Operation Orange Cone
Or, All Roads Lead To Ruin
Operation Orange Cone is Mayor Sheila Dixon's grandiose plan to simultaneously screw up every north/south/east/west street in Baltimore and add at least half an hour to everyone's daily commute, all under the guise of improving the quality of Baltimore's roads and, thus, our commuter lives. Or, in City Gov-speak, "This effort represents the most significant capital improvement season in years and the most substantial increase of milling and paving projects ever." Yes, the City's Department of Transportation proudly announced that it has already paved 88 lane miles with an additional 57 lane miles under construction for a total of approximately 150 lane miles by year's end. And it has been a unanimous success, as all downtown Baltimore roads now lead to either gridlock or ruin. Mission accomplished!
The litany of streets undergoing rehab includes Cathedral from Madison to Saratoga Streets, Charles from Lombard to Conway, Eutaw from Fayette to Centre, Fayette from MLK Blvd to Paca, Fayette from St. Paul to President, Franklin from Park Avenue to Greene, Guilford Avenue from Franklin to Lexington, Hopkins Place from Lombard to Fayette, Park Avenue from Madison to Saratoga, and on and on it goes. The full affected street name list might rival the number of names on the Vietnam War Memorial Wall.
But it's OK, because any annoyance and inconvenience the operation has caused is offset by the cute logo associated with the traffic jam project. The little anthropomorphic feller even has a name, Oppie - you know like Opie on The Andy Griffith Show, only urban and with repaved "street cred." Rumor has it that it was desgned by Wham City!'s own Dan Deacon, which, if so, is another reason to hate artists (collaborators!).
"I Brake for Operation Orange Cone!"
Anyway, be sure to check the site Get Around Downtown for news about road "improvements" (code word for road delays and lane closings). And enjoy the delays and aggravation. My advice is to turn adversity into adventure. I've started listening to audiobooks to try and maximize my time stuck in traffic and it hasn't made me cut back on my visual reading; in fact, I've now read virtually every bumper sticker on every car ahead of me during my daily commute (but I'm still waiting to see one that says "I Brake for Operation Orange Cone"). And I'm looking forward to even more road repavement after the coming Winter season's salt trucks tear up our newly improved streets. Repeat as necessary?