Summertime, and the Drivin’ Ain’t Easy

(Parting Shots) Summer road construction disrupts traffic

Every week in this space, the Syracuse New Times will give you a piece of our mind. For what it’s worth.

We know of a fellow who believes that people in Syracuse, particularly the men, are very, very tall.

He’s 90, and he moved to town a few years back when he could no longer stay in the house in which he lived for 50 years. Apparently, he saw some tall men here and got it in his head that Central New York was once populated by a race of titans, all logic and statistics notwithstanding. After that, he kept noticing tall people, and, for him, it just reinforced the idea.

He thinks it rains and snows differently here than it does 140 miles down the Thruway, too.

Which brings us to a similar impression we’ve gotten as the long, enduring, long, relentless, long winter seems finally to have given way to better weather: Why does road construction around Syracuse always disrupt traffic on the main highways in the summer?

Really. Don’t the highway crews ever catch up with the maintenance? Shouldn’t they be spending some summers working on Interstate 481 out near the Clay swamp, instead of always blocking off I-81 or I-690 in the city? Can there really be so many creaky bridges around here that every year we need to take three lanes of I-690 down to one to fix them? Aren’t some of them sturdy … from the last time they took three lanes of I-690 down to one to work on them?

Back when we were living in the Buffalo area, we always thought it would be a terrific idea to pick one day every summer and let the Niagara River be the Niagara River. You see, both Americans and Canadians divert water upstream of Niagara Falls to fuel their huge hydropower projects downstream. So the falls you see in 2014, impressive as they seem, have as little as 25 percent of the water people saw going over the falls 100 years ago. Wouldn’t it be cool to see the falls in their full glory, one day a year? Apparently the need for air conditioning makes that impossible. People 100 years ago not only saw the real falls, they coped better with the heat.

Wouldn’t it be even neater, just once, to let the crews around here spend a summer sharpening the blades on their plows and removing roadkill and just let us drive without creeping in long lines of traffic while people relearn how to merge?

One can dream.

Read Parting Shots from past weeks issues – CLICK HERE

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