posted by Jeanne Munn Bracken
So last week I moaned and groaned (ok, I bitched) about the "improvements" on my street. I probably failed to mention, though, that despite my having to drive past a "street closed except to residents" sign to get home, the "improvements" have not yet even gotten within sight of our house. Yeah, the street really, really needed fixing. Yeah, the part that's done is really, really nice (although I suspect it will turn into a speedway when the local law and order establishment is elsewhere occupied).
But frankly, the process has been a pain in the ...we can say it, ass, because that's what hurts when I negotiate craters and crevices of the interim surface.
I'll live. I'll enjoy the new smooth pavement (note to local constabulary: I'll obey the 35 mph speed limit. You don't need to check me. Really.) I just need to vent a little more and then I'll be fine.
And while I'm venting. Even if you've avoided Goldsmith Street this summer (easy to do if you're in, say, Florida), you have probably had to negotiate your own Goldsmith Street-type "challenges."
I say this with confidence, because the town where I work has been, if it's possible, even worse. For the sake of simplicity, let's just say I use Roads A and B, with a turn onto Road C, after I leave the commuter routes and head for the library. Leaving the library also involves a short stretch of Road D (the library sits on a 5-way corner, with 5-way stop signs. Talk about hair-raising! Add joggers, bicycles, pedestrians, dogs, a line of nursery school children clinging to a rope on the crosswalk heading for story hour, and you will understand why I arrive at work really, really awake and rarin' for more caffeine.)
Anyway, Roads A and B are really lovely rural roads; they meander through fields of vegetables, past a pond that supplies much of the municipal water, among trees that have been tooooo clooooose to the pavement. My CDs tended to eject when hitting some of the more prominent "pavement failures". Also, besides a number of beautiful houses, these two streets serve a national landmark house (Gropius), an art museum and sculpture park (DeCordova), a private school (Carroll) and a riding establishment for children with various handicaps (Lovelane).
This summer, in varying patterns and time frames, the town has completely rebuilt both Roads A and B. Arriving at my usual turn, I must read (very fast) the sign announcing the day's caveats (open to residents, open to museum, closed...) and choose whether I can turn or must evade and go to my alternate plan, which is a bit longer and involves at least one (depending) heart-stopping turn onto a road with approaching traffic from both directions obscured until the last minute. Great fun. Honest.
For the sake of the commuters on my rear bumper, I learned to just head for the alternate. One day last week, though, there was NO closed sign at the entrance to Road A. No "raised structures" warning. So I turned and got all the way to Road B, where an officer told me to drive all the way on the left side of the road. Whee!
Not to mention the evening when we left work to find our little stretch of Road C blocked. Never did figure that one out, but the next morning I was able to drive through there just fine. Probably just a test to see who knew the real back roads and who would give up and stop cutting through town.
Things got really interesting last week when, even though Roads A and B weren't completed, they started work on Road D. Our end of it was closed while huge machines chewed up the pavement and went into grading mode. As a result, the library's parking area was closed for several hours and patrons had to get creative to figure out places to park.
The current score: Roads A and B, open but with a bit more work to do and more delays on the horizon. Road C is just fine. Road D is accessible but with bumps and flying gravel enough to make me grateful I only have to drive on it for 100'.
And that's not all. Let me tell you all about highway construction from New York State through Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and up (or Down) into Maine. Next week.