Cutbacks are an obvious reality and a necessary answer to many of the problems brought about by an economic recession. However, there is one thing that overwhelmingly trumps any amount on a price tag at the end of the day: safety.
On the southside of Fayette County at the intersection of Ga. Highway 92, Chanticleer’s Marion Boulevard and Kingswood Way, a very real problem exists that jeopardizes every citizen’s most valuable possession, their lives.
Turning left without the aid of a stop light from Marion Boulevard onto Hwy. 92, and from Kingswood Way on the opposite side is a treacherous and time-consuming task every day during both the morning and evening rush hours.
There is a hill to the left of the intersection, impeding the view of approaching cars until they are dangerously close (less than 100 yards). The speed limit is 55 miles per hour at this point.
This is fast enough to make stopping unexpectedly extremely difficult once you notice someone pulling out in front of you, whether that vehicle is turning left or right.
The blame is not on the operator of the vehicle exiting one of the neighborhoods, but instead on the circumstances that the driver must deal with in order to leave.
He/she spots an opening, and takes it only to find out that the opening has closed quickly due to the illusion of more time that the height of the hill creates.
Kingswood neighborhood sits directly across from Chanticleer on Hwy. 92, adding to the volume of vehicles entering and exiting the intersection. The positioning of the two neighborhoods makes it extremely difficult for vehicles to turn left from opposite sides of the road at the same time.
An agreement must be made between the two drivers before a move by either vehicle is made in order to avoid an awkward, and possibly dangerous situation.
The last thing you want to worry about is figuring out what the driver across from you is planning to do while also trying to gauge the speed, distance and destination of approaching vehicles from both directions.
All of these situations occur daily at this intersection, and they endanger a large number of drivers and their passengers on their commutes.
Every morning I leave Chanticleer through this intersection along with many of my fellow neighbors to a symphony of horns and screeching brakes. Something needs to be done here, and there are a few options.
Stop lights decrease the indecisiveness of drivers at any intersection by slowing the pace of the vehicles and only allowing traffic to flow in two directions at a given time. Vehicles would be unable to turn left out of the two neighborhoods unless a green arrow told them they could do so.
I realize adding a light at any intersection is costly, and would be questioned at one that would only require it during morning and evening rush hours. However, there are many intersections employing the use of these on/off types of lights; red and green lights in certain overly crowded times, and during all other hours they blink orange (i.e., a mile up the road at the intersection of Hwy. 92 and Hilo Road).
This can help in two ways: the light could be seen long before the intersection itself and it could warn drivers of a possible adverse situation ahead, whether the light was on or not. The blinking orange light also has a tendency to slow vehicles down for the above reason, which would make it easier to stop if a driver were to pull out in front of them.
Yes, stop lights are costly, but they are also cost effective in saving possible wrecks, injuries and lives.
Turn lanes decrease waiting time, therefore, alleviating frustration, which fuel mistakes. The blaring horns from vehicles waiting behind someone attempting to turn left tend to unsettle a driver and might urge him/her to try and make an opening they wouldn’t normally attempt.
Also, the drivers needing to turn right would be able to do so without hesitation (I’ve clocked waiting times at this intersection of up to 8 minutes).
The turn lane would not completely rectify the “turning left” problem, but would help to keep the volume of the intersection way down and in turn, the number of wrecks to a minimum.
I asked 15 households on the Chanticleer side of Hwy. 92, and 11 of those 15 agreed that there was an immediate and obvious problem looming every rush hour and that something needs to be done now.
I understand there is a high demand for state funds and little to go around, but I urge officials to take a look at this situation, for it is not a small one.
According to the Georgia Department of Transportation 25 percent of all wrecks in the state of Georgia happen at intersections. Less than 8 percent of those wrecks occur at signaled intersections, leaving simple math to conclude that wrecks at un-signaled intersections take place more than twice as often as they do when there is a stop light.
There is an imminent catastrophe waiting to happen where Marion Boulevard and Kingswood Way meet Hwy. 92, and until something is done the only thing we can do is pray we aren’t the ones involved. I appreciate your consideration.
Richard W. Greene