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CARJAMICUS, GOD OF CROSSTOWN TRAFFIC, LORDS IT IN PITTSFIELD

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BY DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI NEWS AND COMMENTARY

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THE WEEKEND EDITION SEPT. 15-17, 2017) — Once upon a time, a golden, flaming scroll descended from the heavens, and in its ashes one could read the words: How to Design Exasperating Traffic Patterns. And it came to pass that most cities rejected the sacred text, as usually happens to God’s Word and His prophets’ decrees. One burgh, however, embraced the golden scroll, earning great favor with Carjamicus, God of Crosstown Traffic.

THE PLANET understands you may not believe in Scripture, but we do trust you know that, for whatever reason, getting from “here” to “there” in the city of Pittsfield is no easy thing. To travel this gauntlet, you have to endure a maddening combination of traffic lights, stop signs, confusing road pain, poor byways, jaywalkers, construction, shoddy lighting, and too many vehicles for not enough street. The traffic, however, greatly fulfills the city’s credo, one fully embraced by Mayor Linda Tyer: “Do what thou wilt to make things as difficult, infuriating, inconvenient, and expensive as possible for good, honest citizens.”

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Do you have a “favorite” intersection, area, section, stretch, or vehicular junction to single out for raspberries? The candidates are legion. We’d like to hear your nominees. THE PLANET has a beauty: the mayhemed mile from the corner of East Housatonic and South streets to Wahconah Park. We had reason to endure this mile trial by motor car last week.

The fun begins on East Housy. Heading west passing Bartlett and Wendell avenues,  traffic on the heavily traversed byway files along in a single lane. As one approached the light at North Street, the lane splits left to head south and right to go straight ahead or take the turn heading north on North. The timing of the traffic lights ensure that the number of vehicles cannot proceed through the cycle rapidly enough, resulting in the inevitable back up, sometimes extending east down East Housatonic to the traffic light at Appleton Avenue.

As we got in the right lane to turn right, several cars ahead of us were heading straight. This meant they had to wait for a full cycle before heading west. And the cars behind them who otherwise could have taken a simple right-on-red? Forget about it. While waiting to legally make the right turn on north, we read all 28 volumes of The Memoirs of Nikita Kruschev, completed and won a game of speed chess with Boris Spassky, advanced into senility, and listened to Wagner‘s entire Ring cycle.

Finally, having turned right heading north on North, we had to pass, count ’em, 14 traffic signals. As in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14. Each one, of course, worked independently and not in synch each other or with the amount of traffic. There are brains far more worthy than ours whose precise job is to employ the algorithms that allow traffic signals to be set so as to ensure a good flow of traffic. Unfortunately, they are not employed in Pittsfield, Mass.

Along this Via Dolorosa, we ran into two delivery trucks double parked in the 100-200 blocks of North Street, causing more backups. At that point, the journey became one that combined “chicken” with “Bumper Cars.” Drivers tried to force themselves out of the clogged right hand lane, most without turn signal on of course, battling like salmon against the resolute competition in the left lane, determined, by Carjamicus, not to give the other guy a break.

Along the way, we did not see one police patrol on sidewalks or road. There were a couple of Pittsfield’s Finest working a construction detail. Alas, they missed the carnival of cars, all that fun, because they never once looked up from their smart phones. And that is how all the pleading eyes of vexed motorists were left to make eye contact with the officers in vain, looking for direction from those who had no direction to give.

Facebook and Twitter, you see, is nasty competition.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

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I am not a number. I’m a free man” — No. 6 in The Prisoner.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

The Usual Disclaimer.

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Bill Q
Bill Q
3 years ago

What is the purpose of the Garbage truck parked at the burned out and gone, building,at the corner of Tyler and Woodlawn?

dusty
dusty
Reply to  Bill Q
3 years ago

Maybe the mayor will have a ribbon cutting ceremony there this week. It is a fine looking truck to be sure. And maybe Krol could be there sitting behind the wheel smiling out the window like a Cheshire cat. Good publicity for his upcoming mayoral run.

May Hemm
May Hemm
Reply to  dusty
3 years ago

It has a flat tire, not kidding?

Pat
Pat
3 years ago

Local politicians get all excited about new garbage cans and think it’s amusing when what the Tyler Street area really needs is jobs. Jobs would be provided by a Super Walmart, but Progressives hate big box stores so will fight every step of the way against a Super Walmart. Progressives want everyone to get excited about new garbage cans and think they are handing us gold.

Progressives still haven’t received the memo that people are looking for JOBS and those under age 47 continue to leave the area in droves because there are no GOOD JOBS. Mayor Tyer thinks that people will want to come to this area for the scenery alone. That may get them here, but only JOBS will make them stay.

The school committee
The school committee
Reply to  Pat
3 years ago

Massachusetts is a state run by regressives.They change their party affiliation mant years ago.

