Nothing looney about opposition to ‘speedway’

I couldn’t help but notice that Erick Erickson’s latest Telegraph contribution (Opinion, 1/30/09) did not elicit much response from the usual suspects on macon.com. Perhaps, like me, they were busy re-reading it to try to make sense of it. Rather than thinking outside the box, which is certainly what is called for to address our transportation needs, our famous local blogger seems to be thinking in circles — sort of like driving ‘round and ‘round on a roundabout without getting off while “flipping the bird” to everyone around him.

He compares local “roads activists” to “lunar landing conspiracists” and other such nonsense. He points out that many of the folks who don’t want Forest Hill Road made into a speedway do not, in fact, live on it but then says their opposition is “NIMBY.” He does not seem to understand that the road can be maintained and improved without making it, as he refers to it, a “highway.” Worse, he claims the opposition is against such improvements.

He claims opponents of an overbuilt interstate interchange in the heart of Macon are worried about trimming shrubbery, and he worries about tripling the time it takes to get to Atlanta while ignoring the fact that overbuilding the interchange, as now planned, will subject us all to major traffic delays for 20 years or more — whether we are going to Atlanta or not.

He also claims a “horde of engineers” have declared that our roads can only be improved by overbuilding them. Perhaps in the blog-world a “horde” is equivalent to the “handful” of self-serving GDOT contractors who simply don’t care that their grandiose ideas will be so destructive to communites.

I once asked directions of a fellow in Macon and he replied “you can’t get there from here.” Likewise, you can’t get to the “progress” the councilman seeks by destroying everything in its path because the end result will in no way be “progress” — at least not for those of us who live here and are not simply part of the increased traffic from Savannah “through Macon to Atlanta and other places.” But, then, that nicety is likely lost on someone who famously said, “Macon is an ant in the way of GDOT and we need to get out of their way.”

I trust the “lunar landing conspiracists” will speak for themselves.

James H. Webb is a resident of Macon.