Monday, March 11, 2013

#Slice of Life 2013 #12 of 31 What were they thinking?

"It's gonna be a wet one," he said, "there will be flooding!" 
"Ugh," I replied and in a routine I know all too well, I laid out my rain coat, put my coffee cup on the counter, and hung my bag by the door so I could leave early.  It won't be the first time we've had flooding on the roads I take to work, nor will it be the last!

You see, back in 1926, some civil engineer got the bright idea to build a scenic road for Sunday drivers taking their families out of the city for day trips.  The road would have grassy medians and winding curves following a babbling brook to warm the hearts and soothe the minds of families escaping the hectic pace of city life in the country.  I guess no one was rushing as it was not completed until 1955! 

Over the years, the Saw Mill River Parkway has seen some mighty big changes!
  • Now, the road is a major thoroughfare for about 60,000 people driving from the suburbs towards the city or headed to work north of the city - every single day. 
  • Now, when the road floods, it wrecks havoc for commuters who sit in endless traffic and search for alternate routes. 
  • The area around the road has been heavily developed contributing to run off never imagined in planners in the last century. 
  • The road has ugly but practical concrete medians to slow the paths of out of control cars and reduce cross-over accidents.   
  • Bucolic traffic circles were abandoned due to increased traffic flow.
  • "Service" stations and restaurants are closed due to the danger of cars entering and exiting.
  • The tolls, originally 25 cents at points along the road, were abandoned in the 1990s.

Yet, some things remain the same. 
  • The Saw Mill Parkway still serves as a sort of flood control project for the Saw Mill River!  (According to Wikepedia, the plan was for the The Parkway to serve as a flood control project and thus it paralleled the Saw Mill River)
  • Other local roads, probably designed by the same group of civil engineers, the Sprain Book, Hutchinson River, and Bronx River Parkways all flood too!   
What were they thinking?      


Nanc said...

I love how you infused the history and research in this slice...oh... and of course the pictures. We have the major flooding happening here right now also. Don't float away today because I love reading your stories. xo

MBF said...

I agree with Nanc! It is wonderful how you incorporated research and history into post of a daily routine - interrupted by antiquated infrastructure.

Kristi Lonheim said...

I live in an entire city with no plan for drainage or rain. You might think it wouldn't matter, being that we are in the desert. Unfortunately even a few hundredths of an inch can cause major flooding. Fortunately it is an annual or bi-annual occurrence.

katiemsmith425 said...

I feel your pain...the Bronx River Parkway is my nemesis during rainy days and Sundays during the summer when they close it for bike riders (although I do think that's a great tradition).

Jackie said...

I loved your pictures...those Sunday drivers of the first picture of many years ago...and then a more current time. I am lucky in that I have not lived where the roads flood often...but looking at your pictures and reading your post...I can see where it can become more than frustrating. Jackie

megansmith25 said...

I sometimes feel as though the Saw Mill floods whenever the weather even THINKS about raining. I've been detoured many times due to that road closing because of flooding. UGH!!!

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

Love the pictures! Having driven on this road many a time, I know what you mean: what were they thinking???

Ms. Diller said...
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Ms. Diller said...

Too many times have I been stuck in stopped traffic, waiting, along with hundreds of others, to exit before the Saw Mill is shut down. My lesson: When rain falls, Rt. 9 calls.

Anonymous said...
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MBF said...

My post for March 12th