Saturday Column Reprise
Note from Dan: While I’m on vacation, I’m treating your to some oldie-but-goodie columns from the past. This one appeared March 26, 2009. No tolls or other revenue-raising measures for maintenance on the Blue Ridge Parkway have been enacted since then. But the federal government is more strapped than ever.
If you’re in a hurry and you need to get from Clearbrook in southern Roanoke County to the eastern county section of Bonsack, there is exactly one quick and hassle-free road you want to take: the Blue Ridge Parkway.
So many Roanoke-area drivers have happily discovered this nifty National Park Service shortcut that it’s often swarming with rush-hour motorists. Some wags already call it the “Wal-Mart Expressway.”
Spend any weekday evening on that gorgeous blacktop ribbon and you’ll see what I mean. Long lines of hurrying-to-get-home commuters zip along at 50 to 60 mph or so, unimpeded by traffic lights, stop signs or typical traffic bottlenecks.
That’s one of the reasons it’s time to reconsider an idea floated but rebuffed in the past: tolls, or some sort of fee system, for parkway users who get a free ride now.
If you’re thinking, “That darn Casey is one of those infernal parkway bicyclists who doesn’t like all that traffic,” you’re partly right.
But what you may not know is that all those motorists are helping to wear out that beautiful road much faster than the National Park Service’s repaving budget can handle.
READ THE REST OF THIS COLUMN HERE.