As long as I’ve lived in Michigan City, which has been always, I’ve heard complaints about the maze of one-way streets in the downtown.

We’ve all been there. You’re cruising up Pine or down Washington, wanting to hit a store that’s over on Franklin. So, you turn on 5th Street, only to realize that your destination is a couple blocks in the other direction. So, we circle back around, which is easier said than done because, well, one-way streets.

Another scenario is, while cruising up Pine or down Washington, you see a car coming straight at you. It’s usually an out-of-state plate, but sometimes not. You honk your horn, they throw their hands up. Curse words are exchanged, accidents (hopefully) avoided, etc.

So, in a few days, downtown streets (with the exception of Franklin) will be converted to allow for two-way traffic. Well, at this point, most of the conversion work has been done, but it’ll go live soon.

Judging by the hand-wringing I’m seeing on Facebook, many of you are very, very concerned about this change. I suspect a general aversion to change is at play for at least a significant chunk of those who are upset by the conversion. 

Let me assure you: You’re going to be just fine.

You know what will happen when you turn onto Pine or Washington streets following the conversion? You’ll get yourself in the correct lane and get to your destination. How do I know this? Well, because you’re not dumb. For your entire driving career you’ve successfully stayed to the right of that yellow line in the center of the road. When you see it, you’ll know what to do. Sure, it’ll seem odd at first, but I have more faith in you than to think you’ll mindlessly slam into oncoming traffic.

I’ve also seen some people questioning the credibility of those who painted the parking lines on 5th Street between Pine Street and Michigan Boulevard. They’re not backward, they’re intentionally put in that way. It’s called back-in parking and they chose that section of 5th Street for a test of the parking method because, well, not many people park there. So, give it a shot, eh?

Another point of consternation has been the situation in front of Galveston Steakhouse. Pre-conversion, yeah, it looks a little weird. But post-conversion, it will all make sense.

There are some pretty smart people who do this kind of thing for a living. They’re not just randomly tossing lines on the streets, a lot of thought and planning has gone into this. They’re the experts in this field, much like a heart surgeon is the expert on all things cardiac.

Some have decried the change as unnecessary, that traffic flows now just fine. Maybe, maybe not. But multiple studies commissioned by the city about the downtown has suggested making this change, and they’re all independent of each other.

If we’re trying to make Michigan City more appealing to out-of-town visitors – and, we are – then it should be easy to get around. It just makes sense.

So, take a deep breath, everyone. The change is scheduled to go live Tuesday. You’re all going to do great.

Contact Managing Editor Adam Parkhouse at aparkhouse@thenewsdispatch.com or 1-219-214-4170.

 

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