A Traffic Pattern Change at This Light Isn’t Getting The Job Done
A recent traffic pattern change at the intersection of Route 196 and Routes 9/125 in Lisbon Falls doesn't appear to have done anything to make traffic flow any more smoothly. In fact, it feels like it may have made it worse.
The intersection in downtown Lisbon Falls was reconfigured at about the same time as a Downtown Revitalization Plan added new sidewalks, lighting, landscaping and some new businesses including a Rusty Lantern convenience store.
I travel to Lisbon often to pick up my son and see his baseball games, and on those occasions when he has a game at 5:30, I find myself stuck in commuter traffic backed up at the light all the way to the bridge on Route 9/125 at the Lisbon/Durham town line. I measured it on Google Maps and that's a quarter of a mile.
Heading east on Route 196, I've seen westbound traffic backed up to the Lisbon/Topsham line. That's half a mile. Clearly something isn't right here.
One proposal made in 2007 called for eliminating left turns for eastbound traffic and making Main Street one way to ease the congestion but that never came to be.
What did happen is that The Maine DOT installed new traffic lights and changed the lanes at the light. It used to be that the left lanes at the light were for traveling straight and making left turns while the right lanes were for right turns only. Now they've been swapped with the left lanes for left turn only while the right lane is for right turns and travelling straight. The thought was this would prevent traffic from backing up when people going straight have to wait for people turning left to make their turn.
Alaric Johnson of Topsham told me that it used to be worse before the change, but it sure doesn't feel like it to me.
As traffic volumes on Route 196 continue to increase, it seems like the Maine DOT is going to need to go back to the drawing board to find a solution to the congestion that will continue to grow at this intersection.
What do you think they should do to improve the traffic flow in downtown Lisbon Falls? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.