Thursday, November 4, 2010

Roads? Where We're Going, We Don't Need Roads

I’ve long complained that in our neck of the woods, it’s pretty easy to get around if you want to go east or west. Going north or south, however . . .

Now it looks like the cities of Rexburg and Sugar City, along with Madison County, are seriously studying how to make going north or south at least in our part of the county a little easier. I’m not sure, however, that their plan is going to make Second East any easier to travel on.

You can see planned routes and the most recent discussion on the routes here (Warning: Boring city council minutes).

Rexburg and the county tout a new corridor to the east of town, connecting either Seventh South or University Boulevard to State Highway 33 east of Sugar City, will help alleviate traffic on Second East in Rexburg. I don’t see how, unless the destinations on Second East – namely Wal-Mart, Albertsons, Kmart, and other shopping centers move with the new road.

I say this because I commute on Second East daily and have witnessed the bumper-to-bumper traffic the cities and county are talking about. However, once you’re north of Wal-Mart, neither Second East, which links Rexburg to US Highway 20, nor Highway 33, the principal route to Sugar City, are crowded at all. In other words, the vast majority of that bumper-to-bumper traffic on Second East is local, not through. Putting in another road east of town will make it easier to get to and from Sugar City, but it won’t do much to alleviate traffic on Second East.

I’m not against the new road, by any means. I’d love a less-trafficked way to get home from the bus stop every night. But I don’t think the powers that be can count on a new road making Second East less traveled, or at least less traveled in large amounts.

One of the reasons I hope a new route is put through to at least Seventh South is because Second East, south of Main Street, is an impossibly slow and pedestrian-clogged route (see yesterday’s rant on BYU-Idaho students). The road has but two lanes and is the only way to get to the south side of Rexburg this far east. And it’s only 25 miles per hour most of the way. It’s not a major road, though the city treats it as such. We need that new north-south route badly, just not for the principal reason the city and county are touting.

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