Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 146
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for July 4, 2002

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

There’s been much discussion among downtown regulars and business owners about the effects of the new “bumpouts,” as those 8-foot protrusions into the street are called. While supporters of the concept have been somewhat remiss on explaining the supposed benefits, they have missed the real attraction: entertainment. Sooner or later someone will come up with the idea of holding “BumpOut Days.”

Downtown Warrensburg will soon be flourishing “bumpouts” on almost every corner and alley entrance. These concrete “bumpouts”, supposedly designed to aid street crossers, stick out about 8 feet into Holden Street, narrowing the traffic area to about 21 feet. While they are supposed to bring beautification to downtown, they are now becoming fodder for local soothsayers.

Some say “BumpOut Days” will replace the defunct Old Drum Days. No more craft booths or beer garden. “BumpOut Days” are days for games. Ever heard of bumper cars at a carnival? “BumpOut Cars” will feature drivers dodging, bumping, and driving over “bumpouts” placed strategically to provide the thrill of cars bumping into each other without having to wait for a carnival.

A game of “Bumpout Barrels” might resemble barrel racing at a rodeo. Drivers are timed on how fast they can dodge a “bumpout” in the midst of on-coming traffic; there’s a 5-second penalty for knocking over a planter.

Warrensburg streets within the “bumpout” corridor may be perfect for a new game: “BumpOut Dominos. All that is needed for this game is a parade.

Picture Homecoming. A 150-member out-of-town band high-steps it down the Holden St. hill, across the railroad tracks in formation, and then straight to the first bump out. First the twirlers stumble into the crowd assembled on the “bumpout,” then the first musicians. The outer files are sheared off and sidestep into the inner ones. The band compresses like three traffic lanes reduced by orange barrels to two. Somebody stumbles and we see the “domino theory” in action. The bands will be judged not only on their music and marching, but also on how well they navigate the “bumpouts”.

Community leaders often pat themselves on the back remarking that “bumpouts” will really attract more people to shop downtown. They say it’s the beauty that will attract people; really it will be the entertainment. So, come downtown and enjoy our new “bumpouts”. The government’s money is spent. Bring a lawn chair and wait. “Bumpout” days will soon start at a corner near you.

For previous commentary on related topics, see See also Gadfly 140, Gadfly 50 and Gadfly 47.

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