12 Gauge
12 Gauge
Reply to  The school committee
3 years ago

Go back on your meds

Thomas More
Thomas More
3 years ago

I tried the Planet’s route and didn’t get to the 14th light until Hancock Road at the lake. Two of those lights were at Orchard and Reid M.S. that are activated only when pedestrians want to cross. If we discount those lights we’re in Bennington before we get to 14.

May Hemm
May Hemm
3 years ago

Patriots Rule

May Hemm
May Hemm
3 years ago

Taylor was in the Wahconah Area, last night,maybe a restaurant?

The school committee
The school committee
3 years ago

As someone who travels around the city ,Traffic has never moved better than it does now.

Cosbies
Cosbies
3 years ago

South Streetis aspeed zone and North Street Slow as a Turtle

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
3 years ago

September 18, 2017

Re: Open letter to Berkshire Eagle Editors

The cornerstone to economic growth of a community or region, in this case, Berkshire County, is a simple one! It is “Invest in the people and the community”. Why? The answer is that the people are the most valuable resource to a community.

In Pittsfield and the Berkshire region, it has been four consecutive decades of major population and job loss. The most valuable resources of Pittsfield/Berkshires are diminishing decade after decade.

Pittsfield politics is part of the problem! Pittsfield is run by a Good Old Boy network of political hacks who report to Boston/Beacon Hill Democratic Party powerbrokers. The people who run Pittsfield politics mostly come from multigenerational, inbred families. If you want a good job in Pittsfield, you have to kiss their dirty behinds. If you speak out against the G.O.B.’s, you get blacklisted from employment.

Moreover, Pittsfield politics is financially unsustainable. Every fiscal year, City Hall raises its operations budget by 5% and its capital budget by well over $10 million. The average local residents who work for their hard-earned money cannot afford the high taxes that benefit the vested interests and tourist or creative economy.

A young professional who wants to start a family in Pittsfield faces a lot of obstacles, which include a depressed local economy, a lack of living wage jobs, and the G.O.B. network of insiders and hacks. If you stay in Pittsfield, you live by having to defer to the G.O.B.’s provincial political agenda. You have no choice but to kiss the G.O.B.’s dirty behinds!

It has been reported locally, statewide, and nationally that Pittsfield is one of the most economically unequal communities around. There is a shrinking middle class sandwiched between a few wealthy and many poor families in Berkshire County. That means that Pittsfield/Berkshire County’s economic growth is in the underclass, poverty, welfare, social services, jail, crime, and the like.

All of Pittsfield’s socioeconomic indicators are pointing down! Instead of local politicians and community members in Pittsfield investing in people, they are consolidating their banal political power in a China-like one political party system that results in non-competitive, mostly uncontested “elections” with pre-determined or hand-picked lifetime office holders.

The Berkshire Eagle dominates Pittsfield politics with its entrenched power as the area’s only daily newspaper. The Eagle pushed for the Civic Authority, the Consent Decree with GE, and the career political hacks in state and local politics. If you don’t fall in line with the Eagle’s political agenda, you get the shaft just like with the G.O.B.

If Pittsfield politics wants real economic growth and equality, it will have to change from its G.O.B. model of entrenched local power to a fair and just system that invests in its people and community!

– Jonathan Melle

Pat
Pat
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
3 years ago

They would never print it, but you should send it to the Berkshire Eagle Jonathan. You must have read the editorial in yesterdays BB in which they respond to the article in the Boston Globe about poverty in the Berkshires. The BB defends the Berkshires being a playground for the rich and offers no solutions for jobs since we know they are not interested in jobs. No mention of a Super Walmart which would provide some jobs which pay well considering the low wages retail and resorts pay in this area.

The powers that be in this area are perfectly happy with the way things are with keeping the Berkshires as a tourist destination. Notice there is never any local pressure for these local resorts to pay more money to their employees despite this area being the bluest of the blue.

Radar
Radar
3 years ago

The worse traffic “improvement” downtown has to be the corner of Fenn and North.

Where:
1- you can’t turn left. Why the hell not? They just re-did the street. They couldn’t have designed it to allow for a left turn?

2- If you’re headed straight onto Depot St. you have to swing right which wouldn’t be such a problem but…

3- To take a right turn onto North St. you have to swing left to go around the new giant curb/bump out thing that only serves to take up unnecessary space.

So you better make sure you and the guy going straight coordinate your moves well enough that you don’t swing left into his straight lane while he is bearing right into your right turn lane. What genius thought that one out?

In fact it’s so bad that now they have a permanent orange traffic barrel situated at the right corner to make drivers aware they need to swing all the way out and left to actually enter the street…SO STUPID

h
h
Reply to  Radar
3 years ago

Don’t forget the Pedestrian that is inches away from the curb and you?