I’m happy they are fixing the streets and highways in Athens, Ohio this summer and I wouldn’t want to coordinate all of those projects, but it is kind of odd how it has worked out.
Here are a few thoughts on the road construction and driving in Athens this summer:
* If you live on the near east side, it’s been much more difficult to get to Athens High School in The Plains (or “on The Plains” as some say). Usually, we have two quick access points to U.S. Rt. 33, as we can jump on at East State Street or Stimson Avenue and it is very easy. With both of those entrance areas closed, though, we have needed to go out to Columbus Road to get onto the highway.
* Columbus Road has also had construction on it at the same time, which sometimes slows you down as you head out that way. That project seems to be focused on making part of that road super wide for some unknown reason. The road now has more traffic, too, and the shortcut over the hill to Columbus Road has been pretty busy.
* I bet the people who live on the shortcut roads on that hill hate the construction that is pushing the traffic to their slanted streets.
* And when you get onto U.S. Rt. 33 with all of the other cars from Columbus Road/Ohio Rt. 550, there is also construction on U.S. Rt. 33 so the highway has only one lane heading toward the high school.
* So suddenly, it’s much been more difficult to get to and then onto highway for the half-mile drive or whatever it is before you turn off for The Plains.
* I realize all of this is nothing compared to traffic in a large city, but it’s still fun to complain about.
* It’s like if we get snow here in the winter. I realize it’s not like snow in North Dakota or Canada, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t allowed to complain about it here.
* Stimson Avenue at the Hocking River will be closed all summer so the city can build another roundabout. I read about it in The Athens NEWS, but I still don’t quite understand how this is going to work. Is it a roundabout just for that little road by the Mill Street Apartments? It sounds like they are expanding that road, but are they moving it somehow? I just can’t picture in my head how it will look or what the point is of the roundabout. Is this just setting it up for a future road heading through or near the grassy park area on the other side of Stimson Avenue?
* Is someone in the city secretly trying to make a pentagram of roundabouts around Athens just like with that alleged pentagram of cemeteries that supposedly makes the city haunted? Where will the next roundabout be located?
* I don’t believe that the city is haunted, but if it is, no ghosts need to appear to me to prove it.
* While many people think of this as the third roundabout, following those on Richland Avenue and West Union Street, it is actually the fourth roundabout due to the mysterious tiny roundabout that has been on the street near Highland Park for many years for some unknown reason.
* And now, with roundabouts around about the city at Highland Park (north side), Richland Avenue (south side), West Union Street (west side) and Stimson Avenue (near east side), the secret plan for the roundabout pentagram appears obvious.
* I understand that the city and the university seem to want Stimson Avenue to be another main access point to the university for visitors, but I wonder how this is going to work. It’s probably a pretty good idea, but have you ever tried to give anyone from out of town directions on how to get off of the highway at Stimson Avenue?
* “Ok, here’s what you do, you take U.S. Rt. 33 until you see it is joining with U.S. Rt. 50/Ohio Rt. 32 and then when it looks like you can exit easily into Athens onto the right at East State Street, you need to get over into the left lane instead and take the extra bumpy exit to Ohio Rt. 32/U.S Rt. 50, and then when you are in that left lane, you need to get into the extra left lane that suddenly appears or you will end up in Belpre. Of course, if you miss the first left lane, you can keep going on U.S. Rt.33/Ohio Rt. 32/U.S. Rt. 50 and get into the far right lane for Stimson Avenue and take that right lane and then turn right to go back to Stimson Avenue where you will turn left. If you turn right, you’ll end up in Belpre. You got it?”
* How did anyone ever design that exit area? Was it all part of a master plan to get more people to drive to Belpre?
* Have you ever noticed how if you drive into Athens at the Ohio Rt. 550/Columbus Road exit, the sign says that Athens is 5 miles to the right? That must be a really old sign, because I have no idea when the city would have been 5 miles away from that exit. If you actually drive for 5 miles, it nearly takes you out of the city.
* While the end of Stimson Avenue is closed this summer, here is how it sounds to give directions to get to U.S. Rt. 33 from my neighborhood.
* “Ok turn right onto Stimson Avenue and take that to Carpenter Street, but you don’t turn, you just go straight and Stimson suddenly just becomes Carpenter. Take Carpenter until it is suddenly North Lancaster Street. No, you don’t turn, you just go straight. Carpenter somehow shifts to the right, but you won’t even notice it and you will drive straight. Take North Lancaster Street until you are now suddenly on Columbus Road, once again, you are staying straight while North Lancaster veers off to the right. Take Columbus Road until it just ends and suddenly becomes Ohio Rt. 550. When you get to Ohio Rt. 550, you can get onto U.S. Rt. 33. Got it?“
* Of course, when Stimson Avenue is open and you take it to the left out of my neighborhood, the street somehow becomes three different highways.
* So basically, Stimson Avenue takes you from three highways on one side of town to three more highways on the other (if you add in Ohio Rt. 13), but it has five different names for some strange reason. I am not sure how, but I am fairly certain that it is somehow a haunted pentagram of roadway names.
* And of course, if you don’t turn onto U.S. Rt. 33 when the road with five names becomes Ohio. Rt. 550, it will take you all the way to Marietta. And once you are in (on?) Marietta, it is just a short drive to, you guessed it because you can’t escape it, Belpre!