Hazelnut Gelato and Picking Fights with Tommy Lister in the Maze of Forgotten Construction Projects / part 1

Godiva.  Hazelnut.  Gelato.

But more on that later.

They say that in Buffalo there are only two seasons: winter and construction.  I’m fairly certain this is also said in any other city in the world as well, since Buffalo isn’t exactly  a unique snowflake here when it comes to crappy weather and crappier roads.  So just insert whatever shit-typical weather any other city is known for where you see winter, and I guess we’ll all be on the same page.   But if the dual seasons theory is correct, then in this case, it seems the current construction season is comparable to the Blizzard of ’77. 

Street crews have created a maze of detours around forgotten construction sites where getting from point A to B now requires not a straight line, but a four year old with an Etch A Sketch to draw you a map.

There are ‘Road Closed’ signs up all over the place, and they’ve been up for at least month at this point.  I can see construction equipment, just sitting there on the other side of those road closed signs. 

Just sitting.  Waiting.  Silently weeping tears of oil.  Only oil though—they would weep grime and road crew filth but these pieces of equipment haven’t been used and furthermore haven’t moved in weeks.  And so they cry.

The construction crews are really good at putting up the road closed signs, I have to give them credit for that.  But, much like when I decide to do my laundry and I only get as far as sorting it into piles all over my room before grabbing a beer and ignoring said piles for another week, setting up those signs isn’t really accomplishing anything. 

It isn’t really enough to just put up the sign.  Anyone can put up signs or block traffic with a handful of pylons.  Shit, I can close my street off right now with all the construction cones (and one barrel) that I’ve collected over the years.  I can even add a Stop sign mid-block just to fuck with people.

So it isn’t difficult to set up signs and block roads off.  Anyone can do that.

OK, it’s important, I know, the whole closing roads thing.  You don’t want to take a turn only to find yourself on a patch of grooved pavement two inches below normal street level and suddenly playing a game of chicken with a road paver who’s about lay some asphalt over your Geo Metro.  So closing roads is a good thing.

It helps if, when you a close a road, that you then do something with those roads.  So, job well done—sort of? 

Meh, it’s a start—that should be good enough. 

After all, you guys are probably only getting paid about $16 an hour.  I can’t expect signs to get set up and construction work to be done during the same season.

At least in a few spots someone went above and beyond and they actually stripped the roads down.  That’s pretty good, right?  Its a start—its progress.  Yeah, they stripped the roads down… then went on vacation. 

Road closed.  Grooved Pavement.  Road Closed.  Grooved pavement.

You see the pattern.  And you’ll get to know this pattern pretty well since the roads have sat like this for over four weeks.

It’s not like anyone uses these roads anyway; being blocked off or unpaved won’t inconvenience anyone at all.  Residential streets connecting two major thoroughfares?  Unnecessary!  What are those—houses?  Who uses those anymore?  And roads?  Who needs roads?

Doc Brown said it best, “Roads?  Where we’re going we don’t need roads.

He was referring to the world of 2015, but do you know what?  We’re ahead of fucking schedule.

We’re there, man!—we don’t need no stinkin’ roads.  At least, that seems to be the opinion of whoever is planning and scheduling construction projects in the Town of Tonawanda since one can’t access half of the roads and the half you can drive on make you feel a can a paint fresh off the shaker.

My big problem on gelato day (and I’ll explain about the gelato later) wasn’t even this maze of closed roads.  Its that I was forced into this maze of closed roads and detours because some jerk off had the bright idea that at noon on a Saturday they were going to shut down two lanes of the Youngmann Highway. 

Let me explain why this is a fucking stupid:

Canadians really like to shop in the US, especially for shoes.  They love buying shoes.  Many a weekend is Western New York buried in the discarded shoes and shoe boxes that our Neighbors to the North have abandoned whilst in the throes of shopping ecstasy, eh?

There’s three major bridges within roughly thirty miles of each other that connect Canada and the US, and each of them easily connects to the I-190. 

From there you can either dick around in Niagara Falls, or follow it to the Youngmann where it dumps you onto Niagara Falls Boulevard and the buttload of shopping that stretches along there.

So on a Saturday, when traffic is bound to be the highest, even without the influx of Canadians who need new shoes, how—HOW?!

—is it a good idea to close down two lanes of a three-lane highway that is the most direct route between Canada and the largest concentration of shopping awesomeness within thirty miles?

OK, maybe not awesomeness, but there’s certainly an incredible variety that should cover all the shopping bases between the dozen or so pockets of shopping plazas and the Boulevard Mall.

That stretch of Niagara Falls Boulevard should cover all the bases with Canadian shoppers. 

If they can get there.

It’s as if we don’t want their money. 

Not only have we closed down two-thirds of the most direct route, backing traffic up for another two miles, but any exit they take to avoid those delays runs them into the Maze of Forgotten Construction Projects.

All those Canucks wanted was to buy some new shoes and ask where the washroom is.  They don’t deserve that. 

That’s like someone offering you a hundred bucks and you punching them in the face.  And then later that night asking, “So… can I have that hundred bucks now?”

The construction isn’t really the point, so its safe to say I’m getting a bit off topic.  The mess of construction cock-ups is really just to set things up, its what starts out this tale.  It helps explain what happens later.  The gelato is what ends it. 

Well, not really, the gelato shows up all over the place, unfortunately, but you’ll see what I mean later.

About mattS

Couch potato, burrito aficionado, whiskey sour drinker, handyman, writer of interesting things.

Posted on August 29, 2011, in Buffalo, Rant, Things I Come Up With While I'm At Work and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Just found this. I’m preparing a rambling post about Grooved Pavement and wondered about your “Groovy Pavement” signs. Are they real or just a clever online invention? By whom? Are they part of a larger collection.

    I found something similar in New Jersey but it was pretty clearly a free-lanced doctoring of actual signs where there didn’t seem to be any actual grooved pavement.

    If you have a moment, let me know and if it suits I’ll mention where I found it.

    Best —



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