, Newburyport, MA


August 23, 2013

Round and round with the automobile

I visited Moseley Woods a week back to take a river view of construction activity at the Whittier Bridge.

It was a fine walk along the tree paths, but a bit more of a challenge to old legs along the river route than I recalled, so I took care despite my familiarity with just about every nook and cranny despite a lifetime of visits. By its ending I gave way to a time warp.

My first visits had been walking with my mother and younger brother, Harley, way back to play on the swings when the only car I remember was a streetcar that passed us on its way to Amesbury.

This time I found nine cars full of children and adults.

I hadn’t given my visits much thought until I saw Bryan Eaton’s photograph of the roundabout at the intersections of Merrimac and Spofford streets, and Moseley Avenue in Tuesday’s Daily News.

Traffic is all but throttling us today. It’s impossible to track, but it’s more than 88 million car owners nationwide, and four of the cars are parked in front of my house.

I’m a bit ahead of reality but we are probably nearing the end of the automobile as we know it to be our a primary means of personal transportation.

Trying to deal with them locally is ever a headache for those chosen to manage the affairs of cities and towns from sea to shining sea and driving frustration is common.

There’s been some scoffing at Newburyport’s attempt to better the conditions at that intersection of three main streets and a park entrance.

My guess is it will help, but there’s bound to be trial and error. We don’t really know what unintended consequences are likely to be.

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