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What Going On With The Brattleboro Traffic Lights?

It has been a week of blinking traffic lights in Brattleboro.  Any idea as to why this is happening and when it will be fixed?


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Excerpt from: Selectboard Meeting Notes:

Chair David Gartenstein said….. the town had had recent comments, complaints, and questions about snow removal and traffic lights blinking downtown. He said the recent major snow events had been a challenge. “It takes time to clear roads, and the timing of snow removal downtown needs to be planned,” he said. “We will try to be as responsive as possible to the needs of downtown merchants, but so far the schedule has been appropriate.”
He sad the traffic lights are set on blink mode when snow gets piled up. “It reduces the traffic problems and gets traffic moving more effectively.”

David Schoales had no committee reports but did offer an observation that he was amazed at how well people negotiated downtown traffic with the lights set to the blinking mode. He said there was a lot of traffic, but it was working well for vehicles and pedestrians alike. “It was nice to see.”

Comment Submitted by cgrotke on February 19, 2014 - 12:19pm. #
Keep 'em blinking
I liked the observations at the beginning about the traffic lights being set on blink mode making it more orderly, slower, and easier for everyone.
Studies show that when traffic lights go away, people drive more carefully. They are, in short, more worried about being hit so they pay more attention.
The town should consider leaving them this way, and only turning them on for emergencies and trains.

Excerpt from: Selectboard Meeting Notes: Utility Rates, Bus Changes, and Turnaround Tension


p.s...Keep 'em blinking

I noticed the same thing Chris did and I'm sure others did as well. I also agree with him.

The miscalled Malfunction Junction worked quite smoothly with the blinking lights.

"Keep em blinking"


The blinking lights may work

The blinking lights may work well for drivers but it makes being a pedestrian trying to navigate Main Street very difficult. Drivers don't pay attention to see if there are people waiting to cross and that -coupled with the snow covered layers of ice on all the sidewalks make a trip downtown dangerous and stressful. This town does a terrible job of making sure the sidewalks on Main Street are safe to walk on in the winter months. It appears that many of the businesses can't be bothered to remove the ice from in front of their stores and apparently the town doesn't have the time or the inclination to enforce the laws regarding this. (I'm assuming Brattleboro does actually have laws regarding snow/ice removal ) There's all this hype about revitalizing downtown; attracting new businesses; making it an area that tourists want to shop in; spend their time and dollars in. How about making it an area where the people who pay taxes can actually walk from point A to point B without breaking an ankle? There's no excuse for the unsafe sidewalks on Main Street- unusual winter or not.


While I was there

When I was downtown on Wednesday in the snow, pedestrians were given priority at intersections. Cars would roll to a stop and wait for them to cross. No one had to wait for a walk signal from a sign, and no traffic was backing up at any intersection.

Cars on Main would pause and allow the side street vehicles to enter.

Everyone was more polite.

I'd say, too, that without the lights doing the thinking for drivers and pedestrians left everyone on their own to figure out what to do, and this caused everyone to pay more attention than usual.

I'd leave the lights on blink mode to increase safety. Turning the lights on seems to turn off a part of our thinking.


Blink Mode

So, leaving the lights blinking is actually better than leaving the lights on and leaving them off.

Not off, not on, but in blink mode.

I think that's a worthwhile idea


That, unfortunately, was not

That, unfortunately, was not our experience on Tuesday. I had friends visiting who are considering moving to Brattleboro and were here to see some properties for sale. They wanted to see the shops downtown and have lunch but what should have been a pleasant experience (even with the cold temperatures and snow) turned into a very stressful time for us all. A few of the cars did stop to let us cross but on 2 occasions the cars coming from the opposite direction did not stop - or even slow down - leaving the group of us standing in the middle of the road. When attempting to cross near the Latchis cars on Main Street had stopped but a driver pulled right out from Flat Street -making a right hand turn and caused us all to have to quickly step back onto an ice covered curb.Obviously there was no parking on Main Street and parking in a lot and then walking to Main Street was a a slow and treacherous journey due to the build up of ice under the snow - no sand was down - clearly only minimal ,if any , shoveling had been done.I can't imagine how anyone who was in a wheelchair or physically disabled in some way could ever navigate downtown in this condition. We had originally planned on going downtown on both Tuesday and Wednesday but after that experience we chose, instead, to drive to Keene on Wednesday and have lunch and shop. And while there were certainly some icy patches on the sidewalks in downtown Keene it did not resemble a huge skating rink and we were able to get where we were going without risk of a broken bone. There is no reason for our downtown to be like this. It seems that less and less money is spent on maintaining the basic quality of life in this town and services have become minimal at best. Now the Selectboard - in their arrogant short sightedness-are 'hinting' at the possible closing of parks and the library among other cutbacks. But that obscenely expensive, unnecessary police/fire facility is still their shining star. We want - we need -new families to move to this town. How can we attract new residents or new businesses, for that matter ,when it's so clear that we can't provide even the most basic services to the people who already live here.


