Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I enjoy learning trivia - factoids about Shakespeare, planet (or not-a-planet) Pluto, wild rice, Kenya, finials, and such. There are some questions whose answers elude me. One bit of trivia I've been wondering about is how much land in our country (United States of America) is covered by highways, streets, exits, and entrances. We measure the parking lots as acreage, but is there info on the roads themselves? (Wideness times length?) They are usually depicted as tiny little lines on maps when the width of the actual street may be wider than the residential lots alongside them. How much land does one block on an average suburban street cover? The cloverleaf of intersecting interstate highways? And have you seen some of the flat, simple, but very big street intersections we build these days? One could play a pro baseball game in some of them, and still have room for bleachers for the fans. I sometimes think about from where do we get all of that road construction material - the gravel and concrete and tar and such?

Vehicle traffic gets very dense at times, and our answer to the problem always seems to be we need to widen the road, or, we need a new road. We humans really enjoy our vehicles, and are willing to sacrifice a lot - land, quiet, natural beauty - in order to have the pleasure of driving and the pleasure and convenience of our cars and trucks. I do miss the days, though, when most people were able to live near where they worked. During the mid 1970s, I walked to work, and it felt great. Fresh air, friendly people... the walk often eased work-related worries. The drive to work during inclement weather was no longer than ten minutes.

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