Friday, March 6, 2009

The Big Warm-up Begins...

Well, the Lion is either napping or playing with us. After last weekend's winter storm, temperatures have rebounded quite nicely here in the Great Smokies. Snow continues to hide from the sun's rays but the warmer temps may make that hiding ineffective. An old wive's tale that I grew up with says that when snow lies awaiting, more is on the way... We'll see. I don't think it will get here this weekend as we're supposed to have day time temps in the mid 70's on Saturday.

Another late afternoon appointment cancellation aided in getting in a short ride yesterday after work. I can tell that my practice at spinning rather than mashing is paying off. At the end of the 10 mile ride yesterday, my average cadence was up (82), my average speed was up (12.20), and my time for the same length of ride was down (38.17). My ride started at 62 degrees and ended at 59 degrees, which is warmer than my beginning ride temps have been in awhile. We're still not quite to daylight savings time (2 more days!) so a beautiful sunset was my companion yesterday as I enjoyed the time along the Pigeon River.

Of some interest on the local political front, our Town leaders have been meeting with the N.C. Department of Transportation officials to discuss handling traffic around the newly emerging retail center located on the south end of town. The DOT plan seems to be to put in a 3 or 4 lane highway running through a business/residential section. This plan sounds very much like a replication of the 4/5 lane entrance to Waynesville on the north end of town. This massive congestion of vehicles is a constant source of irritation to local residents and tourists alike. It is the site of many vehicular accidents and is quite often at a dead standstill. My brother, the Los Angeles resident, only laughs at me when I complain about traffic. Still, when you are stuck in traffic, it doesn't really matter where you are located - you're still stuck!

The N.C. DOT's own planning process requires that bicycle and pedestrian accomodations be made in the planning and developing phase. Our mayor has said that he wants "a thoughtful process" when making final decisions on how traffic will be handled. Here's hoping that the "thoughtful process" leads to a reversal of decades of paving over land for more and more lanes of traffic and results instead in an attractive two lane road with many traffic calming features. The plan will hopefully include bike paths and pedestrian walkways. The Town leaders really have a chance to step up and plan for an attractive entrance to town that affirms a value of "being green." As in all things, time will tell...

Until later,

-- Zeke
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