I don’t care who you are, we all hate waiting in traffic. It’s universal.
So when we see an intersection that is constantly leading to long traffic backups, we want to find a solution. There has to be a better way!
Several times recently, I’ve experienced very irritating backups at 111th Street and College Avenue in Carmel. It’s happened throughout the day and not just at morning or afternoon rush hours.
What’s causing the backup is a new temporary traffic light that is somewhat unusual. It only allows one of four directions of traffic to move at a given time. There’s a green protected left turn arrow and a regular green light for each direction, essentially working like an electric stops sign that allows more than one car to go at a time for a period.
With only one direction moving at once, maybe a half dozen cars move through and if you don’t make the cut then you have to wait for the other three directions to go before you get another shot.
I saw many neighbors cut through the nearby Waterwood neighborhood to try to drive around this traffic backup, which I’m sure those neighbors don’t like. Generally, when kids are playing in the street, an influx of commuters in a residential area isn’t what homeowners like to see.
Of course, I’m complaining about having to wait, but I know it’s important to provide solutions. The thing is, I don’t know if I have one.
I’m told by members of the Carmel City Council that this is a temporary situation while construction is underway on US-31 and Pennsylvania Avenue. Part of the increased traffic is because people are not taking those paths and once construction is done, you’ll see fewer motorists moving through 111th and College.
I’m told the idea is that a stop sign – which was there previously – would be even worse and that makes sense. Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said there were backups all the way to 116th Street before the temporary light was put in. I’ve been told by city councilors that the light will be gone in a few weeks but until then you are advised to avoid the areas or take alternate routes.
I understand why only one direction can go at a time because there’s no turn lane, just one lane in each direction. If you didn’t have the protected green arrow and let one direction go at a time, then someone who is trying to turn left would hold up traffic for a long time as they wait for an opening.
I’m told that a roundabout could be constructed there in the future, although admittedly there are many potential roundabouts higher on the priority list. Until then, we’ll just have to wait until other roads open up and disperse the traffic jams.