Opinion: Change is needed on 136th

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Commentary by John V. Accetturo

First, I need to set the record straight about my position on trails and paths before I get into to the rest of the story. I think trails and paths are nice to have in our community, and no, I never opposed the Monon or any other trail or path in our community. As a jogger I often use the Hagan-Burke Trail and my family members use the Monon Trail on a regular basis.

Well, what does this have to do with a mess on 136th and Carey? Since there is no southbound Keystone entrance off the 146th Street bridge, Carey Road via 136th Street is heavily used to access southbound Keystone. That combined with Carmel High School traffic and proximity to the 136th and Keystone roundabout makes the intersection of 136th and Carey one of the slowest moving intersections in Carmel. It can take as much as 15 minutes to get through the intersection during rush hour traffic. Drivers also cut through residential streets to try to get on 136th street quicker. The traffic problems in this area are as bad if not worse than when we had stop lights at 136th and Keystone.

I know that city officials and the engineering department are already aware of the traffic problem in that area, however now they have made it even worse. A very nice multi use path has been put in place on 136th on both sides of the street until you get to Carey Road where it stops on the south side of the street. Two special lights have been installed that users can activate to cross over to the extended path on the north side of 136th street right at Carey Road. The cross over itself is not a bad idea, however it was installed in the worst possible place. Path users will be able to stop traffic and that will make the situation even worse. The original problem was with vehicular traffic, but the new problem will be more dangerous because if introduces pedestrian traffic into the mix. I am a financial professional not an engineer, but even I can see change is needed as I sit in line trying to get through the intersection.

Thanks to the county commissioners some traffic relief will occur when they install an entrance to southbound Keystone off the 146th Street Bridge in the next year or so. However, the mess on Carey and 136th Street and the Keystone Roundabout will continue and needs to be fixed. A traffic engineering study needs to be completed and the whole area, including the roundabout, needs to be reworked based on the findings and recommendations. No, I don’t have the answers, but I am sure a traffic professional under close supervision of the city engineer can minimize the traffic problems at the intersection. Until then no changes in the area should be implemented. Fixing progress after an action is complete is not the most cost effective way forward. Progress should be swift; however swiftness doesn’t necessary mean progress.

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