I can’t understand Jim McKiernan’s resistance to solving the vehicular and pedestrian safety problems at the Exit 31 interchange (Record editorial, Sept. 21). Resistance to change is human, of course, but Jim is an enlightened man and should know better.
I live in Forster Woods. I use Exit 31 every day, often multiple times. I have frequently walked through Exit 31 to go downtown. (Yes, some of us can walk!) I can tell you that the harried drivers waiting at the off-ramp stop sign to turn left into town or the ones waiting at the stop sign on southbound SR 202 trying to turn left onto the westbound on-ramp are not looking out for pedestrians or bicyclists. A roundabout will smooth traffic flow and make it easier for drivers to pay attention to us pedestrians. I bet we even get raised pedestrian islands and sidewalks out of the deal. That’s better than we have now.
Traffic lights impede traffic. A traffic light at that intersection would have a significantly negative impact on travel times for Forster Woods residents trying to travel north on SR 202. For the slight increase in travel time for these residents that a roundabout would cause, the payoff would be a much smoother and well-paced flow for everyone (including us Forster Woods residents who come home on Exit 31) traveling through the intersection. It will also be safer for Forster Woods drivers than the current situation provides.
I will also wager that some non-North Bend residents who might normally be tempted to stop here for gas and a snack avoid the place because of the current horrible traffic jams on Friday nights and Saturday mornings. A roundabout will alleviate the traffic jams and will help local businesses.
I’m all for the state’s plan for a roundabout at Exit 31. Let’s get on with it!