Monday, July 14, 2008

From the files of the Black Baron: Casefile #080714 - The Crosswalk to Nowhere.

In my travels I've seen many a strange thing, attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. C-beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhauser gate... no, wait, that's not right... either way you get the idea, wander about long enough and you're likely to meet yourself coming the other way... and let me tell you, that's awkward in ways too manifold to list.

This time around though I'd like to call to your attention a singular item of either bureaucratic superfluousness or just outright stupidity of biblical proportions.

When I'm taking my temerarious lab assistant and minion Ferrette to her day job I have a choice of two courses, one involves interstate highway driving at insane speeds in a van with a transmission that can be best described as "iffy", and the other course, which I prefer, that consists of winding roads with a bit more sedate and sane speed limit that's also a well marked bike route so I can at least watch other folks enjoy themselves while I'm stuck in my green metal box.

Now, while traveling this route there's all sorts of nice scenery to see, plenty of trees and grassy hills, forested acres and even an alpaca ranch along the way if you're into that sort of thing.

One thing I did notice along the way that struck me as passing strange, however, was a large diamond shaped hi-vis lime sign that one usually only finds in more developed urban settings, the ubiquitous walking man figure that marks a crosswalk.

Now I had taken this route several times before it finally registered, I was seeing something that really shouldn't be there since this is area is hardly what anyone might call high traffic, either pedestrian or motor vehicle... it was, for all intents and purposes, quite dead.

So, on the return trip I kept an eye out and discovered the same signage repeated in the opposite direction and, along with that, was a crosswalk... in an area with no sidewalks and hardly any houses... a crosswalk in the middle of nowhere leading to nowhere.

The reasoning behind this escapes me other than to posit that they had too much money left over at the end of the fiscal year and had to come up with something desperate to fix the situation before they risked getting less money next year.

As you can clearly see in the photo, there is no reason for this crosswalk to exist, there's no sidewalks, no pedestrian traffic in the area, no large numbers of homes nearby, nothing at all to warrant this crosswalk's existence.

And even if these other things were there, there's no place to get to for which you'd need to use this crosswalk, it's just stuck out in the wilds of northern New Jersey isolated and alone.

At one point I had decided to investigate this further to find the reasoning behind it's construction but I soon realized that no one was going to give a damn and let the matter drop.

But, every once in a while, as I pass this spot, I still find myself wondering what caused this crosswalk to nowhere to come into being and when they plan on adding the lights to tell the deer, possums, and raccoons that must be the only ones to use it when it's safe to cross.

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