Growing Up in the Grand Valley: The Road More - or Less Traveled
Being a Grand Valley native, you’d think that when I get behind the wheel, I’d know all the shortcuts and quick routes around the city – but one thing I’ve noticed about my travel routes versus ‘implants’ into the city is that while I do have a few quick routes up my sleeve (watch for those tricks in my blog in the coming weeks) generally, I take the road most traveled, not the road less traveled when getting around town. Another reason I know, GPS. Rarely to my GPS and I agree on the “best” route to my destination (not that I need the GPS to get around, but I like to compare routes from time to time, I guess it’s the competitive part of me). Plus, I find that I always take the same route to frequently traveled destinations.
My lack of adaptability has become more obvious with lane/road closures because of construction. I live in the North part of the city and whenever I get in my car to head towards the mall, I always take Patterson/F road (we’ll get in to the multiple names for roads later). Why do I take that route when there’s a different lane configuration everyday? Why do I go on a road that during busy travel times, it’s a challenge to even get on, let alone turn off of? One word, habit. I could just as easily take any of the parallel roads and connect to exactly where I need to go, but there’s something programmed in my brain that puts me on autopilot when behind the wheel in this city (probably not the safest mode to be in, I admit).
In addition, I’ve noticed that because I don’t think about where I’m going, on a daily basis, I’m horrible at giving directions - something everyone in our newsroom can attest to. Instead of the names of roads I refer to landmarks. For example, to me, 7th Street is the road the Hospital is on. Anywhere else I potentially need to get on 7th street, is in relation to that landmark. Similarly I associate 12th street With
I’d like to know your observations. If you’ve been in the Valley for years, do you find yourself like me, motoring along down the same routes? Or do you switch it up? Are you able to incorporate new roads into your routine i.e. the riverside parkway, or do you find yourself inadvertently missing the turn and going the same old way? Post your comments above.