When you live near an intersection and experience its traffic flow first hand for a decade or more, you kind of become an expert on it.
That’s what many residents conveyed during Wednesday’s public meeting, at Brandon Hall School, on planned intersection improvements at Spalding Drive and Mount Vernon Road.
After 17 reported accidents over a three year period and a failing grade of F in traffic performance, City Councilman John Paulson told District 1 neighbors, that the intersection must be fixed soon. But, he couldn’t get many of them to agree that a traffic signal and yield sign would prevent cars from speeding down the street, or driving onto their property and knocking down their mailboxes.
“We can’t not do anything,” Paulson said. “Sight distance on Spalding Drive westward is unsafe…Eastbound is a little startling to some people. Safety is the first concern. Traffic operations is the second. When this is completed it improves pedestrian connectivity…”
Public Works director Kevin Walter tried to calm the contentious crowd. When the traffic light goes up, he said, “Coming westbound on Spalding you can go through with no signal.”
Motorists traveling up Mount Vernon to go east on Spalding or straight will also have the light, Walter added.
Stop signs at the intersection will be removed and a yield sign will be added for Spalding westbound traffic.
Les Gurvey, a longtime resident of North Spalding Lake, urged the city officials to lower the blind spot on Spalding Drive so people can see oncoming traffic.
“That yield sign is going to create more accidents than you’ve ever seen in your life,” Gurvey said.
Walter said that in fact the ground is being dropped to remove the blind spot.
Gurvey and other neighbors brought up improvements at Nesbitt Ferry and Winter’s Chapel intersections at Spalding Drive, which are said to remain deadly for drivers. They wanted to know how changes at Spalding and Mount Vernon would be any different.
Brad Edwards, director of transportation for the city, said that although a traffic light went up at those intersections, no alignment was made to completely address the problem.
“That’s why we are trying to put a number of things together to address all of the problems [at Spalding and Mount Vernon],” he said.
Intersection improvements are scheduled to start in late 2013 and will cost about $400,000. Teresa Epple, traffic engineer with Southeastern Engineering said projections show a 50 percent increase in traffic over the next 20 years.
What do you think should be done to fix this intersection?