Opinion: Sorry Tyler, Texas Folks But Nothing Will Improve South Broadway
Anyone who has lived in Tyler, or even just driven in Tyler, knows that South Broadway can be a headache sometimes. The hundreds of businesses and thousands of people going to those businesses creates a bit of congestion that will get on even the most patient driver's nerves. Plus, you have that one driver in almost every pack that just ignores every traffic law thinking it will get them through the mess quicker only to bog everyone else down and make the drive more frustrating. But is there anything the city of Tyler, Texas can do to alleviate this problem? Unfortunately, I don't think there is.
Discussing South Broadway Traffic
Last week, me and a couple of coworkers were talking in the hallway about the traffic situation on South Broadway. For the most part, Monday through Friday is pretty calm except during the morning and evening rush hours and lunchtime. Saturdays can be a bit of a headache as everyone is out running errands or going shopping. The week before Christmas is always the worst and can take an hour just to get from the Loop and Broadway to the Cumberland shopping center. South Broadway is also statistically one of the most congested roads in Texas.
But can anything be done about the almost constant congestion?
Unfortunately, I think the answer to that question is no. One scenario we discussed in the hallway was adding one lane on each side of South Broadway. Say each lane is 10 feet across, to add a lane on each side, you need would, at minimum, an additional 20 feet of real estate to add both lanes, not counting curbs and sidewalks. With all the businesses and the couple of residential areas that already line Broadway, there isn't anywhere to take land to add a lane on either side. So that option is out.
But what about an overpass?
The answer to that question comes back to the same problem of adding a lane on each side, where would the off ramp lanes go? There's room to go up, sure, but you have to be able to get down from that up and there simply isn't any room to come down. Some have brought up the idea of a ramp at Loop 323 and South Broadway but I think that would be near impossible with everything that already takes up those corners. So that option is most likely out.
So what is the solution?
Well, I don't think there is. 40 years ago, Tyler didn't see itself growing the way it has. This unexpected growth, in my opinion, lead to infrastructure decisions that were sound at that time but didn't leave room for any possible growth, especially not for a population now close to 110,000. Because of that unexpected growth and bad infrastructure decisions, Tyler is now in a position that nothing can be done to alleviate the problem.
As much as South Broadway frustrates us, I think the only option we have is to just grin and bear it unfortunately. Maybe one day we'll have those flying cars we were suppossed to have by the year 2000 and can finally see some relief. Then we'll have to deal with the headache of air traffic over Tyler.