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Moving our traffic

Anyone who has ever had their house remodeled understands that you have to live through the mess of tearing apart and building anew. It is just part of the process.

City streets are no different. To have the clear, smooth roads we want the public needs to accept that means delays and detours. It is the price to pay.

Keizer city streets are getting upgrades and make-overs. That is good for everyone. Drivers who fume now about having to wait in a queue during roadwork will be thankful once the project is completed.

Many people bemoaned the long reconstruction of Chemawa Road between River Road and Keizer Rapids Park last year. There were delays, traffic stops and bumpy drives. The project added sidewalks and bioswales. Today drivers travel a wide street that is safe for bicyclists and pedestrians, especially going into and out of McNary High School. The pain of the construction project was well worth it.

This week Wheatland Road is getting repaved. Sure, the project might cause delays for residents in that area, but once completed people who live on either side of Wheatland will have a repaved, cleanly marked arterial.

Preparation work for the traffic round-about at Chemawa Road and Verda Lane causes delays and long lines—to be fair there are long lines going east and west during the rush hour. This initial work is child’s play compared to the full-blown construction project. That intersection will be subject to closures during construction next year. Again, the pain will be well worth the final result of smooth moving traffic through one of Keizer’s busiest unlighted intersections.

The city will assure that the public is aware of traffic changes during construction via signs and notices. Since the round-about was announced social media has been barraged with comments about how unnecessary the change is and how dangerous it will be. Research repeatedly has shown that round-abouts reduce accidents. Round-abouts keep traffic moving and that’s what every driver wants.

Traffic round-abouts are a low-tech solution to an urban problem. Cities big and small across the nation have installed round-abouts; the anticipation of chaos is replaced with smooth flowing vehicles.

We may curse road construction delays but it’s the price we pay for solving urban traffic issues. Once drivers get used to navigating the round-about they’ll wonder how we ever lived without it. Better to go slow through a round-about and keep moving than sit at a traffic light.