Tuesday, January 30, 2007

"I fear for my life..."

Thus spake one local resident, speaking of traffic safety - or the lack thereof - here in Greenwich. The full quote runs as follows:

"[There are] way too many people speeding, running stop signs and traffic lights. I fear for my life when I'm driving or walking."

That about sums up the sorry state of traffic enforcement in this town. Many's the time your scribe has been driving up Stanwich Road or Lake Avenue, observing the 30 MPH speed limit, and some jerk in an SUV blows by him at 50 or 60, cell phone to the ear. Double yellow line? What's that? Stop signs? They're for peons. Traffic lights? They don't apply.

Your scribe has written before about crime in Greenwich (the safest place to commit murder in the entire USA), but it now seems time to focus on the enormous crime wave that is raging unchecked on nearly every street and road in town. Stand on any corner of Greenwich Avenue and watch how many people drive by chatting on their cell phones - within inches of the traffic cops who are supposed to be upholding the law even while they try to prevent vehicular manslaughter by making the cars stop for pedestrians. Stand on the Post Road, and watch how many red light runners go by in the space of five or ten minutes. Pick a stop sign in your neighborhood and stand there, camera in hand, ready to capture the lawbreakers on film. And then try calling the cops.

Most of them will just laugh at you. A few may promise to send what they call a "nastygram", which informs an errant motorist that someone has observed them breaking the law. But don't expect them to do much else.

It's quite clear, dear reader, that motorists in this town flout the laws for one very simple reason: no one seems to care. I mean, maybe you do and I do, but we're a small minority in a large community of lawbreakers. And we have no enforcement powers.

If I were Jimbo Lash (and boy! am I glad I'm not!!), I would use my powers as Commissioner of Police to get the cops out on the roads where the most frequent violations - not to mention accidents - occur. A patrolman could pay his own salary for a year by staking out North Street, or Riversville Road, or any of the other unofficial speedways in town. Why, just a week or two ago, your scribe was tooling down North Street when two motorcyclists came roaring by in tandem at about 70 MPH. Back in their dust was, believe it or not, a lone police cruiser, but the cop never had a chance. He didn't see them split up and turn off, and kept on going down to the Post Road with his useless lights and sirens. There he was joined by other cruisers, and they all sped off towards Port Chester in pursuit of - nothing. Just like the Keystone Kops of cinema fame.

No wonder the motorcyclists and SUV drivers come to Greenwich for their joyrides. It's the safest place around (so to speak), since the odds of being caught range from infinitesimal to none. Thanks, Jimbo - you're doing a great job as police commissioner. Aren't we lucky to live in Greenwich, folks? Er...those of us who haven't been run into or over, that is.


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