I hate Sawmill Road.
Those of you who live in Columbus know what I am talking about. For those of you who don’t live in our fair city, think of a landscape denuded of nature and replaced with the worst imaginable combination of asphalt, concrete, strip malls, overhead power lines, parking lots, ugly signs, chain stores, and cars, cars, cars.
When you are on Sawmill Road, waiting — and, with the ridiculous traffic congestion that you always find there, you are assured of doing lots of waiting — depressing sights await you in all directions, unbroken by green space. It’s like the worst aspects of commercial development have been mashed together by some giant economic forces and crammed into a grim four-mile stretch of road.
Shortly after our family moved to Columbus in 1971, I took driver’s ed. The part of the course where you actually drove a real car took place on Saturday mornings, with the driving instructor supervising and several students trading places behind the wheel. After I got picked up we always drove north to Sawmill Road. It was a country road then, with trees and unbroken farmland on both sides. About a mile up you would find Tuller’s Fruit Farm, a family farm and apple orchard with a rambling wooden store. We would stop there for a cup of cider and a glazed doughnut before continuing with our lessons.
Sawmill Road was a pleasant drive 40 years ago, and now it is a nightmare that you avoid unless you absolutely must go there. During the intervening years no one did anything to limit the wretched excess, and now the damage is irreparable.