Headlines from First Thoughts

Monday, June 29, 2009

First Impressions-- A Straight Path through the City

Which is more surprising? How wonderfully the new I-40 traffic flow, or how smoothly the transition went?

When I arrived in Knoxville, I thought our state flower was the orange barrel. I-40 was a parking lot from Papermill to Cedar Bluff Road, and rumors were floating around that "they" were going to close the interstate downtown. No sooner had TDOT expanded the interstate from 4 to 8 lanes in West Knoxville than traffic downtown came to a halt. They re-routed all through traffic in a plan called "Smart Fix I-40" to straighten a road through the heart of downtown. We planned and fretted over what impact the closure of downtown would have on traffic Sunday morning and programs Wednesday night for 19 months.

Our worst fears were never realized. In fact, traffic improved during and after construction. So many people detoured around the center city that we downtowners had smooth sailing all the way to 1B. The only time decrease in traffic came from gas prices higher than $3/gallon. There's nothing like paying more for fuel than for milk to make a person flip on the television and catch it live.

What's the lesson?
1.) We could certainly hope for fuel prices to stay under $3 forever (not likely)
2.) We could learn the lesson that most of our fears are never as bad as we imagine. Anticipation of change is much worse than the change.
3.) We should be grateful for people in public service who make our lives easier.

Isaiah prophesied about the road through the wilderness. This Smart-Fix made our paths straight and set our minds at ease.

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