For some observers, this is, to quote Martha Stewart, "A good thing."
The grand dame of home organizing was a stickler for keeping things in order. Anyone who has taken a look at the intersection of Ship, Clifford and Chestnut comes away head-shaking in dismay. "You expect that crazy intersection to handle two-way streetcar, auto, bike and pedestrian traffic?!”
As it is, Chestnut Street poses enough traffic snarls right now. The yellow double line that separates the roadway for two-way traffic offers a full lane southbound but, because of parking spaces,less than a third of a lane north bound. Throw a streetcar into the mix… and dIsorder will be the order of the day.
Picture a streetcar heading on its route up Ship Street (even narrower than Chestnut). At Clifford, it would have to negotiate an elegant "S" curve within about 50 feet: swing left out of Ship St. and immediately veer hard right onto Chestnut.
That intersection is already full of excitement, even without a streetcar.
Westbound motorists on Clifford see green lights all the way from Richmond to East Franklin and, rising to the bait, power their way up the hill at Indy 500 speeds. Anticipating rush hour traffic, the engineers set the Clifford traffic lights to stay green much longer than the crossing lights for Chestnut. Because of the narrow sidewalk and the building on the corner, drivers on Chestnut Street only get a split-second look for high speed traffic from the right. With Rhode Islanders' penchant for regarding yellow lights as a signal to speed up, things go wrong very quickly.
Fortunately, since the traffic lights began operating, only one minor injury has been observed in the three accidents.
So, RIP streetcar, let the motorists live on to crash another day.