OSM: Bristol
3:35 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

One Square Mile: The Agony of Living on Route 114

There’s a saying in public radio, that our stories create “driveway moments.” That’s when you pull into your driveway and sit in your car to hear a story to the end. Well, if you live along Route 114 in Bristol, there’s a good chance you’re having a different kind of “driveway moment” –  when you can’t get out of your driveway because there’s so much traffic. As part of our series One Square Mile, Catherine Welch checks in finds out how these Bristolians make it out of the driveway and on to their destinations.

Dana Teixeira is no dummy. Her house along Route 114 is almost in front of a stop light. When asked if it was a strategic move, she laughs, no, not at all, that just happened to be.”

The traffic light doesn’t simplify her task. The intersection isn’t perfect and sometimes the light can take forever to change. “And here we have to depend on the kindness of others to get out of this left,” Teixeira said.

Rarely does the flow of traffic on 114 slow to a trickle. On the first beautiful weekend of spring or during the summer, forget about it, it’s bumper to bumper. So basically if Teixeira and her neighbors need to cross through traffic to make a left or right turn, it’s up to those kind strangers to get them on their way.

“Sometimes you have a decent person who will let you out, yes you do have that every once in a while,” said Lyle Booth, who lives down the street from Teixeira. You know his house, it’s the one with the John Deere tractors out front. “But these young people and they don’t care,” said Booth. “They’ve got the coffee, the cellphone and they’re driving and they don’t care.”

Lyle Booth stands near one of his John Deere tractors out front his home on Route 114 in Bristol.
Lyle Booth stands near one of his John Deere tractors out front his home on Route 114 in Bristol.
Credit Catherine Welch / RIPR

Teixeira and Booth will tell you it can take around five minutes to pull out of the driveway.

Ted Truver lives a few blocks down, near the graveyard.

“Horrible. Hor-ib-ble,” he exclaims.  

For him, getting out of his driveway starts with how he pulls into it. “My strategy is to try and back into the driveway whenever possible, which means pulling from the opposite lane, going into the opposite lane and then backing into the driveway a lot of times if I’m coming from the other direction,” he said. “I have no patience to sit there and try to back out I’d rather be facing forward and see what I’m doing.”

His wife Barbara said yes, living on Route 114 means the journey out of the driveway can take a while, and hinge on the kindness of strangers, but sooner or later that kind stranger puts on the brake and lets her make that turn.

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