Let Us Now Sing the Praises of Shelburne Road | Hackie | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice
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Let Us Now Sing the Praises of Shelburne Road 

Early this morning - yes, before the break of dawn - I drove a Wake Robin resident to the airport. She's a lively, engaging lady as are so many of the folks who have made their home at this Shelburne retirement community.

She had just undergone the emotional process of selling the family home in Greenwich, Connecticut, which she and her late husband had purchased in 1952 for $15,000. It had been an old farmhouse built in the early 1700's, and, at the time, one of only four homes within a radius of two miles. I didn't ask what it sold for in 2007, but I imagine a home like this, with acreage, in what has now become the toniest of NYC suburbs, probably was valued at something more than $15,000. God bless her - she was a delightful person and deserved every cent of accumulated equity.

Zooming south on Shelburne Road, the moon and stars still visible in the dawning light, I thought about the road I was on. Yes, those magical moments  before daybreak lend themselves to just such mystical subjects.

I recalled the endless community meetings during the design phase of this road-widening project, and how the local store-owners bellyached over the median. As a small businessperson myself, of sorts, I understood their skittishness. Family businesses don't operate with a lot of financial cushioning; any government action that might reduce the revenue stream is met with alarm. But, in the end, I gather that the worst of these fears were unrealized and the vast improvement of traffic flow benefited all concerned.

And, man, Shelburne Road moves beautifully now. I can only imagine the complex traffic studies that went into the final design. When I first saw the U-turns at each light to double back to locations on the left, I thought, Jeez, this has got to be wrong; this can't work this way. But, I'll be darned, it works fine. Ditto, for the truck turn-around at Webster Road where it reverts to a single lane. When they were blasting through all that red rock during the long construction phase, it didn't make sense. But, once it opened up, I went, Ah-ha - now I get it.

So, thanks to all those who designed and constructed this road, including the government administrators from the towns and state. When things go right, how often are they acknowledged? Viva Shelburne Road. Now if we could just figure something out for Williston Road . . .

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About The Author

Jernigan Pontiac

Jernigan Pontiac

Jernigan Pontiac is a Burlington cab driver whose biweekly "Hackie" column has been appearing in Seven Days since 2000. He has published two book-length collections, Hackie: Cab Driving and Life, and Hackie 2: Perfect Autumn.


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