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Square Dance


Since the end of gas rationing, Harvard pedestrians have protested their traditional role as fair game for Cambridge drivers. Once again the old cartoon of the staid Brahmin matron squatting for a running start across the Square touches sympathetic notes among the local sidewalk gentry. Professor William Yandell Elliott's prewar guess that no battle could be quite so dangerous as crossing Harvard Square during rush hour did not consider the possibilities of the Atom Bomb, but the analogy is still too close for comfort.

In 1941 the Cambridge City Council, never far behind, decided that after 30 years of broken field running, local pedestrians were due for a rest. As a result, a traffic signal and a policeman were planted on the corner with instructions to keep the game clean. Drivers still maintain that this intersection is their legitimate preserve where every maneuver in the traffic manual can be loosed on bewildered passers-by. Whatever good the light and the patrolman do vanishes at 5:45 when the light goes out and the patrolman goes home.

From time to time the city has pigeon-holed construction of larger traffic signals on each of the streets converging on the Square. Placed fifteen to twenty feet away from the corner they would be visible to all approaching drivers and thus would control the flow of Square traffic. The pedestrian lights are designed to restrain those who would match wills with the Boston-brand cowboy. It would be wise to supplement these proposals by changing the position of our policeman and his booth to the center of the intersection. From here it is possible to control front-seat tempers, while as it is now, the law controls little aside from sight-seers and boy scouts.

The number of automobiles in use this spring makes the harried pedestrian look to the city for help. Otherwise a mission to McBrides or the Coop will take on all the sport of playing touch-tag with a tank formation.

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