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Light is a sign of the times

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POSTED: June 4, 2014 2:00 p.m.

Traffic signals are usually a 'good news, bad news' proposition. They save lives. They can also slow down commuters, prolonging time one spends behind the wheel burning gas, which is both economically and environmentally unsound.
In this case, the good news is the light at the intersection of Highway 144 and Timber Trail will be operational soon, which will make accessing 144 from Timber Trail safer.  
The bad news is it will be yet another light drivers will try and beat; and yet one more delay for motorists who’ve grown accustomed to being able to move straight through that occasionally hair-raising intersection without having to stop— though they might have to dodge drivers coming onto 144 from Timber Trail who grow frustrated of long waits.
Call the new signal and what caused its necessity a price of growth.
As anyone who spends more than a moment here can tell, Richmond Hill is far from the small town it once was. It’s now a bustling, hustling and growing city with ambitions to grow even larger. City leaders say they can manage that growth and keep the city’s oft praised small town charm intact.
And, there seems to be a serious effort afoot to do just that.
In the meantime, the intersection at 144 and Timber Trail isn’t the only accident waiting to happen in Richmond Hill. Cedar Street, the entrance to J.F. Gregory Park, is also one of those spots where frequent users tend to have to grit their teeth during peak traffic hours, particularly when trying to take a left. The Station Exchange development directly across 144 is adding an ever growing dimension to the challenge, and as more businesses open and attract more customers, the area will become even more hazardous for drivers. That’s just how it works.
Fortunately, city officials and the Georgia DOT have been relatively proactive in terms of trying to make driving in Richmond Hill easier on motorists. The turn-only lane at 144 and 17 has helped a great deal – and the planned widening of 144 will one day make commutes safer for drivers in South Bryan while also helping in the event there is a mandatory evacuation for a hurricane or other disaster.
But those aren’t the only areas in Richmond Hill in need of help. The area around the post office is congested during the day and lends itself to plenty of near misses as drivers coming from, say, the old Kroger plaza near the library trying to turn east meet those exiting the post office and heading west at the same time other drivers leaving the library attempt to head east — and all this while rush hour traffic rushes past in both directions at the traditional 10-15 mph over the posted speed limit of 35 mph.
Oh, and if that’s confusing to read, try to drive it.
As the area continues to grow, so will traffic. That's why it’s important that officials continue to try and stay on on top of it. That’s not always easy when there’s usually too little in tight state and local budgets to pay for road improvements, but the alternative could be deadly.

 

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