Saturday, March 17, 2007

Peoria's "edge of town" moves further out

Have you been to the intersection of Lake Pleasant Rd and Happy Valley lately?  Wow!  A few months ago this was a train-wreck of a construction zone, with too few lanes and a four-way stop sign.  Traffic would back up forever in all directions.  It would take WAY too long to navigate through it.  There were more car accidents than necessary, as motorists eventually got frustrated and too aggressive.  (and of course, each accident backed up traffic even worse.)  Six months ago I went to meet a friend at Vistancia, and by the time I got through this intersection I was pretty down on the whole community - it didn't matter how nice the houses were, or the grounds, or the community center and pools, or the golf course - it just wasn't worth a daily trip through that zone!

Fast forward to today.  The intersection is very wide - as if they built it for future traffic needs (I can't remember the last time that happened!)  The intersection will be home to a big commercial center.  Home Depot is already open.  Super Target opened last weekend.  Kohls looks like it's just about to open.  The rest of the center will fill out over the next few months.  But the impact is already being felt around Peoria.  People living in Vistancia and along the Lake Pleasant Corridor have access to retail close by, and a road that can handle a lot of cars.  People living a little bit to the south of here will also use these newer, larger, easy to get to stores.  People further south will see less traffic in the 83rd & Bell / Union Hills area (another congestion spot), as the shoppers to the north will no longer have to share the road, parking lot, and check-out lanes.  And people in Surprise now have a much faster route than driving across Bell Rd from the 101 to Grande.

With one final movement of the cones, the city's edge just got pushed further away.