A lot of time, energy, and effort went into the recently-approved City of Prineville transportation system plan.

We applaud those involved for spending the time to plan for Prineville's future. However, it should be pointed out that the current plan is not without controversy.

It proposes two roundabouts — one at the Y entering town and a second at the intersection of Highway 126 and Tom McCall Road. Although we agree that both areas have become something of a traffic bottleneck, whether roundabouts are the answer or not has been disputed in other meetings and depends on who you talk to.

If you are driving a passenger car and are trying to enter a major thoroughfare from a side street, roundabouts are a great invention. On the other hand, if you are a commuter who is driving through the area on the main drag and are used to traveling at the highway speed limit, a roundabout doesn’t necessarily seem like such a great idea.

Ask those who commute daily on Highway 126, and you will likely find that the recent speed limit change from 55 miles per hour to 45 is at best a minor nuisance, and more likely a major source of irritation. Convincing these individuals that a roundabout, which likely would slow traffic even more, is a good idea may be something of a tough sell.

Roundabouts with their often tight corners, high curbing, and slowly merging traffic, run the risk of becoming serious traffic obstacles for truckers, particularly those with long or wide loads.

We also wonder if a new traffic interchange is becoming a necessity at Tom McCall Road. Might there also be issues at Millican Highway that deserve equal attention?

There are those who believe that left and right turn lanes on both Tom McCall Road and Millican Highway along with merging lanes on the highway could be a reasonable and effective solution to address traffic issues.

Before any changes are made that could further impede traffic on Highway 126, we urge city planners to listen carefully to the concerns of those who use the highway on a daily basis, and seek an efficient commute.

The recently approved plan is a good start and an excellent entry point for discussion regarding how to best address current and future traffic issues in and through Prineville. We recognize that the TSP is not the final plan. However, recent changes such as left turn signals on Third Street and the change from 55 to 45 above the grade have created a traffic situation where, during some times of day, it already takes longer to drive from the east side of Prineville to where the speed limit changes to 55 west of town, than it does to drive the remainder of the way to Redmond.

We urge city planners to make sure that as changes are made that the needs of all forms of traffic are taken into account and that every effort is made to keep highway traffic flowing freely and at highway speed. In addition, we would hope that, as decisions are made, city planners will carefully communicate why the changes are needed and how they will work, unlike the recent speed limit change to 45, which seemingly just appeared one day without warning or apparent justification.

Anything less and it will appear to some that the City of Prineville are making changes solely for the convenience of Facebook and Apple employess, and that would be a shame.

Contract Publishing

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