From a different point of view

IMG_0086Often when I drive down what once was major highways – US41, 64 etc. I look for the old alignments to try and get an idea of what the driving landscape looked like 20, 50 or 75 years ago. If at all possible and if time permits, I will get off the “new” version of the road and travel the old one.

This gets me wondering why the road was moved in the first place. Usually it seems obvious – plowing through a mountain was a lot harder back 75 years ago than it is now, so you can get rid of all those curvy roads that slows modern traffic down and impedes commerce. Something is definitely lost when this is done. I understand that small towns don’t want hundreds of trucks a day barreling down Main Street, but look how many towns have declined after the bypass was built. Curvy roads and stoplights slow down the movement of goods, and time is money in the transportation business. But at what cost to future generations of travelers if all they see is the sanitized view from the interstate highway at 70 miles an hour? That is, those passengers (and some drivers) who look up from their electronic devices long enough to notice where they are. And now that cars are becoming the newest iPhone accessory, we are all paying less attention to driving. Is it a good thing that Google and others are developing autonomous cars so we don’t have the distraction of getting from point A to point B keeping us from updating our Facebook status? But I digress…










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