9 November 2007
Every year around this time, it happens: traffic snarls at Northwest Distressway and Belle Isle Boulevard, and the backup quickly spreads up the offramp and onto Interstate 44 westbound. The Association of Central Oklahoma Governments conducted a study after the 2005 holiday season to see if there was anything that could be done about it, and ACOG subsequently recommended changing the phasing of traffic signals and additional lane construction.
There's not a lot of room through there for new lanes, so it's imperative to get better use out of the old ones. Next spring the city will start reshaping the intersections. For now, signage has been placed to direct drivers to Penn Square Mall or Belle Isle Station which won't necessarily be in the same direction and barriers will be installed to prevent right turns from the westbound Distressway to Belle Isle, a significant cause of backups. (If you're headed for Belle Isle from points east, exit Classen instead.) It will look something like this. [Warning: really huge picture.]
Background here [link goes to PDF file]. Still yet to be determined: how Penn Square will fare come the Major Holiday Crunch after giving away twenty percent of its parking space to the Elephant Bar and the Cheesecake Factory.Posted at 8:01 AM to City Scene