarket express lane! My solution: First offense, the cops confiscate the driver’s cellphone for 72 hours; second offense, the cellphone goes under the tires of the cops’ car.
- Five more local schools will soon have radar signs installed nearby to slow speeding drivers. These signs are effective except when they routinely don't work as is the case outside of my neighborhood. Instead, the city could hire a certain at-home dad and his dog to send scofflaws an effective and smelly message.
All this proves Twain was wrong about another thing. In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made the people who pay traffic consultants.