The Garfield Expressway: why we have (good) government

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We have now driven the glorious new Garfield Street Expressway from Second Street to Kansas and back, and there’s not a bump in the stretch. Not a ripple. (Man hole cov-ers don’t count.)

Traffic has been heavier since the new overlay was opened a week ago, but with no congestion, not even midway at the First Street interchange. The entire Expressway, all two blocks of it, is a dream, a benefit to all vehicles. The ride is a glide, whether by rattle trap or Rolls.

The Lindsborg Public Works Department converted this crater-laden, crack-ridden backwater trail to its new and superior standing in local street lore; the City Council gets gold stars for bundling this stretch of road with other projects in its 2015 maintenance improvements budget, and for finding the money to pay for it.

How does the Expressway play on the grander scheme of traffic in Lindsborg? Gary Shogren, the City Development Director, says that the street grid from the earliest days seemed to move all traffic to or through the downtown. “No matter where you were going, you wound up downtown,” he said.

As the town grew, moving the edges outward, motorists looked for other, better ways to the highway (Harrison-Cole, or old US 81). For residents in north and northeast Lindsborg,

Garfield was one of them. As traffic increased, Garfield Street from Second to Kansas was chewed into Garfield Trail. “It’s been a concern for several years,” Shogren said. “More and more people were making that loop to Harrison-Cole. Something had to be done.”

Something was. In truth, it’s a couple of blocks. But little matters, without the attention and vigilance of good government, can grow into big trouble. And it’s the little solutions, quickly and painlessly, that have larger meaning, those little solutions, every day, that turn a teeth-rattling two-block trail into a glorious Expressway.

These little things are the best reminders of why we have a government, and in our case, a jolly good one.

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