Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

July 21, 2015
Explore a little and skip Main Street’s chaos

The SR-36 Renewed project promises to make Tooele’s Main Street more efficient and safe once it is finished. I for one look forward to the removal of deep gutters and culverts at many of the business entrances that scrape bumpers, eat tires and threaten to remove my muffler every time I go over them.

But in the meantime, we all need to endure the evasive and sometimes annoying construction process. Main Street was crowded before construction began, but now with only one lane open in either direction, it can take 20 minutes to travel only three or four blocks.

Especially annoying are the people in front of you making a left turn. They sit there waiting for dozens of cars to go by, completely oblivious to the dozens of cars idling behind them. Everyone: there is a reason for those signs you see with the left-facing arrow and a red circle with a slash through it. It means “no left turn here.”

There are other creative ways of making a left turn without violating construction traffic laws. I’m not sure if it is the case now, but when I was in Calgary, Canada, many years ago, no left turns were allowed on most of the main streets. They didn’t have the room to put in a left turn lane. So if you wanted to make a left turn, you went one block beyond where you wanted to turn left, and turned right instead. You then turned right at the next block and right again at the next and then “presto,” you were on the street you wanted to originally turn at but just a block away from that intersection.

All you have to do is go straight on through. A little longer route, I know, but it takes no longer than it would sitting and waiting at the intersection for a break in traffic while piling up cars behind you. And at least you are moving. You also get to see a couple blocks more of the city that you normally wouldn’t.

We have the same opportunity, temporarily, here in Tooele. Virtually every destination on Main Street has an alternate access route. You may not always be able to do the right turn loop around a city block, but there are parallel streets on either side of Main Street that can take you to any business.

One hundred East and 100 West Streets are great alternates for getting from the north or south end of town to the other, but there are also two paved “alleyway” streets on either side closer to Main Street that run along the back side of most Main Street businesses.

These are 50 West Street on the west, and Garden Street on the east. Many businesses have put up small temporary signs on these streets at the backs of their stores showing you where to access them. These alternate routes can get you to your destination quicker than using the cramped and congested Main Street. They also give you a chance to see areas of your hometown you may not have ever bothered to explore before. Some of these back streets have unique old homes and mature trees and landscape that beats any sightseeing available on Main Street right now.

Now, I would be remiss to give any information about Main Street alternatives without mentioning the hub of most Main Street activity: Wal-Mart. Those of you who live on the west side of Main may already know about how to get to Wal-Mart without driving on Main Street. But for those of us who live on the east side, let me enlighten you.

The single biggest bottleneck on Main is the pesky need to turn left onto 1000 North Street leading to Wal-Mart. You can avoid this left turn by not going onto Main Street at all, except to cross it. From anywhere south of 1000 North simply cross Main at one of the open intersections and proceed to 200 West Street. Head north on this street all the way up to 1000 North Street and access Wal-Mart by simply turning right into its parking lot. You can also access the south side of Wal-Mart’s parking lot by turning right sooner at the southwest corner of the store next to Wal-Mart’s tire and lube center.

So, at least while Main Street is being torn up and renewed, take the long route and explore a little. You may find some alternate route to your favorite destinations that you can use even after Main Street’s renewal is finished.

Hamilton is a Tooele resident and a graphic artist for Transcript Bulletin Publishing.

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