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Top 16 Worst Traffic Lights In Worcester

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A few months back we wrote a blog about the 15 Best Cut Through Streets In WorcesterThis blog is kind of the complement to that one, mainly because without this blog there would be no need for cut through streets. These are the throughways we were showing you how to avoid. We intended on making a Top 10 list of the worst lights in Worcester. But while driving around it was too hard to narrow down. So we made a list of 16 instead. Here are the Top 16 Worst Traffic Lights In Worcester.

Editor’s Note – we took these pictures between 11-1, so obviously traffic will be a million times worse later on. Anyone who’s ever driven through any of these intersections knows exactly what these lights look like during rush hour. 


16. Rice Square – Massassoit Rd/Plantation St/Grafton St/Acton St


There’s a million ways you can avoid this light by going down Hamilton Street and banging a right on one of those streets filled with aspiring Grafton Hill rappers. Because if you don’t you’re just gonna see this:

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If you time it right you might see a Grafton Hill rap video in progress. But more than likely though you’ll just see a bunch of weeds growing on the sidewalks or if you pass through around 2:00, a bunch of 16 year olds from Worcester East Middle beating the shit out of each other.



15. Cambrdige St/Southbridge St

Cambridge Street is the devil. If you brought the King of Botswana for a cruise down Cambridge Street he’d be giving us tips on how to improve our infrastructure. And this light is basically how Cambridge Street ends. It’s why getting to 146 is such a pain in the ass.

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14. Park Ave/Highland St


Highland Street is like Cambridge Street except there’s actually a reason to go there. But that’s the problem. Too many morons. Everyone with a brain is using Institute Road, playing dodge-a-nerd while driving through WPI. The worst is when you’re driving on Park Ave and some idiot is trying to take a left onto Highland Street. Clusterfuck city.

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13. Lincoln St/Summer St/290


You can wait at this light for an eternity if you time it right. Especially if you’re getting off the 290 ramp. You’re fucked.



12. Belmont St/290


If you need to get to the highway coming down Belmont Street, these lights are unavoidable, and they always blow. It’s supposed to be a two lane road – LOL. Around rush hour you’re gonna be backed up all the way up to Hooper Street. Watch out for Wanda and those Asian chicks in her basement. They might be free by now.

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11. Lincoln Plaza 

As of today, this is easily the worst light in the city. But that’s because the Worcester State cheerleading squad could plan construction traffic better than the city of Worcester. It took a half an hour to drive a quarter mile from Hanover Insurance to Country Club Boulevard:

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And the worst part about this set of lights is they don’t time any of them, so you’ll almost definitely get stuck behind some fat bastard on his way to Denny’s for mid-day Grand Slam.


10. Foster Street/Green St/Franklin St/McGrath Blvd

Suppose you’re coming from 290 and you wanna go downtown. If you get off on Martin Luther King Blvd you’re gonna hit five million lights. I like to get off at Kelley Square and take Green Street instead. The problem with this is that you have to deal with this God forsaken light.


And every asshole doing the Kelley Square – Midtown Mall Shuffle has to hit the walk button. It’s a rule. I feel like I’ve sat in this tunnel for an eternity. Oh well, at least you get to stare at this magical trash cave while you’re waiting, where there’s a good chance someone’s getting a handy.



9. Lake Ave/Belmont St

I drove through this intersection for the first time since they did the bridge over. I feel like I’m in the future.


I’m sorry, but this is just way too nice for Worcester. Give it a couple years and it will be filled with potholes and broken dreams. If you’re traveling down Belmont Street it’s not bad because it’s a four lane superhighway. But if you’re going down Lake Ave, you’re gonna have a bad time.

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8. Belmont St/Plantation St/Shrewsbury St

This magical traffic orgy is a nightmare to deal with, especially if you’re coming from Shrewsbury Street.


or Plantation Street.


And if you’re driving up Belmont Street it’s almost guaranteed that the lights will not be time or coordinated. So you go through a green light, just to sit at another long ass red light 50 feet later.





7. Lincoln Square – Major Taylor Blvd/Belmont St/Highland St/Main St/Lincoln St


Three words – big ass rotary. Boom. I just fixed Worcester’s most complicated intersection. Back in the day Lincoln Square was the nexus of the Woo-niverse (trademark Turtleboy Sports). It took them forever to figure out how to put all these streets together and this was the best they could come up with. But anyone who’s ever been to the Cape during the summer can tell you that nothing is more efficient than a big ass rotary. Five million people get off the Bourne Bridge every day and yet it’s smooth like Country Crock. The only reason there’s traffic on 495 is because some idiot decided to make the world’s skinniest bridge over the canal.

