Time is now to act on interstate exit

I had to ask myself how far away is the new interstate exit noted in the article in the March 28 Daily Reporter? One official says it is many years away. Yet Pegge Althoff correctly identified the locations of the exits. At least she did according to a study commissioned over the last year. I have a feeling there are many more people who would have identified these same locations. So why the delay?

When we first moved to the north of Greenfield in 1989, we often could not turn left onto State Road 9 on a Saturday. It was often worse on weekdays. When we moved into Greenfield city limits in 1995, the situation had only worsened. We were glad to not have to fight that headache on S.R. 9.

What we found over the years was crossing S.R. 9 in the city was nearly impossible. This was again often on a Saturday morning.

As I and others have noted, the traffic situation in downtown Greenfield is horrific. There will be building destruction, either little by little or in an accident. People may be hurt. All the laudable effort to get people downtown will wilt away as people are pushed out by the noise of incessant traffic.

What does this have to do with this traffic study? For one thing, it is another of many other studies done over the years. I recall a study done soon after we moved to County Road 400N. We were so hopeful the situation would be corrected. And yet year after year, traffic study after traffic study were left to languish as the traffic situation continued to worsen.

It is time to act. It is time for local officials to work with state and federal officials to make one of these exits happen. Even if officials begin acting now, it will still take many years for this necessary project to happen. And that is a shame. It is a shame that officials on all levels have let this situation languish for so many years.

This is not a condemnation of anyone. It is a call to action. There are many demands on the time and attention of these many officials. We need to recognize this. And we also must demand that one of these exits be built as quickly as possible.

We must demand that another study not be allowed to languish on some shelf. After all, we have paid for these many studies. We must demand that some action take place.

We may find in the course of moving forward that another exit makes more sense. Let us not get caught up in a favorite exit. Let us recognize that some may be hurt by this action by the condemnation of private property. It is part of our civil society’s mode of governing. It is regrettable, and we must do everything we can to avoid it. One of those things must not be to end the push for another exit.

Another exit may lead to another roadway north and south to be served by that exit. This may move traffic off of our clogged city and county thoroughfares. And for the livability of our community, we must find ways to move heavy traffic off our most congested roadways.

I detest new roadways. But there are times they are necessary.

Keep attentive. Keep this project moving forward. If you don’t hear any more about this in a few months, ask your city or county official what is happening. Let us not be discussing this in another 25 years or more.

Jim Matthews is a long-time resident of Greenfield. You may share your comments at jem75@sbcglobal.net.