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These days, crossing any of the 27 streets that converge at Rawlins Cross feels like trying to dash across the speedway during the Indianapolis 500: the cars just keep coming.
While waiting for a break in traffic, you have plenty of time to ponder the mistake of St. John’s city council.
Rawlins Cross could be a confusing intersection, what with all those roads and two sets of traffic lights seemingly four feet apart. But at least it was safe. Cars stopped on red. Pedestrians could cross easily and safely, without death-on-wheels hurtling toward them unimpeded.
But an important job of governments and bureaucrats is to mess things up.
In this regard, St. John’s city council is surpassing expectations.
When council announced its planned changes for Rawlins Cross in 2018, it was instantly apparent that its proposed traffic circle/roundabout would make the intersection(s) more dangerous, not less.
Why take out the traffic lights? To speed up traffic flow, obviously. Two sets of traffic lights so close together create a bottleneck. Stop. Go. Stop. Go. Maybe they added an unacceptable minute or two to your commute.
Whichever traffic studies or consultant reports city council relied on are less important and less reliable than real-life experience at Rawlins Cross.
Observe the cars. They go round and round, unimpeded by interruptive traffic lights, and pedestrians perch on a curb, waiting and hoping for a chance to cross.
It is an instructive lesson in politics. In that realm, politicians seldom, if ever, admit to being wrong, even though they so often are.
City council could, if it wished, switch to reverse and back up, and put Rawlins Cross back to the way it was — slower for motorists, perhaps, but at least safe for pedestrians.
Pals with Persia
Geopolitical friendships can be so fickle. One minute you can’t stand the Brits, and the next minute one of their princes wants to move here. Well, not here, but to Canada generally. It’s doubtful Meganharry have Gander in mind.
Beyond the Royals, it looks like millions of young Persians finally want to be pals with Westerners — although probably excluding citizens of the Great Satan.
They’re in the streets again, possibly this time fulfilling predictions that young Iranians will someday get fed up and overthrow the murderous theocrats who rule their country. Some media commentators are already demanding that Western governments support the youngsters in their apparent protests for freedom and democracy.
Not so fast. Young Persians may be pretty, but do they really want to date us? I doubt it.
Just last week they were out in the millions, screaming against the Great Satan for assassinating one of their fascistic generals, who spent his pitiful life propping up mullahs who hang rape victims and execute gay men.
The people of Persia need to make up their minds about whether being an Islamic republic is all that wonderful, or not. If the latter, maybe someday soon we can go for coffee.
Unlike most of my colleagues, I don’t have enough Crosbie material to fill an entire column.
I interviewed John Crosbie only once. In 1990, he came to our old office on Columbus Drive for a meeting with the editorial board of The Evening Telegram, as it then was.
“Editorial board” is a euphemism for top editors sitting around and asking questions of an Important Person, while a mere reporter — in this instance, me — listens, takes notes and writes a story.
I don’t recall the details. It was 30 years ago. Being 1990, the Meech Lake constitutional accord was probably brought up.
The next day, the managing editor called me into his office.
Crosbie 1, Jones 0.
“John Crosbie phoned,” he said. “He says you misquoted him.”
“No, I didn’t,” I said.
I had my notebook to prove it. During years of reporting, I’d developed my own system of shorthand. Shannie Duff was the only politician I ever interviewed who spoke faster than I could write.
Alas, my notes held no credence with the editors, who, unlike today’s bosses, were spineless and subservient. The Evening Telegram printed a correction and retraction.
Crosbie 1, Jones 0.
Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached at email@example.com.