Welp, Portland Maine has been discovered. People are flocking here. Just look at the rent for all those $1300 a month condos that are filling this city. More people are walking and driving around this New England relic than ever before. Food tourism, beer tourism, cruise shit tourism, vacationland. Except now with enough bourgieness to bankrupt us all.
More than rising rent and capitalist urges I am troubled by what I see driving around. I see fathers and mothers illegally scooting across intersections – pushing a stroller or encouraging small children, their heads bobbing as they scamper to keep up with Dada – while cars close in on them at velocity. What do they yell at these cars screeching to a stop in the intersection, the light above them green? “Hey buddy, there’s a crosswalk here!!!” Yeah there is dipshit. And right now it’s saying wait on the fucking sidewalk. You live in a ‘city,’ that means cars have the right of way sometimes. I jaywalk too, but if I die that’s on me. Don’t have your partner push the baby stroller into oncoming traffic because you’re in a rush and don’t understand traffic law. And don’t get the kids to follow you into certain death so you can shave a couple minutes off the commute home from the ‘game.’
Driving here is different. And so my blame shifts to the city of Portland. Maybe the death traps that I am about to list worked when this city was quiet and woebegone. Now they are infrastructure failures on the level of spectacle. Failures not in concept – if every driver were perfect these intersections would be far less dangerous – the failure lies in the City of Portland’s overestimation of drivers. People are dumb, as a rule, and we drive like idiots, typically, so you have to make it real easy on us. That, or anger, crushed fenders, and subjective reasoning ensues. You choose.
I love this city. This note is written out of love. I don’t want to see people die, or their cars wrecked. And I sure don’t want to wait behind a car crash on my way home. It is out of love, then, that I must submit this gripe, and educate you all, the reader, on these zones and the quirks associated with them. So sit down, buckle up, and get ready to learn a thing about the 5 most FUBAR intersections in Portland, Maine.
- State St. & Congress
Occasionally, we must shake our fists at our forefathers here in New England. What bunch of drunk monkey children wrote these blueprints in the first place? Did they just start scribbling with a crayon and go for it? This is the case with State St. and Congress.
State St. acts as a small two-lane ‘highway’ through the city. It’s how folks get to South Portland via the bridge and if one times it just right, it’s a zippy little route. Therein lies the issue, as there just so happens to be a break neck turn at the crest of the hill followed by a popular crosswalk. A guillotine, basically. Or, as I like to call it, carnival-of-potential-death.
The positive? There is a great view of this scene from the window out of LFK. So grab a seat, order a hot toddy, and enjoy the view of people nearly getting splattered on a windshield.
- Cumberland & Anderson St.
This one is only known to a few, but if you know it, it easily makes this list.
The top of Anderson, like many smaller streets in Portland, is a one-way street masquerading as a two way street. Turning left from Cumberland you really never know what you are going to get! Certain death via dump truck? Probably. A motorcyclist on the hood of my car? Fair chance.
Making matters worse is that unmovable dumpster that has been parked there all summer. What once was a bastion of last second swerving freedom is now occupied by a solid block of steal. Thanks Portland!
- St. John’s Street & Congress Street
This is a relatively new marvel of automotive nearsightedness. Again, by law, this one shouldn’t be an issue. But we’re all morons, which is an issue.
I am reminded of my permit test every time I’m here. I know because I answered this questions wrong. This law, after all, is quite nitpicky and would only be known to people studying for a driving test (hence the reason a crash nearly happens here every day).
When turning onto a two-lane road it is illegal to turn into the far lane. We all do it and we’re all blowing it and nowhere in this city is this on display as frequently as at St. John’s St. and Congress.
Both sides receive a green light and both sides have the right of way (if they can stay in their lane). The problem is that those turning right onto St. Johns St. are facing down a hill, making it an uncomfortably tight right turn. They instead drift into the far lane (illegal!) and threaten those turning left onto St. John. Solution? For the sake of our children let them go one at a time.
- Sheridan & Congress
This one is simple. When on Sheridan and stopped at Congress it’s impossible to see oncoming traffic. The city allows cars to park too close to the curb. That means one must inch out into the intersection to see if they are good to go. As soon as they are in the inter… BLAM … you’re fucked.
- Marginal & Franklin
For the love of CHRIST can someone fix this fucking atrocity. Every. Damn. Day. I see a family in a small sedan get nearly wood chippered by a truck.
The intersection of Franklin and Marginal is one of a few places where the city meets I-295. It is the final stoplight before we all get to hum up to 75 mph. Understandably, drivers – antsy to be rid of the city’s stop and go clutches – drive even more recklessly here. In other words, it’s a recipe for human and steel soup.
Here’s how it goes down: The easterly side of Marginal gets the green light and the green arrow to go either straight onto Marginal or left onto 295. The kicker? When the westerly side of Marginal’s light turns green the easterly side of marginal’s light stays green, but loses the green arrow, therefore ending their right of way to turn left. Of course Johnny Hot Shot in his Chevy doesn’t see it that way. He sees green, and as the westerly set of cars on Marginal begins to go forward he is there to rip in front of them on his way to the highway. Every. Damn. Day. This happens. Cars have been totaled here. Serious injuries have happened here (maybe death, but can’t confirm). Put a roundabout in, stop one side, anything. In all seriousness this is a hazard that threatens to kill us all. People are obviously not smart enough to notice the absence of the green arrow and stop.
So there it is. Hate an intersection? Weigh in.