November 20, 2008

Commute Rant

A Real GridlockOk. So I don't usually post an entry on here to complain about trivial matters, but something happened today on my commute to work that just seemed to strike a nerve. I thought maybe if I write a post about it, then it would stop bugging me. Every morning, when leaving to go to work, I have to go through an intersection that is right next to an elementary school. Now, there are two things worth mentioning about this intersection:

First, I have to take a left turn through it, and this means going left on a green light that has a delayed green. Essentially, on my side of the street, the northbound direction, the light turns green and lets about four or five cars through to make a left. Then, while the northbound light is still green, the southbound gets a green light. This typically results in a car being stuck in the intersection, yielding for the southbound traffic while waiting to make a left turn and then going through after the light turns yellow or red.
  • Second, this intersection is right next to an elementary school, so there is a crossing guard woman who typically patrols the area, making sure the cross walk signals go on for every light cycle to get the kids through the intersection.
So today, as it turns out, I'm waiting at the light going northbound, several cars back, and then the signal turns green. The cars in front of me begin to go through the intersection turning left, except as soon as I pull out into the intersection, the southbound side clearly gets a green and they begin to move. So I follow the traffic laws and yield, and yield, and yield. We've all been there before, waiting to make a left turn on green after you didn't make it through the delayed green. Unfortunately for me this time, though, the light turned yellow, and then red while I was still in the intersection. Additionally, the southbound cars were all making a right turn, and then traffic backed up all the way into the intersection in the direction that I was waiting to turn into. As soon as the light turned red, I was stuck in the intersection, unable to move, and the cross walk signals immediately came on to let the kids go through.

Now, it's not like I've never seen a gridlock like this happen before at this intersection. Typically the cars clear out after about 5 - 10 seconds once the traffic that had backed up flows through. So I waited patiently as the kids are crossing the intersection around my car and the traffic finally began to move. Then right when I'm about to clear out of the intersection, someone bangs on my window yelling at me. I look over and it's the cross guard woman screaming "YOU NEEEED TO STOP DOING THIS! YOU NEEEED TO STOP DOING THIS OR I'M GONNA TAKE DOWN YOUW NUMBA!" Huh? She says this as if I get momentarily gridlocked like this every day, and as if I'm the only person who's ever been stuck in this intersection like this! I gave her a funny look and then continued on my commute as she walked away in a huff.

Now, I'm not entirely sure what the technical Massachusetts traffic laws are for this type of a situation. I entered the intersection well before the light even turned yellow and followed the general practice that is always followed every day at that intersection (and at any other like it), waiting after not making it through the delayed green. I suspect that there may be some provision that could technically make this a citable offense (can't enter an intersection unless you're 100% sure you can get through perhaps?). But please, there wasn't much else I could do. When you have a delayed green like that, if you're already in the intersection when the other direction gets a green, then you're stuck and need to wait.

Ugh. Ok I'm over it now. I've included a picture of a real gridlock for your amusement.

1 comment :

  1. LOL ... you didn't tell me about this!! :-P ... You got in trouble with a crossing guard?!? :-P