|legeros.com > Writing > Beltline Blues|
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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