Thursday, August 27, 2015

Bend solves its road problems in novel way

It takes a special skill to study traffic problems for a living and then opt to make them worse. 

That is what the city of Bend did recently on the city's east side.

West-bound traffic on Wilson is now worse after 'enhancements'
to the intersection at Ninth Street
For more than two years, a two-mile stretch of Reed Market has been under construction that forced east-siders to drive miles out of their way to reach southeast Third Street, the city's main thoroughfare.

Since Reed Market's west-bound lanes have been closed for nearly a year, drivers have been diverted to Wilson, a half-mile north of Reed Market. 

Wilson was originally designed to handle minimal traffic let alone nearly all of southeast Bend's cars, trucks, and SUVs.

At Ninth Street, adjacent to the railroad tracks, there is a four-way stop. Of course, with all southeast Bend vehicles diverted to this intersection, traffic backed up at least a quarter-mile in three of the four directions. 

Obviously, this intersection needed a temporary traffic signal to handle the diverted vehicles.

But, since one of the goals of the Reed Market work was to save as much money as possible to spend on beautifying 14th Street on Bend's west side, no signal was installed. The city knows it can do anything it wants to east-side residents because they never sue the city like west-siders do.

Okay, we dealt with it.

   Recently, the city made "enhancements" to the west-bound Wilson lanes at Ninth Street. 

Before the change, the right lane was for right turns only and the left lane was for left turn and straight-ahead traffic. 

About 75 percent of the vehicles are headed straight to Third Street. About 24.9 percent turns right on Wilson. The paltry remainder take a left on Ninth. This setup worked best at this failed intersection.

Of course, those are just my observations of driving through there every day at various hours.

The city, though, used no traffic counters, which are those rubber tubes you see occasionally on various roads being studied. It just felt like making a change.

City engineers decided it was best to have the right lane on Wilson be designated for right hand-turns and straight-ahead traffic, while the left lane was for left-turn only. So. almost all the traffic is in the right lane while the left lane remains empty.

This "enhancement" caused traffic to back up a half-mile, all the way to 15th Street. In other words, twice as bad as before.

So, to solve this city-created problem, staffers decided a temporary reader board would do the trick.

The reader board on 15th Street tells drivers that the intersection at Ninth and Wilson is now congested and to take an alternate route. Well, no kidding.

But, since Reed Market is closed to west-bound traffic, Wilson was the "alternate" route.

It's a ruse worthy of a Monty Python skit.

When a road becomes choked with traffic that was diverted to that road, just put up another sign that says, "Congestion ahead, take alt route."

Of course, taking so many "alternate routes" could lead you back to where you started, but that's okay.

We're known as "roundabout" Bend anyway.


1 comment:

  1. Seriously require Adobe Flash plugin? Known for years to be a gateway for malware.