Today we’ll be finishing up our Tournament of Shitty Intersections’ semifinal round. If you haven’t been paying attention, we took 16 of the most irritating intersections in all of Gloucester and matched them up. Only one will be crowned the victor. Moving on to the final four are the next two contestants.
Maplewood/Railroad/Prospect vs. Sayward/Bass Ave/Brightside
Maplewood/Railroad/Prospect, a.k.a. The triangle of doom, reined supreme over its competitor, Pond/Witham/Eastern. Pond/Eastern had the velocity factor going for it – one wrong move and you’re plastered by a plumbing truck hauling ass from Rockport – but couldn’t pull off victory.
The Maplewood/Railroad/Prospect intersection is amazing not only for its sheer level of terrifying confusion, but that it’s how a lot of folks coming in from out of town get downtown. We have tourists walking off the train and the first glimpse of Gloucester they have is a man in a 1989 Buick Lesabre with a duct-taped bumper giving the finger to a school bus while everyone in the intersection honks simulataneously and someone is parked on the sidewalk. Awesome. It also has the distinction of being one of those intersections where one person can fuck it up for everybody else by blocking the entire goddamn intersection so no one can move until some idiot realizes he’s holding up traffic trying to turn left into a space his car can’t physically occupy and remembers the Pauli exclusion principal that states what he wants to do is impossible because electrons or whatever, so he continues straight until finally everyone can go again.
In the opposite corner, we have Sayward/Bass/Brightside, which beat the heck out of Poplar and Washington last round. As well it should have. I have to turn left at the end of Sayward twice a day on weekdays, and somehow I’ve never been in an accident. We’re all on borrowed time in this shitshow of an intersection. Not only do people coming from the Thatcher/Good Harbor area fly by at about 80 knots, but the blind curve that gives you 30 feet of visibility in the other direction is fun as well. It’s like Mario Kart, except I don’t even have a blue shell I can throw.
I think the thing that annoys me the most about it isn’t waiting for a break in traffic to turn left, but that sometimes people coming from Brightside will stop and then go, even though you were at the intersection first. What are the laws supposed to technically be? Isn’t it treated like a 3 or 4 way stop where the person who stopped first goes, and tie goes to the car on the right? Otherwise it’s just freakin’ mayhem. More mayhem, anyway. Fuck this entire intersection, honestly.
I have to weigh in here that it’s the Sayward traffic that is more often in the wrong at this intersection. As you rightfully point out, tie goes to the vehicle on the right… which would be Brightside, but for some reason drivers who roll down Sayward seem to think one of two things: 1) that the stop sign is merely a suggestion and that regardless of whether there is a car at Brightside or not, as long as there is a sliver of an opening along Bass Ave, actually STOPPING at the intersection would be viewed as a clear sign of weakness…
OR, 2) they believe that since, at some point in their approach to the stop sign, they were forced, by one of weak ones ahead of them, to actually stop their vehicle, that should somehow count as their actual stop AT the stop sign. So once they’ve hit the intersection, they’ve technically already stopped somewhere in the preceding 100 yards and therefore need not hesitate before screaming into traffic.
Finally there is the “caboose” — that’s the person who believes they are magically and invisibly linked to the car in front of them, so when it goes, they follow six inches behind them ignoring everyone else in the intersection…
People don’t understand that Maplewood et. al. is fine because it’s a micro-rotary. It may look like a mess, but really it’s something we all understand and can work with. If we could just plant a buoy out in the confluence of Bass, Sayward, and Brightside things would be fine.
Planting a buoy on something should be Gloucester’s answer to “Put a Bird On It.”
This intersection is known as “car wars corner”. Approaching it via Brightside is the only way to go….Although you often risk death via head-on collision traveling from Beach Rd down the winding Brightside, as speeding pickup trucks approach from the opposite direction the middle of the road. During warmer months you will always encounter a long line of traffic if you choose to approach via Sayward..
It’s all my fault! I know Sayward is a big old street…but Brightside? I keep forgetting that it’s there!
Brightside??? Oh, I thought that was a driveway