“Be thankful we are not getting all the government we’re paying for.”
— Will Rogers
I have occasion on a very regular basis to hit the Interstate at 10th/Spring and hop over to Clarksville or New Albany. U.S 31 and Brown’s Station Way are literally many weeks a daily commute.
I find the Brown’s Station Way drive to be one of the least intrusive and most efficient of connector roads. And then I pick up my local newspaper one day (The News and Tribune — a publication which I highly suggest everyone local to read) and there is it. Brown’s Station Way — a very short, simple, unassuming stretch of mostly ignored if not forgotten road that has apparently suddenly been discovered by engineers, architects, local political types, safety experts, and developers.
It seems that there is just about $16 million worth of interest in Brown’s Station Way these days. From different accounts I have read it is a very dangerous bit of roadway. I have never been involved in any accident, near accident, nor seen such a close call personally in all my travels; however, according to a couple of published articles in my own fine newspaper, this is almost a magnet for accidents and has more than its fair share of actual fatalities.
For sake of total disclosure, as I was playing Poker at mom’s house on a recent Sunday afternoon, my girlfriend who happened to be driving my car that afternoon, called after having been involved in a very minor accident where she had been rear-ended by a sweet, dear little lady. No real harm and no foul — but I suppose it adds to the narrative since it happened at the base of the ramp going onto Brown’s Station Way.
I guess the accident statistics are just that and I really can’t argue with them. I must have just been phenomenally fortunate that nothing close has ever happened to me while personally driving to or fro’ on that little bit of connector road.
A second bit of this newfangled redevelopment of a couple miles of roadway concerns the grandeur nature of what might seem a bit of a fix — $16 million to politicians and developers is probably a relatively meager figure. For people like myself, $16 million is a whole boat load, and that is not usually my non-publishable precursor to describe a blank load of money.
One such local political figure and a former co-worker of mine who was a longtime writer for this very publication, John Gilkey, has in my opinion been a voice of reason and cautiousness about what we should do and how much money we should expend to do it. I am certainly in John’s corner.
My personal opinion is that this short drive from Jeff — adjacent to Clarksville and into New Albany — is a nice relaxing bit of greenspace and for my tastes a pretty casual and relaxing drive. I know we have to look toward the future and plan for increased traffic flow. I accept that times might necessitate some adjustment. As with anything remotely involving politicians, developers, and bottom line my tax dollars, the Devil will be in the details.
When I say Devil, of course, I am referring to what type of fix and/or redevelopment might be what is needed versus what could be done with a sinful amount of tax dollars. In other words, do we need to buy a Volkswagen or a Lamborghini?
I readily confess that I rarely have used the stretch during rush hour traffic.
I will simply assume there will be other opportunities for public input, impact studies, and other standard preparations in place long before anyone writes a multi-million dollar check. In other words, I suppose a few hundred thousand or two will be spent before deciding upon how many other millions of dollars will be appropriate to spend.
My radar antenna did rise up upon reading about one of the ideas in addition to changing from four lanes to two, building new entrance ramps into Clarksville, and decidedly lowering the speed limit. One of my least favorite new roadway construction words is popping up in the proposals.
I will just say this. In my humble opinion, it is roundabout time that we quit constructing roundabouts into our high-volume traffic roadways. As I am writing this very column, a news bulletin has just been posted. All lanes of the roundabout on Highway 62 are currently closed due to an overturned semi. Hey, personally I have no problem navigating them, but those other drivers!