Friday, March 10, 2017

Why East Mobile Street Is One-Way (At Least Our Theory)

Visit the downtown of any large city and you're apt to see one way streets. Notice any trend in these streets? If you're driving east, the street or streets parallel to your street run(s) west. Similarly this is true for north/south one-way streets. Why? Among other things, it ensures that you don't have to travel a mile if you suddenly decide you want to change direction.

Now let's look at downtown Florence. This past week has been filled with references to the town's founding in 1818. In other words, Florence has been around quite a while. So have East Florence and North Florence. How did/do travelers get from East Florence to North Florence? The easiest way has always been Royal Avenue. If the traveler wanted to go downtown how did he/she go? The traveler exited Royal and turned west up one of four streets: Hermitage, Tuscaloosa, Mobile, or Tennessee. Remember, Tombigbee dead ends before reaching Royal.

Now let's bring Florence Boulevard into the mix. We have not been able to find the exact opening date for that venue to speeders and fender benders, but 1954 seems to be close. Since we're unsure, we'll say 1950. That means Florence was a town for at least 132 years before drivers had to contend with navigating the Tennessee Street/Florence Boulevard problem. 

Those in charge of street planning in that era decided to leave the last block of Tennessee open and make it one-way to Royal Avenue. While it's basically two-way again at this point, it still doesn't filter traffic to downtown from Royal Avenue. Now city planners had three streets leading into Florence that were two-way and one that was carrying only traffic exiting the city at a time when the downtown was the only shopping game in town. 

The above paragraphs are facts; the following paragraph is a very logical theory. 

What could have been more natural than to have made East Mobile (immediately parallel to East Tennessee) one-way bringing traffic into the city. Voila! Two two-way streets, one street carrying only westbound traffic, and one street (terminal block) carrying only eastbound traffic.

This seems like the perfect time to mention that Florence Boulevard ends at Memorial Grove Park. West of that is all Tennessee Street. We've always been dismayed at the Eagle Scout who for a badge project charted Florence City Cemetery as located on Florence Boulevard. Ah, well, if Steve Pierce or Robert Palmer can't understand why East Mobile is one way, why should a mere youth be able to read street signs?

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