Beltline Blues

By Michael J. Legeros


What do both newcomers and old-timers to the Triangle bemoan the
most?  The glaring lack of mass transportation?  The crappy qual-
ity of broadcast news??  The curious absence of even *one* thriv-
ing downtown area???  For my money, the most reliable groan-gener-
ator is the Raleigh Beltline.  Helms down.  Twenty-plus miles of
multiple lanes, neither well-planned nor well-marked.  Nor even
particularly well-*conceptualized*.  (It's the "loop" terminology
that does most folks in.)  Sure, it's one big circle, but it's
also one big, *long* circle, meaning at least 15 or 20 minutes are
needed to realize something is wrong.  And *that's* only if you're
lucky and don't end up in Sanford...

So, how could the Beltline be made more user-friendly?  What would
it take to transform the Triangle's premiere transportation suck-
zone into a roadway that we'd *really* want to use?  I have some
suggestions, and they involve neither new construction nor the
demolition of anything old.  Rather, they're signs.  Simple high-
way signs.  Just place an order with the prison shops, get these
babies erected ASAP, and life will be that much better for *all*
Triangle travelers.  Or, at least those who frequent the Capital
City...


                   S u g g e s t e d   S i g n s
                   =============================


     o GOING TO NORTH RALEIGH, DOWNTOWN RALEIGH, CARY, OR GAR-
       NER?  SORRY, WE ONLY PROVIDE DIRECTIONS TO ROCKY MOUNT,
       SANFORD, AND WAKE FOREST

     o GOING TO NORTH RALEIGH, DOWNTOWN RALEIGH, CARY, OR GAR-
       NER?  YOU CAN'T GET THERE FROM HERE (alternate)

     o PREPARE TO SLAM BRAKES AND/OR REAR-END SOMEONE 'CAUSE
       THERE'S A FREAKIN' STOP SIGN AT THE TOP OF THIS TEENY,
       TINY EXIT RAMP (I-440 west to outbound Capital Blvd.)

     o MOVE TO FAR LEFT LANE TO AVOID STOPPED CARS BECAUSE WE
       DIDN'T BUILD A LONG-ENOUGH EXIT RAMP (I-440 east at
       Old Wake Forest Rd.)

     o THEN CHEAT DEATH ONE MILE LATER BY CROSSING FOUR LANES
       OF TRAFFIC TO REACH US.1 (I-440 east at Capital Blvd.)

     o THE PERSON WHO THOUGHT UP THOSE INNER AND OUTER LOOP
       SIGNS HAS BEEN SHOT, THANK YOU

     o PRESS THE GAS AND MOVE YOUR ASS, PAL, YOU'VE GOT A DED-
       ICATED ACCELERATION LANE! (Wade Ave. inbound to I-440
       east)

     o PRESS THE GAS AND MOVE YOUR ASS, PAL, YOU'VE GOT A DED-
       ICATED ACCELERATION LANE *AND* IT'S A FREAKIN' HALF-
       MILE LONG! (Capital Blvd. inbound to I-440 west)

     o CHOOSE ONE:  REAR-ENDED WHILE WAITING AT BACK OF LINE
       OR CRUNCHED CUTTING-IN AT FRONT (I-440 west to outbound
       Wade Ave., rush-hour only)

     o CONFUSING AS HELL LANE MARKINGS AHEAD (I-440 west at
       Western Blvd.)

     o US.1?  US.64?  I-40?  I-440?  YES  (Big, confusing ex-
       change in Cary)

     o CLOVERLEAF NOT AHEAD (I-440 east at both Glenwood Ave.
       and Wade Ave.)

     o WELCOME TO THE I-440 BELTLINE, AN URBAN EXPRESSWAY
       TAILOR-MADE TO THE TRAFFIC VOLUME OF TWENTY YEARS AGO


Copyright 1999 by Michael J. Legeros

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