Opinion – 4/10/2007

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Panolian: OPINIONS

 From the 04/10/07 issue of The Panolian        

Writer creative with solution to Highway 51 school traffic woes
Guest Column by Bobby Blair

I was standing in a convenience store one day when I heard brakes squealing and the sickening sound of a car crash. With a cold feeling in the pit of my stomach I turned to see what happened. Thankfully they weren’t injured.

As I turned back to pay for my gas, one of the coffee drinking "regulars" made the comment, "Who got the pot this time?"

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Make a long story short: the intersection has so many accidents that regular customers would play a "pool" to see who got closest to the date and time of the next accident. Just like the World Series. Pick a box and see who wins.

Sick game? No.

Recognition that some folks have no intention of driving safely? Probably.

Here is a real suggestion: There are three roads in and out of the school complex between Highway 51 and Keating Road. Create zoned parking in the school parking lots. One zone for students/faculty/parents who will use "James St." to go north on Hwy 51 or straight across into the city of Batesville.

The second zone will require the folks parking in that assigned parking lot to turn south on Hwy 51 or straight across Watt St. into Batesville.

The third zone will require the driver to turn north or south on Keating. Once they get to either Highway 6 or any of the streets/roads crossing Keating going north then they are headed home and there is no cross traffic from the other students.

Looking at an aerial view through Google Earth of the entire campus complex on Tiger Drive, it is readily apparent that the only thing needed would be the implementation of the restricted parking.

Better yet, how about restricting the possession of cars on the most desirable parking lots on campus to those with a high grade point average or seniors. By the time the D students have to walk to the west side of the football stadium to get to their cars they may have motivation to study a little harder.

Finally, I remember those dark days as an undergraduate at Memphis State. Parking stickers/permits came in three different colors. Dark blue for faculty, white for seniors, dark yellow — sub-humans or, as they were referred to by other sub-humans, underclassmen.

Certain parking lots were blue; a few more were white, but the greatest expanse belonged to yellow.

Of course, the blues spaces were next to each building or the absolute perfect spots around campus. The white parking lot was closer to the classroom buildings but beyond the blue lots. The yellows ? underclassmen had to be prepared to walk across county lines to get to the classroom from their assigned parking lots.

Dark blue could park in blue, white, and yellow parking lots. White parking stickers entitled the vehicle to legally park in white or yellow parking lots. Yellows were, again, assigned to the parking lots just beyond the horizon.

It was a venal sin to park your yellow tagged car in a zone designated for white-tagged cars. If the white tag parked in the blue zone….well, graduation was doubtful until long after penance had been paid. And if a yellow tag parked in a blue zone … well, back then we had the draft and rumor had it that the parking enforcement gestapo had a direct line to the local draft boards.

Somewhere in amongst all of these words, there has to be at least the germ of an idea that might work on Highway 51. Personally, knowing that some folks have no intention of going more than a few minutes without a cell phone or an iPod stuck in their ear, my preference would be the lottery/accident pool. Why should insurance companies be the only folks who are making money off of the suffering of others? .

(Fortune cookie of the day: Sometimes your talent will take you where your character can’t sustain you.)


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