When I first got my license, I was ecstatic to finally drive whenever I wanted. I was ecstatic to have the freedom to go just about anywhere. Unfortunately, my excitement of getting in my car has significantly dwindled.
Getting behind the wheel is thrilling because teens get the adrenaline of stepping on the gas, and just “going”. Well, that’s what I expected. There just always seems to be never-ending traffic. Whether it’s on Polaris Parkway, State Route 23, 161, or wherever else, the congestion just seems to never end.
Driving to and from school used to be an exciting occurrence: getting to have one’s own space, controlling the music in the car, all while getting prepared for the day. Peaceful is what I expected it to always be like. The harsh reality is that traffic is an absolute pain.
Having to adjust plans and add extra time for travel are just a couple consequences that bad traffic in the local area has caused. Polaris Parkway east of 71 is one of the most well-known construction sites at this point.
What’s to blame though? After all, the Lewis Center population is at an all time high, growing rapidly each year. The most recent population recorded of Lewis Center is 26,856, according to bestplaces.net. That means there is an average population density of 1,371 people per square mile.
There just doesn't seem to have been a lot of adjustments made to accommodate the rising population. Old State finally got a lane expansion recently, but It was a pain to receive that. It felt like it took ages! Other than that, it’s hard to even name any other necessary road expansion or extension that has occurred recently.
From 4-7p.m., traffic seems to be the most horrendous. Dangerous is a common word used to describe what it’s like. Back in early August, senior Sam Simmions was involved in a serious accident on Gemini. Simmions was driving down Gemini at around 5p.m. on a Friday and struck a large pickup truck that was attempting to cross from one side of Gemini to the other.
The accident totaled both vehicles. Simmons broke his arm and hurt his shoulder. This incident showcases that even if drivers are doing everything right, they are still at a significantly higher risk to get in an accident because the increased number of vehicles on the road.
Some suggestions on ways to Improve the harsh traffic levels include “adding separate lanes for busses” and “fixing the timing on traffic lights”, according to Kelly Knecht, parent of multiple Orange high school students.
One day, Lewis Center will realize the growing problem that affects almost everybody, every single day. Well, hopefully. Lewis Center and surrounding area residents are more than ready to see some serious changes.