Changing its name may prove no less difficult than changing our driving habits and traffic patterns, but some very good — and some very entertaining — proposals have been coming in since last week’s call for ideas.
The community seemed to adapt rather quickly when the “Traffic Circle” evolved into the “Traffic T,” but I suspect the next attempt at renaming this busy intersection will not be as easy a transition. After all, habits are hard to break, even though the widening of Clements and the growth of businesses on the north side of the intersection mean it is no longer a “T” but a full-fledged four-street crossroads.
What follows are the comments we’ve received since last week, and the feedback is greatly appreciated. Perhaps there’s something here that the community can embrace, or will spur the conversation even further.
“I have a great name for the ‘T,’” wrote Torjie Sweeten. “Call it the ‘Web.’ That should just about cover any design should the Texas Department of Transportation decide to tear it up again. Did I miss something? Seems like TxDOT just recently revamped the design of that area. What is with them? And, those concrete curbs are the worst. What is next? Could it be… let me guess… an overpass!? Or, more likely, a bypass. Call me old fashioned. I vote for the circle.”
Bob Marshall offered this: “Back in the 1950s, this meshing of U.S. Highways 377, U.S. 67 and U.S. 84 was known as the ‘“T.’ It then evolved into the ‘Circle’ for the purpose of relieving the traffic congestion. Then it evolved into the ‘T’ once again with frontage roads to relieve the traffic congestion. I believe now it would be appropriate to call this monstrosity the ‘Maze.’ Our next conversion could be an overhead system of highways to relieve the traffic congestion of the ‘Web.’ We need the overhead system now. Then we would get rid of all of the businesses fronting this maze of highway convergence. Otherwise we will have to go to the long-awaited ‘Bypass’ around Brownwood.”
Jim Looby, the former Bulletin scribe who now lives in Stephenville, but not his father with the same name who pastors the Baptists in Blanket, offers these suggestions via long-distance: “The Quagmire,” “Boondoggle,” “Ground Zero” and “Mini-Mixmaster.”
Roger Engle, whose wife Mary works with us at the Bulletin, was the first person to suggest an idea — bright and early last Friday morning — and he proposed “The Snarl.” That’s certainly the case right now; hopefully, things will improve when the construction is completed and all the lanes are open. Any bets?
Those names — and some others we are unable to print in a family newspaper — are certainly accurate given the new configuration of the streets around it. But some may argue that any new name we give it ought to have a more positive tone — something, if you will, that an adjoining business or a chamber of commerce might want to promote.
Doris McClanahan brings us an idea that may play better in tourism circles: “The Crossroads.” “I’m proud of Brownwood,” she wrote, “and it’s the hub of the entire state. You can go east and west, north or south, and all the highways cross here. That’s why we ought to call it the ‘Crossroads.’”
A similar thought comes from John W. Lawson: “ ‘The Crossing.’ Most of the people I know, who grew up here in Brownwood, would love to return to the ‘Circle.’ I must say that I myself have many fond memories of it. I recall when Brownwood had one of its rare ‘snowstorms’ when I was young and working at A&W Root Beer (building now gone), while still on the clock, going over with manager George Amen’s daughter and building snowmen and having snow fights — even bombarding cars as they drove by, all in good fun.
“I was not here when they murdered the ‘Circle’ and created what would be known as the ‘T,’ although he added that with the on and off ramp for U.S. 377 it was the strangest ‘T’ I’ve ever seen.
Lawson continued, “It remains the hub of traffic from three highways regardless what name or structure it has, and will most likely remain so. It is the crossroad of U.S. 377-67-84. The location will always hold some nostalgia for me, and I’m sure many others regardless its shape or name. The ice battles between the real Sonic sandwiched between A&W and Sambo’s… those were the days. If I were to present a suggestion (as I am doing), I would suggest ‘The Crossing’ as it is the location that “hubs” Brownwood to the rest of the world. It is the crossroad of the nation.”
So there you have it. Readers, are there any others? And… did you catch the word “Hub” used a couple of times?
Gene Deason is managing editor of the Brownwood Bulletin. His column appears on Friday. He may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.