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Just As I thought! There's A Cover-Up At Five Corners!

The columnist forges ahead in pursuit of a resolution to the issue of the bogus left turn signal at Five Corners. Could it be that this is the final chapter in this ongoing campaign? And, as is his custom, he gives us a little craziness along the way.

“Some people see things that are and ask, Why? Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not? Some people have to go to work and don't have time for all that.” ~ George Carlin  

Okay, now I’ve seen it all. Well, I suppose I haven’t really seen it all. I’ve seen a lot in my lifetime, but ‘all’ may be a slight exaggeration. In reality, that’s just a figure of speech. I suppose it’s better defined as hyperbole; an exaggeration to create emphasis or effect; like saying, “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.”  

I’m fairly certain no one has ever been so hungry that they could actually devour an entire horse, unless perhaps they were a lion or they were a hanging with a pack of jackals; but I suppose they still wouldn’t be saying, “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse,” because; as we all know, lions and jackals don’t generally talk. 

As hungry as I’ve been at various times in my life; eating an entire horse never crossed my mind; part of a horse, perhaps, but never the entire thing. I tried to eat a Great Divide steak and cheese sub from one time, but that didn’t turn out too well; in fact, it was downright ugly - not the sandwich, the result. 

I wolfed down about eighteen of those twenty-nine beautiful inches of mouthwatering steak, cheese, fried peppers and onions, tomatoes, pickles, lettuce and hot peppers before I was forced to admit that my eyes were bigger than my stomach (still more hyperbole). I was pretty disappointed. I honestly thought I’d be able to eat the entire thing, but I guess it just had too much stuff on it. It was probably the lettuce! 

Mrs. Verzola, my eighth grade English teacher in Mansfield, is the one who really engendered my love of the English language. She’s the one who introduced me to hyperbole, idioms and the like. She warned me about the use of clichés and taught me sentence structure, grammar and gave me all the language tools I’d ever need. 

Mrs. Verzola passed away some years back, but I’m sure she’s looking down from behind her heavenly desk and thinking, “Well done, Robert. Now stop bothering the girls or I’m going to send you to the principal’s office!” 

Thanks Mrs. V. You were the best! 

Wow! I just flew off on a tangent! I believe that in Geometry; a tangent is a line that touches but doesn’t intersect with another line. I’m no math whiz so if you want to know if that’s factual you'll have to look it up. I’d look it up myself, but I don’t really care if I’m right or not. I have no interest in math. 

Mrs. Tufts, my Geometry teacher at , told us that if we didn’t memorize the axioms we’d fail her class. I didn’t [memorize the axioms] and I did [fail her class]. It wasn’t really my fault though. Mrs. Tufts had hair that changed color depending upon her mood. Some days it was pink and some days it was blue. I seem to have always caught her blue mood. 

When I go off on a tangent in my writing, it’s always intentional. It’s like improvisation in jazz. I take off on riffs and runs, but I always come back to my starting point. Did I say, ‘always’? I meant to say, ‘usually’. Actually, ‘sometimes’ might be more accurate. Well, at the very least, ‘occasionally’. 

When I said, “Now I’ve seen it all,” which was my starting point; I was referring to the fact that I was on Twitter the other day trying to drum up some new followers and I noticed that the Dalai Lama has a Twitter account. His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama; the spiritual leader of Tibet - Tweets! 

Go figure!   

And you thought I didn't have a point!                                                            

                                        ******************************

I made a promise to you last week regarding getting to the bottom of what I have now aptly named, The Great Five Corners Caper, which began .  

I’ve written several columns about this vaunted intersection in the past several months. I’ve used this forum to expound ad nauseam upon the many wrongs foisted upon the poor, unassuming motorist who asks nothing more than to travel unencumbered from point A to point B; a very reasonable expectation. 

We all understand that with any road construction project there will be a certain amount of angst and frustration on the part of those of us who have to deal with the inconveniences that accompany such an undertaking. That’s to be expected and we all deal with it in our own way; some of us better than others. 

But as much as I’ve poked fun at this project at the expense of the town, the state and the construction crew who has labored so diligently to make Five Corners what it should be; the safe, passable crossroads of two very busy thoroughfares (or is it three?); the issue of public safety remains - and there’s nothing funny about that. 

There may be those who are sick of reading about this, but I have to be up-front with you; I don’t care one iota whether anyone’s sick of it or not. My wife and two of my grandchildren drive through that intersection several times a day. My son, his wife and their nine-week old daughter, my third grandchild, also drive through that intersection on a regular basis. So, regardless of what anyone’s personal opinion may be; I’m going to pursue this until something is done about it. Quitting is not an option for me! 

There’s one intersection in town, , where it took numerous accidents and before action was taken to install traffic lights. Ironically, that intersection was deemed dangerous because it had no traffic lights and the intersection at Five Corners is hazardous for precisely the opposite reason; because it has traffic lights; traffic lights that, regrettably, could direct someone into a head-on collision. 

So I’ll ask once again! What the heck is going on with the extra left-turn signal? Why hasn’t this dangerous light, which has the potential to lead an unsuspecting motorist into a lane of oncoming traffic, been covered or turned off? 

Last Thursday, I put in two calls to Pavao Construction; the company contracted by the state to see this project through. My first call was to their office in Dartmouth. I spoke to a very nice, amenable woman who listened to my concerns about the safety of the intersection and gave me the name and cell phone number of the foreman on site. 

