In the early 1900’s, speed-car races under 75mph were held on public roads until fears for spectator safety sparked the creation of use-specific closed-circuit tracks.
Yet today, with the arrogance bordering on criminal lunacy, plans are afoot to hold yearly Formula One car-speed races (at 150-plus mph) on the Weehawken/West New York stretch of the Blvd. East–a winding, two-lane residential road designed for vehicles traveling 25 mph!
Given that, consider this. Not long ago there was a horrific speed-car crash on a regulation closed-circuit track. The determined cause? The track wasn’t designed for the atypical event being run, nor for the type of cars being driven.
The Movers behind such fiascos are usually the-anything-for-a-buck PTB (powers that be) with considerably more money and clout than the rest of us and, it wood seem, significantly less common sense or conscience. In our case, that means the Formula One race people, our local town officials, and any numbers of investors, promoters, and so on (most of whom don’t even live in New Jersey.)
Clearly, their plan is bad on so many levels it’s hard to know where to start—especially when most of its vital details are being kept from us. Two items they released are 1): On race day (initially slated for mid-July, 2013), and on day(s?) just before and after it, hoards of international fans are expected to inflate our tiny towns’ already-packed populations to bursting point. And 2): During this invasion, streets accessing the race road will be closed to vehicular traffic!!
The chief concern is how quickly ambulance, fire trucks, and police cars can respond to emergencies—especially during the race itself. Say a spectator has a stroke. Or a race car crashes. If reaching victims necessitates it, how do you halt speeding cars mid-race? (Frankly, I don’t see lollipop ladies with stop signs meeting the case here.)
Also, where will they re-park the hundreds of residents’ cars normally lining Blvd. East? Or, interestingly, position porta-johns so as not to spoil TV footage of the event whose locale was deliberately chosen for its NYC-skyline backdrop? (Believe it. That coveted view is a prime engine behind the inherently-dangerous chaos the PTB intend loosing upon us.)
Finally, lets talk money: For the upgrading of the roads to meet Formula One requirements. For extra police security. For barriers effective enough to protect spectators and property. Etc., etc., etc. Who pays and who profits—the PTB or the taxpayers?
(Need we ask!?)
Well, actually, we do need. Voicing our questions, concerns, or protests in this column won’t change what is most surely a done deal. But at least it’s the first small step toward challenging the PTB and returning to an America where we get a vote on what happens to our town.