Islander's Blog

Goodman’s Gam

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Most years, I wait until the Fourth of July to proclaim that we’re now halfway through the season. After this comes the downhill slide toward Labor Day. Having had magnificent weather for months, with no sign of its letting up, people around here are way ahead of the game. Another half-season of what we have experienced would spoil us for years to come.

Many of us have run into driving delays from the repaving of Surfside Road. I fail to understand why the town would want to wait until late June to pave a road leading to the most popular stretch of beach on Nantucket. Wouldn’t April or May have been better?

The road was beginning to fail and repeated pothole patches were Band-Aids, trying to heal a terminal illness. What threw me most was the day after the grinding had taken place. Driving along there was smoother than it had been for a couple of years. Now, having used the newly-paved surface, I have nothing but praise for the end job.

Traffic around the island is over the top. I can’t remember seeing (and being involved with) so many lines of vehicles. No specific street seems immune to the gridlock we are dealing with every day. At this point, I’m not sure that removing the four-way stop signs on Old South Road will do much to alleviate the problem. Once the season ends, it will help.

Other than too many vehicles on our roads, two types of drivers cause most of the difficulties we encounter. Timid motorists are every bit as dangerous as aggressive ones. At times they provoke others’ risky behavior.

Here are a couple of examples I’ve seen over the past week. First was a compact car on Madaket Road, inching forward at 20 miles per. I followed, sixth in a line of frustrated folks. Completing the circle I spoke of (timid/aggressive), a couple of drivers attempted to pass and were almost taken out by oncoming traffic.

Then there’s the guy I followed down Orange Street. You’ve probably seen this. He kept drifting over to the right, as if there was incoming traffic. When a parked car was in the way, he’d weave back into left (actually center) lane. Looking intently at the non-traffic in front of him, the driver rolled through the stop sign by the bakery.

While this was going on, I watched two moped riders driving the wrong way up the street. As they approached me, I told the leader that it was a one-way street and received my favorite answer. I know. Not that it deterred them from continuing on their way. A few seconds later, three bikers followed the wrong-way parade. I kept my mouth shut. It just wasn’t worth the effort.

I know I’m beating a dead horse, but here goes. Why aren’t the bicycle laws being enforced? I can’t remember a time when I’ve seen so many two-wheelers riding on brick sidewalks in the core district. I make this complaint because I’m a bicycle-lover and it hurts to see them misused. The other reason, is having known someone who suffered a permanent injury after a bicyclist hit him on a sidewalk in New York.

I don’t want to be saying “I told you so” when a bad accident happens, and it will. Every year, there are plenty of minor bike/pedestrian collisions and many more that end up being close calls. Community Service Officers (CSOs-let’s call them Cops, Sort Of), need to stay alert to bike riders in town.

Speaking of the CSOs . . . A local Main Street businesswoman has a tiny dog that accompanies her. The pooch sits at her feet by the bench when she’s taking a break from her gallery. A CSO came walking by the other day, and barked at her, saying, “put that dog on a leash.” As he isn’t a policeman, my suggestion would be to add a please to the front of that command.

Have a great Fourth of July weekend. Keep your fingers crossed for a fog-free fireworks display. Be well.
Goodman’s Gam appears weekly in this space

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