This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
" As yet we have no public roads in America worthy of being named with the roads in the old countries. The public highways here are as smooth, and as hard, and as clean, as Bedford Avenue, or the best roadway in either Central or Prospect Park. They are side-drained or under-drained, and directly after a rain there is no mud upon them. They are for the most part kept in repair by districts, and the work is not neglected nor botched. How very different this is from our slipshod methods is grievously well known to all Americans who use private vehicles. The national roads of France are under the care and supervision of the General Government, and as perfect in their way as they can be. It is not to be hoped that our National Government will undertake enterprises of this nature, but State Legislatures might well enough make laws binding turnpike companies and towns to make and keep roads fairly up to the demands of modern civilization".
On this Progress remarks: " There is nothing new in all this; nothing that every one of us did not know before, and yet we are slow, very slow, to profit by the lesson it teaches." And we may add that the reason why we are " slow to profit" is that nobody has any plan whereby our roads may be made any better. We know already that "State Legislatures can make laws," but no one tells State Legislatures what laws to make. We in Philadelphia know what sort of laws uninstructed legislatures make, and when a road is to be improved the person who desires the improvement knows to his great cost what is the expense of instructing them.
Now the Gardener's Monthly has made a proposition for a general law for the improvement of roads. It is, that when a good macadamized road can be made for a certain small percentage (to be fixed) of the value of the land along which the road passes, the proper road authorities shall proceed, under certain regulations, to make such road. We know many roads in the vicinity, now "mud holes," which could be very well macadamized for five per cent, of the value of the property fronting on them; but as it is now, though half the people along the line might want to have a good road made, it would take no end of time and money under existing modes to get it done. By a general road improvement law such things would fall naturally when the ripening time came.