Friday, February 1, 2013

Correction: Highway System More Discriminatory Than I Said It Was

A king can be wrong. An editor can be wrong. An editor whose screen name is "King" can be wrong. And yesterday, while rereading a first draft only once, quickly, before posting it, I posted something that was seriously wrong.

I wrote that, in order to get from Gate City to Kingsport without using an interstate highway, a person would have to go all the way to Bristol--about sixty miles out of the way.

Actually, there is a gap in the mountains between Gate City and Bristol, through which a back road leads to the far end of Kingsport. Depending on where the person works, this might not be a serious inconvenience. Some commuters who go to the Eastman Chemical factory, Target Plaza, and other job sites on that side of town find it more convenient to use the Bloomingdale road.

However, a more serious obstacle to the driver of a slow-moving alternative vehicle would be that, for about a mile outside downtown Gate City, Routes 58 and 23 converge. And they converge again between Gate City and Clinchport (from which a two-lane road goes into Hawkins County, Tennessee, taking the commuter to Kingsport only fifteen or twenty miles out of the way). Thus, so far as I know, it is not possible to get from Gate City to Kingsport without using an interstate highway...unless you're able to walk across the Clinch Mountain, which is a challenge for serious hikers and involves crossing private property.

Thus, banning alternative vehicles from interstate highways amounts to severe economic discrimination against residents of Gate City, and should be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. To avoid discrimination, all interstate highways need to designate separate lanes for slower-moving traffic...and they need to protect users of these lanes from violent road ragers by installing at least one cubic foot of concrete along every foot of the dividing line, all the way.