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Route 8 is not enough

1/23/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Craig Marks

On the Mark — By Craig Marks

So, state Route 8, I hear you want a new name. And despite Cuyahoga Falls getting rid of its “ticket city” moniker, I’m guessing the name is not “autobahn.”

Oh, you want to be an interstate? Well, good for you. Dream big.

I’m sure you have your reasons for the change. An inferiority complex, perhaps? Tired of being looked down upon? (Well, that’s not gonna change. You’re a road.) If you became an interstate, you’d be eligible for federal funds, and the just-passed $1.1 trillion spending bill could fulfill some big items on your wish list. But think ahead. Being a federal road, would a President Christie administration conduct “traffic studies” on you whenever the mood hits? You might want to look into that.

What I’m saying is, don’t rush into things. This dream of yours is not all paved with gold. (Is being paved with gold on your wish list? You don’t have to answer.) Make sure you won’t be scammed into something not in your best interests. Don’t be the road taken.

Think of all the good things you’d be leaving behind. Routes have a great history and a definite coolness factor. Did they sing about getting your kicks on an interstate? No, they sang about getting your kicks on Route 66. (OK, if you must know, Route 66 no longer exists. Replaced with an interstate. Your point being?)

People know what they’re getting with an interstate, whereas a route has an exciting element of mystery. Will it have stoplights? A wooden bridge? Are there points on it where a troll demands that you answer a riddle before he allows passage? Interstates are troll free, generally.

But I understand you can’t beat the lofty status that comes with having an “I” and a hyphen in front of your name. And with all the changes you’ve made in the last few years — eliminating the stops in Boston Heights and Macedonia — you are certainly interstate worthy.

For a highway, becoming an interstate is like receiving the world’s most prestigious college scholarship, the name of which currently escapes me. On signs, your name is on a knight’s shield that is red, white and blue. Routes in our state have their names in black against a white background shaped like a worn shovel blade, a symbol of our many potholes.

Becoming an interstate would mean you’ll need a new name. Interstate 380 has been proposed, but how about I-777, in honor of the new Northfield Rocksino? Or I-300, for Stonehedge’s bowling lanes? Or, if you are allowed to alter the naming convention a bit, why not I-8B4?

Whatever you’re called, many of us will still refer to you as Route 8. Or maybe we’ll call you “old Route 8,” though that will cause confusion. There’s already an Olde 8 Road in Summit County, though that could be renamed Older 8 Road. We’ll work it out.

If you choose to pursue this upgrade, and the people with the final say agree to it, I will miss you, state Route 8. And I suspect others will miss you, too, particularly those not from this area whose GPS devices haven’t been alerted to the name change. Let it never be said you weren’t driven.

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