Meeting a car on Banta Lane is an adventure. Depending on which section of the road one is driving, you might need to swerve, stop, or let your wheel drop off the pavement while your fellow motorist passes.
It’s reminiscent of an old-fashioned, narrow sidewalk. Gentlemen in morning coats stepped aside and doffed their caps while ladies passed with petticoats and parasols. A deferential wave was both thanks and greeting. The modern-day Banta Lane version simply has Pontiacs instead of parasols.
Evidently, some motorists must be doing more than meandering. The radar sign monitoring speed was placed there for a reason we all know. No one has to surmise what the problem is ... it must be speeders.
Granted, the speed limit is only 15 miles per hour. For many years, the road was not even paved. Giant ruts and potholes discouraged motorists on rainy days, and dusty clouds followed cars on dry ones. Paving the road was a step forward for drivers, but I doubt that it was welcomed by those who live along the formerly quiet byway.
One day I turned on to Banta Lane with thoughts preoccupied by an important task that awaited me at work. I failed to see a truck barreling up the lane.
I’m sure he was speeding, since he appeared as if out of nowhere. I braked just in time to avoid catastrophe. The driver did wave something at me, but I don’t think it was neighborly.
With the lane so narrow and visibility poor, it wouldn’t be wise to speed. I know that. So imagine my surprise one day when “23” flashed in silent accusation. I must admit the sign is fulfilling its calculating role.
One day recently I decided to have a little fun.
I tried to see if I could make the sign climb one number at a time, so I crawled along at 12, then 13, then 14 miles an hour. The sense of pride in my accomplishment was surprisingly satisfying. When it blinked 16, I slowed like an Indy driver after his victory lap.
It doesn’t take a genius to know what comes next. The sign will be replaced with a patrol car and an officer prepared to hand out tickets. So much for my reverie.
I think I’ll stick with Hutchins Drive.