Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Bracket Madness: Crowning the Worst Street in Shreveport

In case you haven’t heard, an annual collegiate roundball tournament of some sort just recently ended.  I’m not clear on the details, but it was something involving peach baskets and tall college kids.  Also, it seems as if the main reason the tournament exists is not so that fans can cheer their teams, but rather so that employees across corporate America can spend their March wasting time completing a bracket that will be shot to hell as soon as the first games end.

But, it did get me to thinking:  What if there was an NCAA Basketball style tournament to crown the worst street in Shreveport.  It would no doubt be a hard fought battle.  There are some pretty bad streets in Shreveport.  So bad that Mayor Glover has been campaigning on that one issue for years now.  If only there was someone with enough time on his hands to waste it creating a pointless bracket for exactly this purpose…


Guys, I think this is a job for yours truly.  After all, I spend quite a bit of time riding a bike on the streets of Shreveport, and the bike gives you a perspective that you just can’t get from behind a car steering wheel.

The first step is deciding which streets will be included in the tournament.  In order to keep the number of candidates to a manageable quantity, only major streets will be included.  By major, I’m not saying it has to be on the level of Youree Drive, but it has to be a road that sees a good deal of traffic or provides a particularly important route of travel (even if that route doesn’t see too much traffic).  So, if I leave your street out, sorry (maybe I’ll do a second tournament for the smaller ones, an NIT worst street tournament, if you will).

Next, we set up the bracket.  Just like the NCAA tournament, we’ll have four regions:  North Shreveport (including Downtown), West Shreveport, South Shreveport, and Bossier.  Each region will have its selected streets seeded, set up in a bracket, and faced off against each other.  Once we’ve got a winner of each region, there’ll be a final four showdown to determine the worst street around.

Of course, there needs to be criteria by which the streets will be judged.  Again, we’re looking for the worst street in Shreveport.  Here are the factors that will determine how each street ranks:

·      Road surface—the streets here are pockmarked worse than my face in the 8th grade, many featuring craters that swallow bike wheels whole.
·      Traffic conditions—this one could get tricky.  We’re looking at traffic conditions relative to each road.  For instance, if traffic is 10,000 cars an hour at 75 mph, then that’d be no big deal on I-20.  However, it’d be a huge deal on Fairfield.
·      Bike/pedestrian friendliness—This could almost be a subcategory of traffic conditions, but I’m going to separate it.  Also, this will be relative to the street.  Bert Kouns doesn’t need to be very pedestrian friendly—but East Washington should be.
·      Purpose—this might be the most vague of all, but it’s an important consideration.  Why is the road there?  Is there a need for it?  Does it serve a purpose other than costing money?

Each street will be scored on these categories for each round.  In each matchup, the two streets involved will only be competing against each other, and will be judged accordingly; previous scoring won’t matter once the street advances to the next round.

And finally, of course there needs to be a prize.  A crown.  And since this is a contest for worst street, what better prize than The Joffrey:

 I can feel the suspense building already.  Who will take the crown?  Will it be a perennial powerhouse for worst street, like Airline Drive and its traffic or Bert Kouns and its high accident rate?  Or, will a Cinderella step up and make a run (I think Southfield could be a dark horse contender)?  March may be over, but the madness is just beginning.

If you have a vote or comment, let me know.  If you're a regular reader you know I'm lazy and this is a lot of work, so if you want to help out with a street suggestion, I'm all ears.

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