Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Thank you Westhaven

I live about 10 minutes west of Franklin TN in a horse farm community called Leiper’s Fork. Or at least I used to. I mean, used to be 10 minutes from Franklin. Now it’s 15-20 or more.

We moved here for the serenity, land, creeks and rivers and wildlife. A stable plot of land to live on that I never had growing up- my father was in the air force and we moved about often always living in military housing.

The commute from our country home to the places we shop, meet and do business (Franklin, Cool Springs and Brentwood) has always been a quick drive away using Highway 96. The 55MPH speed limit (meaning of course everyone drove 60 or 65) allowed quick access to the “outside” world.

A couple years ago a new development/sub-division popped up nearby called Westhaven. It’s a lovely area packed tightly with semi-custom built homes and a promising close community feel ahead as they begin to attract little shops and stores to the area. With this development, and the increasing population from this future town-within-a-town, has come a new speed limit on Highway 96 that runs parallel to Westhaven.

Franklin city has deemed it necessary to drop the speed limit to 40MPH. Now, as I drive this stretch for several miles, seeing little more than trees, cows, a few other cars, and an occasional hawk flying by, I am pained by the creeping speed that adds valuable minutes to my commute.

As for the benefit to Franklin there is no doubt. I would estimate its paying for the new downtown facelift with revenue from speeding tickets. As locals struggle to adjust to the new ridiculously low speed limit after a generation of 55MPH or greater on the road, the local police now hang out there more frequently that the local donut or coffee joints. It’s not uncommon to see 2 cars pulled over driving one way on the road, and 2 more on the way back in the afternoon.

I must admit- to anyone outside this area that deals with real traffic issues and commute times (my sister drives an hour and a half each way to work), these paltry 5-10 minutes must sound absolutely ridiculous.


Liza on Maui said...

I see what you mean. Most Maui highways' speed limits are 45 and it can real slow at times - yes, lots of speeding tickets issued yearly...