One of my few virtuous traits is getting tested to the hilt.
That would be patience, the kind I usually exhibit while I’m driving a motor vehicle through my city, Amarillo, Texas.
I came home today from across town. It took me far longer than it used to take. Why is that? The first cause would be obvious: growth in population and motor vehicles on our city streets. The second cause is construction, lots and lots of road construction.
There once was a time when I joked that Amarillo didn’t have a morning and early-evening “rush hour.” I called it a “rush minute.” You could get anywhere in Amarillo in less than 20 minutes. That’s how it used to be in the mid-1990s when my wife and I arrived here.
We had a house built in southwest Amarillo. Our property was literally one block from the western border of the city. There was nothing west of Coulter Street … except for pasture and the cattle that grazed on it. The summer sunsets were spectacular, as we could watch the sun dip just below the horizon very late in the day.
Then the Greenways housing development sprang up. Boom! Like that we witnessed urban sprawl develop in real time right before our eyes.
Now the highways are being rebuilt. Interstate 40 east of the Canyon E-Way interchange is a serious mess. The interchange itself is being modernized and brought up to date with a direct-access ramp for eastbound I-40 traffic onto the southbound E-Way.
Well, I’m going to cling desperately to what remains of my very own level of patience. Pray for me, if you please. I’ll do the same for you.
I made the turn down Hillside Road in Amarillo the other day and noticed a lengthy row of orange construction cones stretching from the Canyon Expressway to Bell Street.
My first reaction to my wife was, “Well, that’s just great.”
Then I caught myself. I wasn’t going to go there — then, or now.
Hillside seems to have been carved up of late more than a Christmas turkey. That’s OK. It’s the price of progress, I reckon.
Amarillo’s streets appear to in a constant state of repair. It makes sense, given our community’s love affair with motor vehicle transportation. I tend to support what’s known generally as “infrastructure improvement.”
Sure, it makes me grumble at times. However, I also understand the payoff at the end of it. We get streets that don’t rattle our bones as we travel along them. They don’t mess up our vehicle alignment or damage our tires.
Some of the City Council candidates are addressing the street construction issue in varying ways. I welcome the discussion, as it is part of the job of councilmen and women to address these issues that have such a direct impact on our lives.
I haven’t yet caught up with what’s going to happen with the Hillside construction. I should get to know, as it is a street my wife and I use regularly.
Wherever you live or travel throughout Amarillo, please heed this tiny bit of advice: They say that patience is a virtue; it becomes especially true as we seek to navigate our way around the city.
Amarillo’s modernization process is continuing.
Given that I don’t get downtown as much these days, I tend to notice changes more readily. The latest big change to catch my eye can be seen from the northbound lanes of Interstate 27 as you approach the Interstate 40 interchange.
The state highway department has begun work on the interchange to create a direct connection from eastbound I-40 to southbound I-27.
To say it’s long overdue is to say, well, a whole lot.
For too long motorists traveling east on I-40 have had to exit the freeway and take an access road if they wish to transfer to southbound on the Canyon E-Way.
Once the state finishes the work, that pain in the posterior will be eradicated. Motorists will be able to make the direct connection quickly and easily.
This is occurring, of course, as downtown’s major makeover continues apace and as the highway department continues its painstaking work along the southern segment of Loop 335 to create a limited-access highway that will serve as an actual loop.
Will there be headaches along the way? Sure. Progress also produces them.
I’ll just caution all of us who live and/or work in the Texas Tundra’s “capital city” that the finished product — whether it’s the freeway interchange, the loop that really isn’t a “loop” or the city’s central business district — will be sights to behold.
Patience, man. Patience.