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presstalk 671-TALK

• We see that Ford’s Folly has hit the corner of Smith [Road], Lost Tree Lane and Fox Den Drive. While Cannon & Cannon may be guessing that these calming islands may slow traffic, the corner I mentioned has stop signs that do a fine job stopping each car. I’ve driven in and out of Lost Tree Lane for 14 years, and we really have problems. The two islands can only cause traffic problems, particularly for those of us who have to make left turns, and in reality, for everyone. Also, anything planted on the islands will hinder driver vision. This is complete idiocy on the part of our Farragut government and the engineering firm. We’re paying plenty to add these and mark my words; we’ll pay plenty down the road to take them out. Calming islands? We think they should be renamed “enraging islands.”

• I live in a subdivision that backs up to Grigsby Chapel Road. We’ve lived here four years. Within those four years, there have been six wrecks crashing into our fences and entrances to subdivisions within less than a mile from my home. One person became a paraplegic, the person who crashed. These people are complaining: what’s so bad about having to slow down to make a turn? You know, Grigsby Chapel is supposed to be a neighborhood street, just like Fox Den Drive is. We don’t need people coming down here so fast they can’t slow down and make a left turn; we have Kingston Pike for that. If you lived along Grigsby Chapel Road where we do, I think you would change your mind about this. I hope we don’t abandon this project.

• I want to talk about the islands on Grigsby Chapel Road. I don’t usually come through there; I go over to Kingston Pike. The other night, it was late and I came through there, and I almost hit one of them because I’m not familiar with that. My friend, he is an older man, and he comes through there all the time, and it’s very hard for him to see. So anyway, I think this is a waste of money. There are more things more important than islands, and I think they ought to have to clean them up and do away with them before someone gets killed back there. And it could be me, because I can’t see very good at night and then I come straight through there, and all that mess and I didn’t even know it was there. And there’s some other things in Farragut need to be done away with too, like the mayor.

• I’ve never met Tom Rosseel, but I do know Bob Markli. Tom Rosseel will get my vote. Enough said.

• Someone has dug up the street at the corner of Smith Road and North Fox Den; for what purpose, I’m not sure. The turn lanes have been taken out, making it dangerous for cars to turn against traffic. Pedestrians frequently cross at this intersection. They are now in danger of not being seen as they emerge from behind the islands. I wish the farragutpress would investigate the matter: who came up with this scheme in the first place? Who voted for it? Which contractors are profiting by it, and what is their relation to our Town council, if any? Is the town of Farragut willing to consider removing the islands along Smith Road and to put it to a vote at the next general election? Would the individuals who dreamed up this ridiculous scheme be willing to take responsibility for their actions and pay for removing them before some pedestrian gets killed?

Editor’s Note: The Town conducted several Town Meetings concerning the islands on Grigsby Chapel Road, which were covered by farragutpress. Very few citizens turned out at the meetings to voice opposition.

• Can someone please stop the insanity on Grigsby Chapel Road? The calming islands are going to be terrible. All we needed was a stop sign or a stop light at St. John Court in order to let the school kids out. There’s a blind hill there that really is hard to see over when you’re trying to turn left. I can’t see that the calming islands are going to help anything.

• Via e-mail: I just left the voting at Town Hall and was appalled that I had to wait through two traffic lights at Municipal Drive and Campbell Station Road to make a left turn. This took about 10 minutes out of my busy schedule. Time I can’t afford to loose. I think the Town should immediately look into making Municipal Drive a four-lane road with one in-coming lane and three out-going (two left-turn lanes at the light.) I believe only one right turn is needed since I don’t travel that way. I believe this needs to be done now because I am from Farragut and I am important. Also, next year when I vote, I won’t have to wait on traffic. If folks don’t have to wait their turn on Grigsby Chapel Road; then they shouldn’t have to wait on Municipal Drive.

• Via e-mail: This is regarding the “Traffic Calming Islands” that are being built along Grigsby Chapel [Road]. My idea will save the town thousands, if not millions of dollars in lawsuits from automobile accidents and also will keep our local politicians from being sued as well. If the lawsuits go to court the farragutpress will be a major player, for they have all the information and write-ins from people that have already incurred damage. We may even hit the evening news on “How Calming Islands cause Mental Anguish and Physical Pain.” My suggestion would be to petition the town of Farragut to have a liquor store built in one of the townhouse complexes off of Grigsby Chapel. This way the locals could walk, or ride a bike, to the store and not have to drive drunk and later found mumbling obscenities on one of the Islands. There will be no need for a Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony, or a sign or even having to decide on the appropriate, right color. When the store is built … they will come! The word will spread so fast that you won’t be able to keep the shelves stocked.

