US 281 superstreet finished!

Workers completed the final intersection on the US 281 superstreet this past weekend.¬† Initial¬†anecdotes on the superstreet’s Facebook page¬†have been favorable, with most people reporting significant improvements in their commute times.¬† However, there are apparently still a few flies in the ointment, including an apparent surge of people now using Encino Rio to avoid having to¬†make the Evans Road turnaround.¬† There have also been some sporadic reports of driver confusion, which is to be expected.¬† And today there were reports¬†that the¬†morning rush hour¬†had¬†longer-than-usual delays, which may either be a fluke, a result of ongoing tweaking, or perhaps a surge of latent demand, i.e. motorists who were taking alternate routes suddenly choosing to go back to 281 to take advantage of the improvements.¬† But the¬†preliminary results look encouraging and, as is always the case with these things, it will take some time for traffic patterns to stabilize as people learn the new configuration and optimize their own routes.¬† Also, engineers will continue tweaking things over the next few weeks.¬† With yesterday being a holiday, today’s evening rush hour and the peak driving periods over the next couple of weeks will really be the key in determining whether the project can be deemed a success, and ARMA plans to do a quantitative before-and-after analysis to objectively determine the effects.

That said, no improvement is ever perfect.  There are always trade-offs, and this project is no exception.  The folks coming from east of US 281 in the mornings are probably the ones inconvenienced the most by these changes.  Hopefully, the benefits for everyone will outweigh any drawbacks.  Time will tell.

If you use US 281 regularly, please post a comment¬†about whether the superstreet has helped!¬† I’ll be headed out there this afternoon to see for myself.


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