Why do we have three lights, but two lanes?
It's one of many questions that have come up concerning the progress, and strange setup, of the Downtown Improvement Project.
While Fred Litchfield, the town's engineer who is most familiar with this project that is headed by the Department of Transportation, wasn't at the Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday night, Chief Mark Leahy was able to field a question.
It's a question many readers have asked, as well, and Selectman Leslie Rutan brought it to the table during her regular report.
"When you're heading down Route 20 going east," she said, "you come to the intersection with Church Street, and there is a left arrow there. And in addition to the left arrow there is a left arrow sign. Now, you have two separate green lights. If you're in the lane with the left arrow, there have been several situations where people have wanted to go straight. So if you have someone stopped for the red arrow, but the other two are green ... there are funny shenanigans going on there. I just don't see three lanes there; but there are three lights. The way that it's set up is not good. People don't know if it's a left turn only lane and they don't know whether or not they need to stay there either."
Chief Leahy, who attends the progress meetings along with Litchfield, said that ultimately, the finished product will indeed involve three lanes.
"Through some magic formula, they decided not to do that until springtime," said Leahy. "I like the term 'shenanigans,' because that summarizes it. It's designed for three lanes, but there are two because of the poles that we can't seem to get removed. If the utility companies could get the poles removed, we could ahve striped the lanes appropriately."
The confusing markage has had an adverse affect downtown, added Leahy, but "that doesn't seem to be on the high priority list for utility companies. It will be clearly marked someday. It has been very challenging from an enforcement standpoint because the road is not supposed to look like that ... but it does."