New Bedford’s Hot Mess of an Intersection
Whoever designed the pavement markings at the junction of New Bedford's Ashley Boulevard and Acushnet Avenue made a hot mess out of the intersection. I don't drive in that area often since selling my house two years ago, and when I do, I wish I'd taken another route.
Holy cow! Get this person a job designing video games or something but keep him or her away from the roads.
The Boulevard and the Avenue are two of the longest ad busiest streets in the City of New Bedford. Where they meet, there is going to be a lot of traffic.
The opening of Route 140 in the 1970s and the further push northward by residents heading for the burbs increased traffic flow to the south, adding more traffic to the mix.
Though stressed, the junction was able to handle the added traffic – but then came the new Cumberland Farms store, complete with a gas station and car wash. Concerns about even more traffic led to the installation of new traffic lights and the necessity for new traffic lanes and markings.
According to a story in the Standard-Times dated November 10, 2020, Cumberland Farms paid between $400,000 and $600,000 to upgrade the intersection to handle the infusion of an estimated 100 additional vehicles an hour. Because they paid for the upgrades, the chain got to design them.
When approaching the intersection, unless you do so regularly, it's nearly impossible to tell which lane to be in or where and when you can turn. You have very little time to decide, too. I can't tell you how many times I've mixed up the left lanes while heading south onto Acushnet Avenue, forcing me to turn into the Cumberland Farms parking lot.
When heading north, I am still uncertain if I am allowed to turn left onto Belair Street at Joe and Perky's.
Besides all the fancy, overdone grid work, there are little white circles in travel lanes in the center of the road that may or may not designate the lane as a bicycle lane.
The intersection is, as they say, a real cluster. A hot mess. I try to avoid it at all costs.