I called the foreman, got his voice mail and left a detailed message as to why I was calling. I left my phone number and asked if he would be kind enough to get back to me. Neither the foreman nor anyone else connected with Pavao Construction returned my call. 

I also put in two calls to the ; one last Thursday and one today (as I write this, it's Monday). I left a message each time, detailing my concerns regarding the public safety issue at Five Corners. 

Good news! This afternoon (Monday), as deadline for my weekly commentary approached; Chief Allen Krajcik was kind enough to call me back. I missed his call, but his voicemail message provided some sense of closure on the Five Corners left turn signal debacle. 

According to Chief Krajcik, has been especially concerned about this situation for some time and has been working diligently on getting authorization from either the State of Massachusetts (this is a state project) or Pavao Construction so that Bell Signals can bag the light in question. 

“We hope to do that within a day or two,” Chief Krajcik said. “We’re certainly aware of it and we’re working to get that corrected.” 

So, The Great Five Corners Caper may be coming to a close very soon. I’m hoping that by the end of this week, if I’m asked what’s been done about that pesky traffic light; I can say, “It’s in the bag!” 

Make it a great week! 

Author’s Note: I had no sooner typed the last word of my offering for this week than I received another phone call from Chief Krajcik telling me that DPW Director, Wayne Southworth, had just informed him that Bell Signal would be bagging the traffic light later this afternoon (Monday). If Bell Signal is true to their word, the light will be covered by the time you read this.  

I asked Chief Krajcik if he’d had any phone calls about the traffic lights. He said he hadn’t, but Director Southworth at the DPW had received quite a few. I’m betting that more than a few of those calls came from those of you who have been following this escapade in . Good job!

Bob Havey is an Easton-based freelance writer and a consummate trouble-maker. His column, "The View From Here", appears each Tuesday at http://easton-ma.patch.com and on Wednesday at http://mansfield-ma.patch.com. His column, The Way I See It, runs every other Wednesday at http://norton.patch.com.

Bob Havey October 25, 2011 at 02:15 PM
I drive down to Five Corners this morning. The light in question has been covered! It seems to me that rather than having to wait for state approval to cover the lights after the fact; it would make sense to have provisions for this in place before the lights are installed. But, of course, that would require thinking ahead by someone at the state level.
Kara M October 26, 2011 at 01:11 PM
Kudos to all who worked to get this ridiculous snafu corrected. Thank you Mr H for being a catalyst for this.
Robert October 27, 2011 at 09:48 AM
I have been curious to who's name could be pinned to this nightmare of a project! Relocated telephone poles in the center of the sidewalks (as well as sign poles), extra lites that dont correspond to any lane, riprap between private property and sidewalks, and how is Bay Rd going to access 123 without being an absolute mess??!! Unfortunatly, I have to drive through this nitemare every day, several times. It has made me consider moving, its that bad!! Double lanes and sidewalk to Hannafords would have made the project successful.
Bob Havey October 27, 2011 at 04:48 PM
This is a state project, so I'd guess you can point the finger at some traffic engineer; probably the same one who designed the Robert Drive/Foundry Street intersection, which has both sections of Foundry abruptly turning from two lanes to one and creating the Foundry Street Drag Strip.
Sandra Jones Chavez October 30, 2011 at 08:09 PM
Well, it is about time!!! I was there for the birth of said third grand child and the intersection was a real mess then! And then my daughter had to return to work and drive that way!! Just looking at the picture of the 2 left turn signals was enough to frighten me, thanks for not GIVING UP!! Not that I thought you would :)
Bob Havey October 31, 2011 at 04:51 PM
Giving up isn't in my nature, Sandy. I think it's called, 'thick-headed! :-)
Sinclair November 30, 2011 at 03:46 AM
On the evening of Nov. 20th, the left turn traffic light was not covered.
Bob Havey November 30, 2011 at 01:07 PM
Sinclair - There are two left turn signals. One should be uncovered. One was covered some weeks ago. Are you saying they were both uncovered?
Sinclair November 30, 2011 at 01:31 PM
There was a lighted red arrow pointing left while a standard green light to the right of the red arrow was on.
Bob Havey November 30, 2011 at 01:42 PM
Yes, that's how it's supposed to be. Previously there were 2 arrows, one in the lane of the traffic traveling in the opposite direction (weat).IThat light has been covered. It's still confusing in my opinion, because the regular green light is directly in front of the left turn lane so it looks as though you should be able to make a turn when you really shouldn't.. I've seen many drivers turn on the green light. Many hesitate, look at the light and then drive through the intersection. Some stop, which is what they're supposed to do because the left turn signal supersedes the regular green light. Are you completely confused yet? It's still a very strange and, in my opinion, dangerous intersection. Any time there's room left for interpretation or non-clarity it's not a good situation.
ELAINE NORDBERG ROCK June 25, 2012 at 12:40 AM
I will continue to AVOID DRIVING in that area. There are other safer roads & other places to shop. Sorry, but they will have to do better before I use that route. That intersection has been confusing for quite a while. There were no traffic lights there, that I remember as a kid (my father worked at the 2 foundries in Easton), and it felt safer over the years UNTIL they added all those lights! No, thanks.

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