There seemed to be a theme to my Wednesday. Not just the morning, but the afternoon as well.
Traffic, traffic, traffic.
It all started with a meeting of the city’s transportation commission early in the morning. One of the first things that was discussed was work going on along Bergener Boulevard between the Riverside Plaza and the Tadd Jenkins auto dealership, resulting in both westbound and eastbound traffic being narrowed down to one lane on each side.
City leaders expected the scope of the construction project there to only involve creating an entrance to the dealership off of westbound Bergener, with right-in/right-out entrance and exit for the time being. What’s going on now is work on a left-turn lane into the dealership from eastbound Bergener.
“We weren’t expecting the scope at this point to involve that,” said Carrie Hasselbring, the city’s transportation commission chair.
She said Wednesday afternoon that with the speed that went into creating the entrance to the dealership, it shouldn’t take terribly long for crews to complete work on the new left-turn lane.
Welcome to road construction season.
I was wondering if it was just me who found the Idaho Transportation Department’s term “road diet” from a transportation coalition meeting a couple of weeks ago to be somewhat ... humorous.
I found out from Wednesday’s meeting that I wasn’t alone. Hasselbring herself said she got a chuckle from it, and had the urge to include it in Wednesday’s agenda just to use the term — “road diet” — even though it doesn’t apply specifically to any Blackfoot-proper roadways.
The term comes from a suggested project in Riverside involving turning the four lanes with no left turn lane through town there into three lanes including a left turn lane, in an effort to keep drivers from jockeying for position when a vehicle is turning left and avoiding either side-swiping or rear-end mishaps.
For a while, I thought about turning the term “road diet” into a humorous column, but then I got too busy and forgot about it.
Hasselbring’s agenda reference brought it all back to me. Here’s a taste ...
What the heck is a “road diet?” Is that something you do when there’s too much “road kill?” A way of keeping so many bugs from splattering against your windshield as the temperatures warm up?
Yeah, that kind of thing. I’m open to any other people’s fun with “road diet.” Have fun with it! Write me a letter, give me a social media comment, etc.
Finally, there was Wednesday afternoon, as we were creeping up on rush hour traffic. Outside the window of the Chronicle office on S. Broadway leading up to Bridge St., office manager Jackie Graham noticed that traffic was backed up for about two blocks.
The signal at Bridge St. was staying red ... staying red ... staying red ...
I walked up to the crosswalk at Bridge St., pushed the pedestrian control button for a northbound crossing to see if that would free things up, and ... no go.
After placing a call, a Blackfoot Police officer blocked the left lane westbound on Bridge and directed traffic manually until the problem could be solved.
It was said during the morning meeting by an Idaho Transportation Department traffic engineer that Blackfoot’s signal system has about come to the end of its life span.
Traffic, traffic, traffic.