Cranston Stop Signs

This article cracked me up.  It is so Rhode Island/Providence (Cranston adjoins Providence).  It turns out that of the 2500 stop signs in Cranston, about a quarter of them are unauthorized.  Rogue stop signs.  People just put them up, I guess.

No one is sure who put them up or how to rectify the problem… Mr. Livingston said it was likely that some residents put them up without permission; Mr. Cipriano said former mayors might have circumvented the City Council and directed that the signs be put up as a way to curry favor with constituents…. The city is now trying to figure out what to do with people who recently received a ticket, Mr. Cipriano said. Some believe that a judge could vacate the citation if it was issued within the last year.

Some people in New England think Providence is just a charming little city with two good universities and excellent restaurants, but it’s a deeply corrupt place.  (Yes, I’m annexing Cranston into a Greater Providence).  When I lived in Providence, in an apartment on Wickenden Street, my landlady had this awful, creepy handyman who I was never thrilled had a key to my place.  One day his photo turned up on the cover of the ProJo — turned out he was a city cop who had been receiving bribes in some ornate kickback scheme involving something about police escorts for parades (?) if I recall correctly.

It’s just a somewhat lawless, do-it-yourself kind of town.  I can completely envision local mayors and city councilmen paying off constituents owed favors with stop signs for their street.  There’s probably at least one garage that specializes in manufacturing forged signs.

The funny thing is that I now wonder if a rogue Rhode Island stop sign may have played a role in the only significant car accident in which I’ve ever been involved.  I was driving my old rust orange Tercel shitbox, R.I.P., with our friend Mike, coming back from the liquor store where we’d gone for some beer, I think.  This may have been 1996 or so.  All of a sudden we slammed into what turned out to be a very expensive Jaguar.  The Jaguar got one scratch; my Tercel’s right axel snapped in two.  I pointed out to the cop (not my handyman) that the stop sign I’d run was nailed to a tree and, because of all the snow in the road, was yards away from the street and hard to see.  I think he bought it, because I never seemed to get any insurance penalty for the accident.

Now I’m convinced that this was a totally unauthorized sign some Providence old lady with connections had gotten her son to nail up on the tree.  Vindicated!  I now consider myself to have a perfect driving record going back 15 years.

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3 Responses

  1. I applaud your restraint in managing to write a post about corruption in Providence where you refrain from getting into the whole sordid tale of Buddy Ciani, the mayor who was convicted of torture (!) but then re-elected after serving his prison sentence (only to be ousted from office again for criminal wrong-doing). Were I ever to write something about Providence, I’m sure the post would get totally derailed by poring over this…

  2. Yeah… I kind of felt that I couldn’t open that whole can of worms without giving more space to it. I think what he did was have his henchman burn a guy (whom he suspected of sleeping with his wife) with cigarettes. The voters were apparently fine with it.

  3. I remember seeing the stop sign in time, but not wanting to say anything toward a stop-short.

    It totally was nailed to a tree though.

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