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Saturday 20 Jul 2024

Picton Traffic
David Simmonds

This must be Canada's year. First, we had the Olympics, the G8 and G20 summits, too. Now, Canada receives an award for Picton, Ontario, of which the whole country can be proud.

The prestigious American Association of Emergency Vehicle Pursuit Counsel, the EVAPCON, choose Picton, Ontario, as its "Location of Choice," for the year ending 1 June 1010. What a distinction for this small Ontario town.

"The decision was easy," said outgoing EVAPCON president Ron Schystertaut. "First of all, you've got the Town Hill intersection. It's a masterpiece of risk-creating traffic design. I just wish we were able to practice in your jurisdiction. Take my card, by the way. Look me up if you're ever in New Jersey."

That's not all. "Someone sent us a copy of Steve Campbell's County Handbook. At page 44, he describes how you can barbecue a burger waiting for the 5-way traffic light to turn. He's right: the location is a breeding ground for road rage." He went on to add that the Tim Horton's parking lot had considerable merit on a stand-alone basis "I'd like to buy the guy who designed that lot the biggest steak he can order. Give me a side order of fries and a few donuts, too.

To top it off, EVAPCON noted the effect of this spring's construction down Picton Main Street from the Lake/Talbot street intersection. "It was beautiful," said Schystertaut. "You had a complete bottleneck and some amateur queuing traffic to set you on edge. The out-of-towners had to wait it out and snapped, while the locals found backdoor routes and took out fences and petunia gardens. Either way, you had damages."

Schystertaut also noted, with a slight smile, that there was a small but significant contribution from the Waring's Corners Roundabout, where a few hapless motorists circled the traffic circle for days on end, continually giving right of way to approaching motorists "Accidents just begging to happen," he observed.

In a related development, EVAPCON also announced that its "Innovator of the Year" award would go the makers of GPS positioning systems. "When they work, they allow us to track ambulances, fire trucks and police cruisers more effectively than we ever could before. When they don't, and they send little old women out into back roads, snowed-in for a week, we sue the manufacturers. It's a win/win situation."

Despite the accolade, County authorities insist that changes are in the works. For example, in the spirit of the County's "Creative Local Economy" mantra, practitioners of the ancient oriental art of Tai Chi will direct traffic at key Picton intersections. "We are appealing to their sense of community service and their inner traffic cop," said a County press release. "We are hoping to achieving traffic calming, and perhaps even traffic serenity." The press release noted the similarity between tackling the Town Hill intersection and playing the ancient Chinese game of rock, paper, scissors - for what purpose we're not sure.

Not to be outdone, residents of Wellington are hard at work attempting to convince authorities of the need to address traffic problems in our community. Speaking off the record, "it's too hot to touch," said the source, a County official noted there are two pressing issues.

The first involves several incidents of "road remorse" arising from fender benders at the Wellington traffic light. Apparently, drivers are breaking down in tears and admitting culpability in the most minor of cases and on the most dubious facts. "It's typical of the type of behaviour we see in Wellington," said the source.

The other problem comes from the residents of East, Wharf and Lakeview streets. "In a nutshell, they're lonely," said the source. "They miss the traffic taking a detour around the Foodland and the Library to avoid the Chill Chain Logistics trucks while they're stuck trying to get in and out of Mid-Town Meats."

The official admitted candidly that some consideration afforded to re-routing the Wellington Canada Day parade to pass along those streets, although there was no official word at press time.

However, we were assured that no delegation from EVAPCON would be in the parade. "They asked us, and we wouldn't give them a guarantee that there would be a slip and fall injury, so they pulled out," said the official. "We tried to meet them halfway by tearing up random stretches of sidewalk every hundred yards or so, but they seem keener on playing in the traffic in Picton."

They're welcome to.

Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose, not infrequently laced with savage humour. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Pete Hamill and Mike Barnacle; the late Jimmy Breslin and Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington, Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

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