Change In A Roundabout Way
Throughout the years, it has been well-documented how much I despise change. I have lived my life under the mantra "Change is bad". If truth be known, I’m not quite as averse to change as it comes across. I love the latest technological gadgets. I can’t wait until the price of Ultra HD television falls within my budget. But even with technology, sometimes they change things just for change sake. Was it really necessary to do away with the Start button in Windows 8? Apparently not, since they put it back with Windows 8.1.
But I really like my routines. These people that try a different way to work just for the sake of change, drive me crazy. I enjoy predictability. I like knowing what to expect on my route and when to expect it.
That’s why I was a little flustered when it was announced that they planned to close Georgetown Road near Turn One of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This was nothing new. It was announced three or four years ago. My hope was that this was a goofy idea that would never come to pass. This fall, it did.
In case you don’t know, the intersection of 16th and Georgetown is no longer an intersection. As planned, Georgetown Road has been torn up near the merger of 16th and Crawfordsville. They have now laid sod and put in a cul-de-Sac just past Stand B. Furthermore, they have put a (gasp) roundabout to thoroughly confuse drivers wanting to go straight on 16th and head towards Main Street in Speedway. The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place yesterday afternoon and it opened officially at 5:00 am today.
For the past few years, I have been spending my May weekends in Speedway – including Race Weekend. My route takes me down Main Street, at least twice a day. Leaving the track; I head out the main gate under the south-end, hang a right onto 16th and get into the far left-hand lane. After sitting through one of the longest red-lights on the planet, I head straight instead of following Crawfordsville Road and go left on Main and head to our hotel from there. I’ve timed it – from the hotel parking lot to inside the track is seven minutes. Race Morning, it’s barely fifteen. I have this route down to a science.
But then someone got the bright idea to change it all. They decided that this needed a park-like setting. They ripped up the existing pavement, re-routed proven routes and disrupted Race Day routines in the process – all the while claiming that this is going to improve traffic flow. Sort of like starting the 1957-58 pace lap from the pits. If you know your history, you know how well that worked out.
If this is going to improve traffic flow and be much easier to navigate, how come the Town of Speedway offered courses a couple of Saturday’s ago at Speedway High on how to navigate the roundabout? When I think of roundabouts, I think of Washington D.C. If you’ve been there, you know how well their traffic flows. We have two now in Nashville. Both seem to add confusion more than anything else. Personally, I don’t find them that confusing. But apparently, the average Joe behind the wheel is befuddled by them. I’ve often wondered how many times they actually go around before they finally get out of it.
OK…I’ll admit that from the photos I’ve seen, it looks much nicer than it did. The famed intersection of 16th and Georgetown was never known for its beauty – unless you were looking to the northeast. Pawn shops and liquor stores seem to be the predominant tenants in that area. But once you jutted to the left and followed 16th, the area suddenly becomes much nicer.
The USAC offices and Conkle Funeral Home hold historical significance in the lore of the Indianapolis 500. Turn left onto Main, and you have one of my favorite areas. With Dawson’s on one end, Charlie Brown’s on the other with AJ Foyt Racing, CFH Racing and the Dallara Factory (and Lino’s Coffee) in between – it’s a nostalgic paradise. Plus, you get all this on the way to the Mug-n-Bun.
Altogether with the addition of the Grand Prix weekend, we spend ten days in May in Indianapolis. I like staying in Speedway. We’re too old to get out and enjoy some of the trendier spots in Indianapolis. We’re happy staying in close proximity to the track, since track activity is what brought us to town in the first place. I love St. Elmo’s, but it’s gotten too crowded and too pricey. Nightlife to Susan and me now means dinner at Dawson’s before turning in.
Last year, it was the new tenderloin – now, this. My whining is mainly about my route to and from the track each day. As I said, I like my routine. By looking at it, this might add or subtract an additional thirty seconds to my route each way. But it’s the disruption and the overall change that I don’t like. Keep in mind, most of this griping is really very much tongue-in-cheek. But with every joke, there is some element of truth. It’s just up to you to figure out how much.