Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Lafayette: Cow Paths

I don't know if I've made it sufficiently clear that I am directionally impaired. Easy for me to get lost.

In Playa del Carmen, even though it is laid out in an allegedly-logical grid, I had troubles.

In Alamogordo, it is laid out in a very rational way 90% of the time. You have your numbered streets and then you have your place-name streets. Occasionally, a street disappears and then pops up somewhere not where you expect it to be. But you always have your mountains and the White Sands to keep you at least going toward the proper north, south, east, or west.

But Lafayette? Lordy, no.

The property-management person told me, "Now keep in mind that the Lafayette streets are like a cobweb," as she fanned out the fingers of one of her hands, "if you do that, you'll be OK." I'm pretty sure I just stared at her, silent.

The visitor-center person told me, "No, it's not a cobweb. The roads were originally cow paths - as the city grew in population, it just paved over the cow paths." Here's another take on the Cowpath Theory: "The problem with Lafayette is that it's three settlements that grew together and then the cowpaths in between were paved and eventually became the major streets. Seriously."

And the native Ville Platte person told me, "There are those who believe that the Lafayette streets were laid out by a drunk cajun on a mule."


Louisiana and Johnston Streets are the same street.

Highway 90 inexplicably takes a 90-degree turn from Pinhook on to University. Or is it that Highway 182 takes the 90-degree turn off of Pinhook onto University. Well, they kinda both do that.  Except it's Business 90. "Real" 90 is just a few blocks away, under the alias of the Evangeline Thruway. Make that the SE, SW, NE or NE Evangeline Thruway. (Choose wisely.) .... And "real" 90 actually intersects University twice. In most realities, such things aren't possible, but they are in Lafayette.

Speaking of the Evangeline Thruway, part of it is "real" 90, but once 90 takes a sharp perpendicular turn, the Thruway becomes Highway 167, which veers at a right-angle off of the afore-mentioned schizophrenic Johnston/Louisiana Street.  

From University Street, you can turn right onto "real" 90 (by the airport), but you can't go straight across 90. Unless you're coming in the opposite direction, and in that case, you can go straight across 90.

There's a section of W. Pinhook that has four lanes on it only because there are four painted lines saying it has four lanes. If you're claustrophobic, you might get a little anxious here.

Ah, and let's discuss the "Future I-49" that slices through town.

I've been in Lafayette three months and I still don't know which way is north (or east, west, or south) from where I live. 

I don't even want to talk about how Bertrand Road shockingly splits into two.

No comments: