Traffic makes Lebanon a ‘going’ town

Gary Sosniecki

Gary Sosniecki

By: 
GARY SOSNIECKI

I overheard an out-of-towner complain to the leader of a civic organization recently about Lebanon’s traffic.

I smiled and thought to myself: “Thank God we have enough traffic that someone’s complaining.”

Traffic is a sign of prosperity. It’s an attribute that editors a century ago would use to describe a “going” town. Lebanon is a going town. It’s a busy town. Drive through Lebanon, and you see people. You see cars. You see a town that looks successful because people have a reason to be here. Many of those people are spending money here, triggering growth in the economy.

Not every community has traffic. Take a look at any town that has been bypassed by a new highway designed to move traffic faster from one side of town to the other. Take a look at our friends in downtown Camdenton since Highway 5 bypassed it. Take a look at Lake Ozark and Osage Beach, which were bypassed by new, controlled-access U.S. 54 a decade ago.

Drive along old highway 54 and count the empty storefronts, empty restaurants and empty tourist attractions. Can you still find what you’re looking for as easily as you did in the old days? How many times have you driven to the west end of the old highway and had to backtrack east on New 54, then turn around at the next exit in order to get home?

It doesn’t take as long to get to Jefferson City these days, but the Lake of the Ozarks sacrificed the look of prosperity that came from traffic driving through its core. It probably sacrificed dollars, too. Do travelers stop as much for gas and meals at the Lake, or do they continue on another hour to Jefferson City?

Yes, at times driving from one side of Lebanon to the other can be inconvenient. We have a Rush Minute when the workday starts and when it ends. Yes, it’s wise to avoid Jefferson on Friday afternoon and evening in the summer when traffic is heading to Bennett Spring and Lake of the Ozarks. But be grateful for that traffic.

For the complete column, see the Weekend print edition of The Daily Record, or view the e-Edition online.

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The Lebanon Daily Record

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Lebanon, MO 65536
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