A recent article in the Princeton Times about the growing volume of traffic in Princeton generated a lot of attention on social media. Most posting on Facebook agreed that traffic congestion is a problem in the city limits during the early morning and evening commute hours, while others weren’t quite for sure if the volume of traffic has increased or decreased in recent years.

It has increased, at least according to the West Virginia Department of Highways. According to DOH statistics, the number of vehicles on Mercer Street has jumped from 8,000 vehicles a day to 11,000. This is a good problem to have. It is also good news for all of the small businesses located in the downtown, who depend upon the vehicular and foot traffic.

Traffic along heavily traveled Stafford Drive also has increased from 13,000 vehicles a day to 14,000, according to the DOH statistics. That’s not surprising given the number of vehicles that can be seen along Stafford Drive on any given week day.

It should be noted, however, that these statistics are roughly four years old, according to City Manager Mike Webb. So when the next traffic volume study is completed, it is likely that the daily traffic count number could further increase.

The only reason, according to Webb, for the influx in traffic is an increase in business growth in the city. He points to growth areas like the Grassroots District in the downtown, Courthouse Road and, of course, Stafford Drive.

“Over the past year we have had an increase in the number of businesses inside the city open up including new car dealerships, ATV motorsports, bistros and restaurants, just to name a few,” Webb told the Princeton Times.

Webb is correct. Small-business growth in the city is still going strong. And while not located in the city limits, the heavily-congested Exit 9 corridor on Interstate 77 also plays a big role in traffic volume in the greater Princeton area. Many of those who exit the interstate looking for food, gas and places to shop are traveling beyond just the Oakvale Road corridor.

Given the growing traffic volumes in Princeton, we do encourage all motorists to drive safely. Obey the posted speed limit, stop for red lights and stop signs, and please don’t text and drive at the same time. Keep your eyes focused on the road, as there is a lot of traffic to contend with both in and outside of the city limits of Princeton.