We are what we eat

The upsizing of the police/fire facilities in post 9/11 America is unstoppable. This is happening all across this country.

Someone once said, “You sleep in the bed you make.” Well, a creepy electorate elected the people (or worse, enough of the good guys didn’t vote) who created this mess and now we have to live with this cry-baby syndrome of how terrible it is to live in this police/fire engulfment.

Well we can’t have it both ways, as Hitler’s Germany found out. We can’t have our pet services and some needy ones because we are what we eat.


The upsizing of police and

The upsizing of police and fire facilities may well be the future but surely there is a way to provide a facility that improves the job performance of our police and fire departments without it bankrupting a town. There are numerous cities and towns across the nation - much larger than Brattleboro - who don't have police stations that cost over 14 million dollars. There has to be a compromise sought that doesn't mean the loss of some of the services that make this a town people want to live in. And you can talk all you want about the larger government that created this mess but that has little to do with a select board who pushed an over priced facility through without enough public input and now have seemingly drawn a line in the sand about whether we can actually afford this project - let alone if we need it at this point in time.
It's not just 'big government' that is the problem. Little governments get it wrong,too.


Fight it if you want, or sit back and enjoy the ride

I didn’t say anything about “larger government that created this mess.“ The problems here are systemic in this country. Wilmington and towns are also spending big bucks to upsize their police/fire facilities.

This selectboard knows that if they are going to “do it” for long-term planning it has to be now and it comes with a price.

The prison-industrial-culture in this country is providing the climate everywhere to build up the police, to create vast inmate facilities and the economics behind it all is a major driver.

Post 9/11 terror frenzy, codified pseudo-patriot laws, etc, are wonderful smoke and mirrors to steamroll this through. It’s too late to stop it.

Perhaps someday, a really humanist society will convert some of the glorious facility expansion into real housing and community services components. In the meantime, fight it if you want, or sit back and enjoy the ride.


Problem solved

I don’t know if it is actually true, but it is widely believed in New York City that…
• The OWNER of any property adjoining a sidewalk is responsible for keeping that sidewalk safe (which includes being free from snow and ice).
• If anybody slips and falls on any unsafe sidewalk, the above mentioned owner is AUTOMATICALLY liable for any injuries.
• Certain people make it their business to locate un-shoveled sidewalks and to fall and then sue.
• Result: there are very few un-shoveled sidewalks.


Well, the 25 minutes I spent

Well, the 25 minutes I spent on Main Street on Monday had me telling everyone I knew to avoid downtown, so if that means the blinking lights are worth, I say that's freakin' ridiculous.

One would think that places for people to park, and clean sidewalks to people to walk on, would be a priority on Harris Hill Weekend, Winter Carnival Weekend, on a long weekend. Everybody wants people to shop downtown, but when Rage Ensues from the hassle of getting downtown, never mind trying to cross the damned street if you're a pedestrian, then the very idea of coming downtown no longer appeals at all.


Hardy New Englanders trudge through it all

This is an unusually heavy snow winter, one which many Vermonters have experienced in past years. Apparently, there’ll be more of this in ensuing years.

No one in the know approaches downtown or Harris Hill without understanding it’s going to be a pain in the butt. Many hardy New Englanders trudge through it all.

As Lise alluded to in “Downsizing Brattleboro” (as well as "upsizing") in her article above, the real fun of dismay is yet to come.


There is merit to be had all round

I said that I agreed with Chris that blinking lights are a worthwhile idea.

As far as I know, however, there are no plans for the DOT to accept the idea at this time and I imagine when the planned blinking lights snow tenure is over, the traffic lights will resume their duty.

All we have here are different experiences, obviously good and bad that tie into the whole picture. It’s likely that there is merit to be had all round.


Blinking Red Light

Unfortunately, there are too many people who either don't know...or who choose to ignore....what a blinking red light means.


Similarly, when the lights

Similarly, when the lights are blinking, I don't even try and cross Main. It's near impossible, especially towards the junction. Saw quite a few near accidents and general stressful conditions. Not present at all.


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