King and the Hwy. 54 traffic light


This is in response to Councilman Mike King’s letter to the editor in the Feb. 19 issue of The Citizen.

After reading Councilman Mike King’s letter I can only say this is his attempt to schmooz the way, however lamely, for yet another traffic light along the 54 West corridor.

Am I missing something here? What sane-thinking person, anyone who has experienced the grid lock and colossal inefficiency of this traffic nightmare, could possibly even imagine yet another traffic light let alone suggest “reasons” for one.

I would suggest Mr. King try this (because it’s obvious from his letter he hasn’t): Plan a little road trip to Newnan on a Friday night; dinner at Fabiano’s Pizza is an excellent reason. Schedule your trip to hit the 54/74 intersection in the evening at 5:15 or 5:30-ish.

Enjoy having your blood pressure rise as you experience first-hand the gridlock created by all those independently operating traffic lights and wreaking havoc on any semblance of healthy traffic flow.

Mr. King might notice his jaw beginning to clench, maybe the knuckles of his hands turning white as he grips the steering wheel. A tensing of the neck muscles. And yes, genteel Southerner, maybe even lay into the horn as some brain-numb driver in the car ahead of you finishes texting; they make the light and you don’t. Muffled, maybe not so much, expletives under your breath to boot.

Now imagine having to do that twice a day, five days a week. Your Peachtree City Purgatory courtesy of the brilliant planning and forethought by the city fathers. Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse we get “reasons to OK new light”.

As a reason for the light, Mr. King mentions a potential “quarter-million-dollar” ($250,000 in less dramatic terms) cost to the city if GDOT decides to make an exception to their rules and allow the light.

As previously reported in The Citizen, according to GDOT standards, the new traffic light would fail to meet distance requirements from adjacent traffic lights; it’s too close and would not be installed.

However, according to Councilman King’s letter, Peachtree City taxpayers would be on the hook for the $250K should GDOT decide to make an exception for this traffic light because the City apparently has not filed for a state(?) review of the situation.

Mr. King failed to mention the cost for this review and why it hasn’t been done. How does the cost of the review compare to the cost of the light plus the overall negative effect on thousands of commuters using this road? Will a state review help or hinder the cause to keep this traffic light from being installed especially if an exception might be granted by GDOT? And exactly whose side are the powers at large going to defend; commercial interests or the common “Joe”?

A second reason is floated. Appealing to the almighty shopper and intimating if the city didn’t approve the light or the light was disavowed by the state we just might “be stuck with businesses that may not meet the standard to which we are accustomed.”

Huh? What “standard”? You mean the same standard that brought in big box Walmart? The same standard that kept Home Depot from building a full-size version of their store; ditto the Best Buy? Or the one allowing the Discount Tire store or the jam-packed strip shopping center or the one that’s half vacant?

And if the light is not granted we would end up with what? A tattoo parlor? An adult toy store? A “bikers” bar? Maybe a Hooters! Egads and little fishes, can’t have any of that in the Magic Kingdom so we all just better buck up and hope that light gets approved!

But there’s actually something worse: vacant, non-tax-revenue-producing land, especially when you have “lined up clients for the property who have asked that a light be installed for ease of access to their businesses.”

Guess where the concerns of Mr. & Mrs. Peachtree Pete and Patty are gonna fall? At the end of that line.

Peachtree City is not an island unto itself; it is part of Fayette County. Whatever decisions are made along this 54 West corridor affects not only “…the citizens of our fine city” but ALL residents of Fayette County who must navigate this unholy section of state highway.

Until the leadership of Peachtree City pulls their collective heads out of the sand and develops a system of sequencing the multiple independent traffic lights to better handle rush hour traffic, not one more traffic light should be added to the poisonous mix on the 54 West corridor.

But given the tone of Mr. King’s letter, the lame reasons and a kowtow to commercial interests over the well-being of the citizenry, you can just figure the light is going to get installed with the blame, no doubt, directed at GDOT.

Same ol’ song and dance that got this mess in the first place. Schmoozing, Mr. King, is not your forte.

Mike Mahoney
Fayetteville, Ga.