MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Letters

April 23, 2012

THE PEOPLE SPEAK – Extend East Side to grow business

In the early 1960’s East Side Boulevard in Muskogee was thriving. Lakeland Shopping Center was bustling with activity. This area had a Safeway store, Humpty Dumpty, and Weddle’s Grocery Stores, among others. Then something happened. A death sentence for a once thriving area. What was it? Shawnee was widened. Instead of following East Side Boulevard to Beacon Street to Shawnee and then turning left toward Main Street, we were forced to turn right on Shawnee. A barricade was installed to prevent left turns — a “safety measure”.

As a result, most traffic is now diverted from East Side Boulevard down Gibson Street to York Street, or up Callahan Street and over the old viaduct to Main Street. The other route is Fredonia Street to Martin Luther King Boulevard, but this route is usually avoided due to trains constantly blocking the way. This has created a traffic clog at Main and Shawnee, which is now the most dangerous intersection in the area. More accidents occur here than at any other intersection in town. I believe widening and extending East Side Boulevard to Shawnee would not only reduce accidents at Main and Shawnee, it would completely revitalize East Side Boulevard commercially, and raise property values in a now decaying area of town. By making this area more desirable to live, it will also help revitalize the downtown area. I imagine it may take a federal grant of some sort to build a new viaduct over the railroad tracks close to Shawnee, but it would be worth it in the long run.

ALAN SMITH

Muskogee

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