So if you put the world’s biggest badass rotary ever from Salisbury Street to Lincoln Street to Summer Street to Belmont St to Major Taylor Blvd to Main St to Highland St, you would never sit in traffic at this set of lights. The worst part is when you’re traveling west towards Highland and you finally get through the light, there’s a 99% chance you’re gonna be greeted by this:


At rush hour there will be a mad dash to get into that right lane, because we all know that when you get to the top of that hill you’re fucked if you’re still in the left lane. And no one’s letting you in either, so you just gotta give them a dose of your Worcester machismo and cut their ass off.


6. Webster Square – Main St/Webster St/Cambridge St/Mill St

Speaking of lights that are NEVER timed properly, this intersection makes me wanna kill myself. And it’s the only way to get to 146 if you’re coming from that part of the city. Inevitably you will get stuck behind a big ass truck.


So when the light turns green at Mill Street, it will take forever for the truck to accelerate and by the time you get through it, the lights at Main and Cambridge Street will be turning red.


Oh yea, and get read for some construction. Because by law, there must always be construction on Cambridge Street.



5. Tatnuck Square – Pleasant St/Mill St/Chandler St


What a hot mess this shmorgisborg can be around 4:30. This set of lights would single handedly keep me from ever buying a home in Paxton or Rutland. Imagine having to get off at Kelley Square, navigating all the way through bad Chandler Street, and then finally being greeted by a mile long line at the Mill and Chandler Street light on a daily basis. Khrushchev used to use this intersection as propaganda to prove that democracy doesn’t work. And he was right. The main problem is that nudniks park on Chandler Street, so two lanes become one and it bottlenecks, and some idiot is always trying to pull into the CVS, so this little stretch right here turns into a parking lot at rush hour.



4. Hammond St/Main St/May St


Back in the day some hot shot city planner spent all this time developing Lincoln Square. And then someone said to him after he was done, “How bout connecting Hammond Street and May Street?” And he replied, “Fuck that. It’s Main South.” It was either that or they were drunk. Seriously, how freaking hard would it be to connect these two streets? I mean, it’s RIGHT FUCKING THERE!!! They couldn’t just angle these two streets towards each other? What would we do if these two streets actually connected? Where would the Pennywise go??? I don’t think I could live in a city that doesn’t have a place where Worcester’s toothless wonders can trade in their cans for drug money.


P.S. Webster Square, this intersection, and Cambridge/Southbridge have all been on this list. This makes Canterbury Street officially the most pain in the ass street to get to in the Woo.

3. Burncoat St/Milbrook St/290


Burncoat Street? I spent a month there one night!! Seriously though, if you’re coming from Milbrook Street, and you’re trying to go left, you’ll wait at least four rounds of red lights before you finally get through. And if you’re traveling down Burncoat Street there’s a 100% chance that after this light turns green


The next one will automatically be red.


Cuz Worcester’s just fun like that.




2. Foster St/Front St


This light makes me wish I shopped at the Worcester Common Fashion Outlets more so that it didn’t go out of business and get chopped down. Because if I just bought more overpriced crap from the Sport Authority I might not have to sit at this light for an hour. You could eat a four course meal while coming from ANY direction at this light. The best part is it’s about 50 feet away from #10.

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1. Chandler St/Park Ave


What else? There isn’t a traffic light that can ruin your day quite like this Godless intersection of humanity. Every major route in Worcester comes together right here. And everyone gets their own turn to go. As if driving down the third world country known as lower Chandler Street isn’t terrible enough as it is. You’re greeted with a wall of traffic all the way down to that place that sells plumbing supplies. And if you’re dumb enough to travel down Park Ave during rush hour, this line is almost guaranteed to be backed up to Leitrims, and some idiot will be sitting in the middle of that intersection blocking traffic for everyone avoiding the Chandler Street light.



And if you’re stuck at this part of the intersection, be prepared to have one of Tracy Novcik’s finest walk up to your car and demand fiddy cent.


So there you have it. The worst lights in Worcester. Honorable mention to Vernon St/290, Chandler/Main/Madison St when some drunkard presses the walk signal for no reason, Winthrop St/Providence St, every light on Grafton Street from Cutler Street to 290, the light to get onto the Mass Pike from 146 and Route 20, and Millbrook St/Gold Star Blvd.

What did we miss?

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17 Comment(s)
  • Publius
    September 3, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    Love me some Popeyes. Springfield no more. Hope clientele is cleaner tho.

  • Publius
    September 3, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    Foster Front really bad. The 16 year old middle schoolers at Rice Square, are, ….too old to be in middle school?

