Weston’s Newest Traffic Engineer is a Real Turkey

Turkey traffic engineer. Courtesy photo

The new intersection lines at North Avenue (Route 117) and Merriam/Lincoln Streets continue to cause mayhem among the residents and commuters of our semi-rural town. Commentary on the town community page shows what we all knew: we have the highest number of traffic engineers per capita in Massachusetts.* What you all did not know is that one of them is a turkey. No, really.

Travelers on the 117 corridor last night between 6 and 7 pm were befuddled, not because of the painted lines but because of a pretty aggressive turkey who seemed to be saying “Fight Me” to all the Teslas and Audis trying to make right turns through white grids of lines. Traffic backed up 15 cars deep, almost all the way to Silver Hill, as drivers worried for their paint jobs from the road-raged turkey.

A game camera picks up the perp making mayhem on the roadway

Calls to DPW were in vain, mostly because they were never made. One person suspected that a new crossing guard had been hired due to the obvious spike in the town budget this year. A neighbor on the west side of the intersection reported:

“At first look, the turkey seemed confused by the newly painted lines to control traffic at the intersection of Route 117 and Merriam Street though after closer observation she appears concerned about the speed of east/west travel on 117 and committed to increasing intersection safety,” said Julie Driscoll. “I believe she lives on the south side of North Ave and is trying to slow traffic so her family can safely cross the road.”

Note that the turkey was originally falsely profiled as Durkey, or Deck Turkey, who visits one neighbor to do quality control on their Pella windows. Just as you would expect, long-term head injury from such pecking has made Durkey less than reliable on traffic duty.

One driver became so concerned by the level of turkey crazy that the Weston Police were called. This is not a joke, and might be the reason for me getting a police scanner in my next Amazon delivery. Can you imagine the call? Turkey attack on the north side! Send reinforcements! A review of the police report shows only that “a turkey was walking in the roadway and cars were stopping, but by the time Officer Kyle Altieri arrived the turkey was well off the road safely. ” No turkey tickets were issued. 

Weston may have to review its policy on second chances. As of 9:30 am this morning, the turkey was again making a plea for traffic calming. Why did the turkey cross the road? The issue is that it doesn’t–but rather monitors the situation from directly inside all of the lines.

9:30 am. Zero fs given.

On a more serious note, this intersection has been causing grief for the north side for quite some time. Almost 2 1/2 years ago, a group of residents requested help from the Traffic & Sidewalk Committee. The town then paid for a traffic study which was completed last year (technical memo is here). The result of this traffic study was a plan for a phased change to the intersection–while curbing, islands and a blinking light may be down the road (pun intended), for now, painted lines are designed to slow down turning traffic (which often hit warp 100000 because of the width of the actual pavement there). The fact that cars can pull farther ahead on Merriam and Lincoln gives them a fighting chance to see and stop for the east-west traffic that seems to always be late for work or cocktails. It also gives pedestrians a white-bordered protection from idiocy (though not turkeys–we may need to think about chicken wire).

There were two accidents at this intersection so far this year. One in January and one in February. The new lines were painted on April 20 and 27. It is the Owl’s personal opinion that things are better, and since she swoops through at least four times a day every single day, her data are as good as any. Also the Owlets are still alive as they run screaming across the street, chased by a turkey and large landscaping trucks. Tomorrow night is Traffic & Sidewalk committee night so come on over if you want to make a resident comment, or send an email to traffic@westonma.gov.

if there is one thing the Owl has learned in her seven years in Weston, it is that change is very very very very hard for Westonians. Give it a chance. And stop for the turkey. She is trying hard to make things safer for all of us.

*Not actually true

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