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OPINION | DRIVETIME MAHATMA: Left-turn hazard is in for a fix

by Frank Fellone | April 10, 2021 at 8:04 a.m.

Dear Mahatma: Help! You're my only hope! Please tell me thought is given to westbound drivers on Cantrell Road who try to turn left into the Murphy Oil gas station. And eastbound drivers turning left into the strip mall just east of the Taylor Loop intersection. That area is a headache and an accident waiting to happen when drivers try to turn across oncoming traffic. I know you possess mythical powers that allow you to cut through the bureaucracy and obtain answers. -- Frequent Driver Through the Mayhem.

Dear Mayhem: Mythical powers?

Ha! Not really. We just know whom to ask. In this case, we asked Bill Henry, Little Rock's Chief Traffic Wizard, and Mark Headley, Grand Poobah for District 6 of the Arkansas Department of Transportation. They are nice people, and won't mind the title hyperbolic honorifics. We hope.

Headley tells us that the Transportation Department and the city acknowledge that these left turns can be difficult at times of heavy traffic, but can be safely made, especially outside of peak traffic times.

Now, hold on to your hat, as Inga said to Victor at the end of "Young Frankenstein."

Because when Cantrell Road, also known as Arkansas 10, is widened through this stretch, both of these left turns will be prohibited because a closed median will be built as part of the project, as illustrated in a diagram Headley sent of the current design.

We say current, because construction is scheduled to begin in 2024. By which time some of us won't be driving anyway because our adult children will have wrestled the keys from our hands, thus making this issue moot.

Dear Mahatma: Is it now OK to blow grass clippings and leaves into the street? The commercial companies have been doing it forever and now homeowners are doing it. -- Bandit

Dear Bandit: How's Smokey? Ha! That was more movie humor.

No, dadgum it, blowing leaves and grass into the street is not kosher, according to city ordinances in Little Rock and North Little Rock. Probably many other cities, too. Arkansas has about 500 incorporated municipalities. Please don't make us check all their ordinances.

Why is this un-kosher? Because the vegetation can find its way into storm drains and clog them up, so that when a frog strangler or gully washer comes along -- or if it's raining the devil and his pitchforks -- the water won't back up onto streets and yards.

Master Mahatma: Why do most new driveways have a 2- or 3-inch bump at the street junction? I say smooth out that entrance with no lip at all! -- James

Dear James: You have caused us to look at driveways all over our neighborhood. Our own driveway has a bump. Others are smooth to the street. If there's rhyme or reason, we certainly cannot discern it.

If any readers, maybe builders or concrete guys, have some knowledge, please come forward.

Vanity plate seen in Conway: IF ILL RX


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