Behind the Wheel, Sarah

Driving crazy in Kansas City

January 15, 2013

Highway 71. Photo via Wikipedia

During the holiday break, I read Kansas City native and Happiness Project diva Gretchen Rubin’s Happier at Home book. A running theme throughout her goals is to conquer her fear of driving, which began while living in Kansas City. Rubin writes, “As a fifteen-year-old in Kansas City, I’d hated going for practice drives … through my panic as I drove around the dreaded Meyer Circle for the first time.” Ahh yes, I thought. The Meyer Circle, where three lanes curve around, others making a U-turn to go the other way on Ward Parkway — a road that already requires concentration to avoid drivers who creep out of their lane.  Between the narrow lanes and beautiful fountain to gawk at, I can understand Rubin’s fears. My Kansas City driving fear begins and ends with Highway 71. Checking out the most dangerous intersections in Kansas City, it seems my fear is justified. It’s a mess. The people walking across the street, seemingly at will. The curves with unexpected red lights. The point where two lanes curve to continue on 71 and the others go back into the city. The way the drivers turn into raging vultures as they piggyback your bumper when you’re already speeding. For one of my friends, it’s not the speeding or tight lanes that bother her but the confusing, windy roads that Kansas City boasts. Try Somerset Drive, which snakes through Leawood and Prairie Village. It begins at 95th and Lamar and turns into 79th Street near State Line Road. It curves north, turns east crossing through neighborhoods and then major roads. Road changes aren’t unique to Johnson County, either. For example, if you’re visiting St. Luke’s Hospital on the Plaza you’ll have to first go on Wornall Road which quickly changes to Broadway as you cross 47th Street. Which by the way, is also called Emmanuel Cleaver II Blvd. But if you want to drive on Broadway again to head toward downtown, you’ll have to follow J.C. Nichols Parkway, which after a block or two turns into Broadway. Because, you know, that makes sense. How about you? Is it the dreaded I-35/435 interchange? Or coming across the Bond Bridge during rush hour? What drives you crazy when navigating the Kansas City metro? LWTK’s mommy blogger, Sarah, is attempting to be a good mama to little Henry, wife to Shea, full-time employee and part-time grad student all while avoiding making dinner from a box every night. In her non-existent free time, she’s running, eating popcorn and blogging about it all at The Gatsby Diaries.  

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