For months now, routes through University Circle have been closed or narrowed, with bottlenecks wherever traffic crosses Euclid Ave.
I know, I know, this is all for the Euclid corridor project, and it's going to be lovely when it's done, blah blah.
But seriously, from my home on East Blvd., I have to drive through University Circle every day -- usually twice a day -- and I've had more than enough.
What used to be 5 minute detour around the heart of Univ. Circle can now take 15-20 minutes to traverse, expecially if you get stuck at that awful place where traffic on MLK is supposed to yield to traffic on Stearns. That weirdly engineered bit of traffic was always difficult, especially during morning rush hour when thousands of CWRU students and workers are trying to get into Univ. Circle. But now, reduced to 2 lanes at Euclid, it is a complete nightmare.
The only pressure valve for traffic on MLK/Stearns is Stokes Blvd., which can be reached from MLK or Chester, just east of E. 105th. It's been a bottleneck too, for the past eight weeks, since it has been reduced to a single lane.
Now Stokes Blvd. will be closed completely, as the Plain Dealer reports. Only for 4 weeks, but during these particular 4 weeks, students will return to CWRU, increasing traffic exponentially.
My traffic nightmare:
Part I: the traffic circle where East Blvd., Mt. Sinai Drive, and Martin Luther King Blvd. intersect has gotten a cure that worse than the original disease. The East Blvd. spur off the circle has been closed permanently and other entry points have been narrowed. The result: morning backups on E. 105th St. north of the intersection and afternoon backups on MLK south of the circle.
Coming south on E. 105th St, you have to turn left into the circle. Naturally, you try to turn left at the first light.
But that's not where they added a left turn arrow. The turn arrow is at a second traffic light 20 feet south of the first traffic light. Even if people wanted to turn their, light is timed all wrong: no one is there to use it when the turn signal goes green.
Part II: Stokes Blvd. north of Euclid is closing for four weeks, as the PD reports. And all the alternatives -- the streets running parallel to Stokes -- were narrowed weeks ago from 4 lanes to 1 lane.
Stokes Blvd. was the release valve for the bottlenecks caused by the narrowing of Stearns Rd. and E. 105th St. south of Chester. So where do they expect us to go now?
No alternatives: I've tried crossing Euclid at Mayfield, but that intersection has been severely narrowed to accomodate the Euclid Ave. construction, and anyway, going through Little Italy is never speedy. The Cornell Rd. bridge on the Case campus is still closed, so you can't take that as an alternate route.
I've taken Superior north through Glenville and into Cleveland Heights, but that leaves me too far north of where I need to be (Beachwood). And then I'm faced with the excruciatingly slow drive south on Lee Rd. from Mayfield Rd. to Van Aken or Chagrin Blvd.
I've been forced to take 90 to 271, and with gas prices this high, the extra mileage hurts.
Yeah, I know things will improve when the Euclid Ave. construction is complete (judging by the progress of construction closer to downtown, that could be many months from now).
But right now, for the first time in 15 years, I truly hate living on the edge of University Circle and wish we'd bought a house in the chalk zone near Shaker Square instead.