  • Anna Conda
    September 2, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    Patrick, wait til the 3rd of the month…when “monthly payments” come out…

    I feel bad for the other businesses like the mechanic on the corner of Mill st and Dunkin Donuts.

  • Patrick
    September 1, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    How about the fact that now Popeye’s Chicken has opened now on Park Ave that part of Park Ave has now been reduced to one lane with traffic backed up into the intersection? It’s just fried chicken people!

  • Goldchair
    September 1, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    the worst is the Umass medical Plantation -south street lights, theres a right on red, which people going straight plop themselves in the right lane and sit there. Then theres a 30 second walk light which backs up trafic and then getting out of there is a nightmare

  • MS
    September 1, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    The lights at Pulman/Brooks/I190 that are 50 feet apart total are probably the worst in the city.
    If you ever want to witness an accident just go hang out there for an hour or so.

  • WTF... Worcester
    September 1, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    What about the cluster F known as Main & Chandler where the boozers fall in front of the liquor store and the RMV rejects stumble away toward Main South? That light sucks so bad!! People hit walk, then wait until you start to go and then slide across the street at a snails pace with just enough time to NOT make it! On top of that you have people dodging onto Myrtle Street in what I can the Prostitute Express. The entire area from Southbridge and Chandler to Park and chandler is one big cluster of bad drivers, poorly designed lanes, and asshole walkers.

  • Wabbitt
    September 1, 2015 at 10:08 am

    But it’s ok that Canterbury St is the worst street to get to, because who the fuck wants to go there? I mean, unless you’re looking for meth and a handy jammer in one convenient location.

    And also, for the finest in pants shitting terror, hit that Belmont/Lake Ave light on a really windy day. That long string of traffic lights will be swaying and the light banks will be fully horizontal with the ground. Last time I was at UMass I walked down to Regatta Deli, and I thought for sure that the damn wire was going to snap. I was waiting for the walk signal thinking, “This is how I’m going to die…”

  • Chris From Georgia
    September 1, 2015 at 7:59 am

    Thank you TB reminding me of another 16 reasons of why I am glad that I moved out of Worcester and Massachusetts!

    • GoneWest
      September 1, 2015 at 11:24 am

      You hate that you love it

    • Nope, no thanks
      September 1, 2015 at 11:39 am

      I was just thinking the same thing! Still in MA but happily out of Worcester.

  • Anna Conda
    September 1, 2015 at 7:12 am

    What drives me crazy are the pedestrians that press the walk button and have no intention of waiting for it. By the time the walk signal comes on they are long gone, because they just couldn’t wait and they’ve stepped in front of traffic and stopped cars that have the green light.

    At Chandler and Park avenue, this walk signal is 30 seconds long!

    • Just trying to do my job over here...
      September 1, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      Pedestrians, while you have the legal right of way in the Commonwealth; the traffic lights don’t automatically bing on “walk” the second you press the button. The light goes through a pattern, first. You’ve got to just hang tight and wait for the signal; no amount of scowling and jamming your thumb angrily into the walk button is going to circumvent the rotation of traffic immediately to allow you safe passage.
      At most lights, if you pay attention to the pattern of traffic; you’ll find a window in the pattern that will allow you to get across without the walk sign.
      I think that God has sanctioned a special realm in hell for pedestrians that jam their thumbs into that button and then stroll across ~ not waiting for the official
      Walk all clear, but walking at the natural gap in traffic that the light has anyway.
      Or the ones that press the button, then immediately saunter out into active traffic because pedestrians have the legal right of way. I’m not arguing the MGL on this, but I’m fairly certain that the laws of physics will trump the MA laws when it comes to guaranteeing you safe passage if you step into traffic because of what the MGL has to say.
      I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to throw my car garbage out the window at these fools.

  • TnGlessnow
    September 1, 2015 at 5:31 am

    What’s the over/under on how long it takes Sam Allen at the T&G to cut and paste this into her next story?

  • Brendan Rys
    September 1, 2015 at 12:31 am

    Plantation / Belmont has the worst times lights in the city. The sensors that turn the lights green for ambulances keep it green in one direction way too long – by the time it returns to its normal cycle, another ambulance comes by and starts the process over again. In June I sat through 8 cycles because of this.

  • Savvybear Turtleneck
    August 31, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    #2 I have officially dubbed “The Longest Traffic Light in the World”
    Everything else is just a clusterfuck.
    Half of these you will find me patiently waiting for the crosswalk signal (if there is one) and/or bitching silently at the asshole drivers who got their licenses from a vending machine …

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