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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions October 4, 2015

4/18/2009 5:51:00 PM
Editorial: New 'left' turn may rub Valley drivers the wrong way

If you cannot maneuver through a roundabout without fear and loathing, the Arizona Department of Transportation has something even more fun up its sleeve.

A proposed parkway concept for the eventual widening of State Route 260 includes the idea of using Michigan left turns. In the spirit of the Disney movie Cars, you turn right to go left.

Like the roundabouts, this is far from a new concept; it is just new here, and that could be the problem. No matter the merits, which include keeping steady traffic flow, maintaining access and lowering accidents, some people will absolutely hate the idea and they will be very vocal about it.

ADOT was been wonderfully tenacious in continuing to come up with ideas to solve the 260 problem when the towns directly affected by the highway have not exactly been models of cooperation. ADOT has been going about this pesky task the right way, even if ideas seem to temporarily take them in the opposite direction of what everyone else is envisioning - just like the Michigan left turn.

The Michigan concept would seem to be a perfect fit for 260's issues. People in Clarkdale want to get to I-17 as quickly as possible. People in Camp Verde want access to businesses along the way. Nobody wants to get killed.

That is the main selling point. And it is up against the reality that Verde Valley drivers do not like change. No matter what safety statistics and traffic flow numbers are put on the table, the idea of turning right to turn left will just seem too befuddling to some.

Whenever a new road concept comes up, someone complains that his 85-year-old mother in this land of retirees will not be able to understand it, and somebody will get hurt. It is just that sort of criticism ADOT has to have answers for if it is to continue down the road of the parkway concept and its Michigan left turns.

Related Stories:
• Letter: Let's not jinx this by needlessly alarming people
• Michigan road design may solve 260 dispute

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