Posted on February 10, 2011


2:19 PM today. Traffic has been gridlocked in front of my house on Essex St for over 5 minutes. My wife needs to go to work. She can’t get out of the driveway because an MBTA bus is blocking it. People yell and scream at each other. A kindly soul attempts to untie the knot, gently urging a car forward with hand signals. All the snow we’ve had has gummed up the works. Cars are parked on both sides of the street, making it too narrow for anyone to pass.

The police dispatcher says, “We’ll come as soon as possible, but it’s a city-wide problem. Call the parking department.” The parking department doesn’t have the “jeep” to get anyone out here–“anyone,” presumably being the employee who brings the “jeep” home with him, is on vacation. (By the way, thanks, that little nugget of information really made my day special.) The police will have to take care of it.  “We’ll be there as soon as possible,” the police say. We can’t get out of our driveway.

Earlier today my bus struggled to drive down Union St. and then down Essex, two main thoroughfares. Cars were parked on both sides of the street all the way along Union. The city declared a parking ban to arbitrarily end on March 15 along the even side of the street a full week ago, but it announced in the Lynn Item for all to hear that it was going to hold off enforcing it for the time being. Ironically, the snow is starting to melt, but traveling through the city is getting more and more difficult.

I am going to call this Lynnlock, but I’m sure Lynners aren’t the only ones who suffer. Lynnlock happens when city officials don’t know how to talk to the press, disregard basic rules of customer service such be accountable and go out of your way for your customers, and generally mismanage situations and disregard plans. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was political patronage and pay-to-play involved too.

Lynnlock is corrosive because it eats away at the public’s confidence in its elected officials. It fortifies the cynics. It makes me waste time ranting.

Posted in: local government