• Via e-mail: I am completely embarrassed about the chain of events that have led us to this point with respect to the “calming islands.” It does not require a genius to determine that these structures are unattractive, troublesome, and most seriously, dangerous. For those of us who have lived in the area for more than a few years, we have seen numerous accidents along Grigsby Chapel Road. These accidents have typically resulted in damage along the right side of the corresponding road. It is very obvious to me that we are going to have numerous additional accidents, as the “calming islands” will not allow for any variance into the center portion of the road. It will be truly a terrible day when the first fatality occurs due to these structures. It is amazing to me how little public discussion went into this project before the $300,000 or so was allocated. Although I have very little interest in local politics, I have decided to vote against each and every member of the local government that instituted this project at whatever point they are up for re-election. I do not care if 10 years have passed and some of the elected officials are still in office, I will continue to vote against them for this one issue. The current elected members do not seem to care about the vast majority that opposes this project. Accordingly, the best we can hope for is that new elected officials will better represent our interests.

Editor’s Note: Most of the accidents that farragutpress has covered on Grigsby Chapel Road involved motorists and alcohol consumption.

• Via e-mail: I am curious how many people in the Town would be in favor of an increase in Property Tax so that Farragut could have its own municipal police force. Reading presstalk is one of the main reasons I look forward to getting The ’Press, and many of the complaints that I read here concerning traffic issues, as well as an increase in break-ins, I wonder if they couldn’t be solved with our own police force. I recently spoke with a Knox County police officer and he informed me that the scope of their duty becomes limited past Lovell Road, and I don’t see a strong sheriff’s department presence here either. It seems to me that the “powers that be” have more to gain through their own agenda and contracts with companies for their unwanted/unnecessary pet projects, than the will of the people they represent. Many of these issues; running stop signs, illegal use of surface streets, and most of all speeding could be taken care of by a police presence rather than traffic calming islands. I don’t live in the Grigsby Chapel Road area, (nor do I think the people that are pushing this do), and even I feel it’s ridiculous.

Editor’s Note: The town of Farragut presently does not have a Property Tax to increase. The Property Tax Farragut citizens pay is Knox County Property Tax. Also, Mayor Eddy Ford has stated in many forums throughout the years that the town of Farragut is “not in the police business, not in the school business and not in the garbage/recycle business.”

• Via e-mail: Maybe we could have the town of Farragut plant vegetable gardens in the calming islands. Think of the possibilities that would bring. Makes more sense than what has been shown.

• Via e-mail: Last week some town planner defended the islands on Grigsby Chapel and Smith Road by saying that the town “would rather have someone hit the curb than a tree.” Did it ever occur to the brilliant folks at town hall that motorists would not be hitting trees if the town didn’t install islands and plant trees in them? Did they ever consider what [would] happen when a car hits these vertical curbs at 40 mph? Or when a child steps out from behind one of the islands where he can’t be seen by motorists? I hope one of our alderman will have sense enough to bring a motion to remove all of these islands, and I hope this time that the meetings will be announced well in advance so the public can make its wishes known.

• Via e-mail: Did you know about the election campaign violation at the Town Hall? [Town staff] took down a press clipping favorable to Mayor [Eddy] Ford from the bulletin board in front of the convenience voting station after a complaint from a voter. This is a clear violation of TCA 2-7-111:(b) (1) Within the appropriate boundary as established in subsection (a), and the building in which the polling place is located, the display of campaign posters, signs or other campaign materials, distribution of campaign materials, and solicitation of votes for or against any person, political party, or position on a question are prohibited. No campaign posters, signs or other campaign literature may be displayed on or in any building in which a polling place is located. In addition: (3) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit any person from wearing a button, cap, hat, pin, shirt or other article of clothing outside the established boundary but on the property where the polling place is located. A complaint has been filed with the Knox County Election Commission.

• Via e-mail: Regarding the “traffic calming islands” on Grigsby Chapel Road; As a resident of Farragut, I fully understand the intended purpose of installing the islands, and my heart goes out to those who live near these “traffic traps.” However, this solution is simply a Band-Aid (not a very effective Band-Aid, either), and not a permanent fix for the traffic issues. For us residents who must travel toward Knoxville between 7 and 8 a.m. on weekdays, there are only three routes available. If I choose to travel Campbell Station Road, I encounter two school zones, several traffic lights and hundreds of like-minded commuters, requiring more than 15 minutes to navigate the three or four miles to the Interstate. If I choose to travel Kingston Pike to Lovell Road, I pass one school, countless traffic lights and thousands of my neighbors fighting for the same goal of reaching I-75. My third option is to travel GCR where I pass through only one school zone and two traffic lights. Even with this option, there are “hundreds” of other commuters fighting their way to work and school. Until recently, traffic routinely backed up 200 or 300 yards attempting to turn left on Campbell Station Road toward I-75. Now, with our newly installed “traffic traps,” traffic has backed up close to a half mile and extended the time by as much as 15 minutes. Again, the traffic islands are no solution. I feel that our mayor and the elected officials of Farragut owe a more reasonable and permanent solution to our growing traffic calamities. I moved my family from Knoxville to Farragut in order to avoid the traffic and crime associated with metropolitan areas. I certainly didn’t expect to find that daily commuting involved fighting larger traffic jams and congestion than I moved away from. I feel that the people of Farragut have been let down by our mayor and I feel that we are owed an apology and a solution to this growing problem.

Editor’s Note: A fourth opinion for all would be to leave your home 15-minutes earlier in the morning.

• Via e-mail: I have been in this community six years and never said a word, but now I have decided to comment in your free speech forum. I have several questions that possibly someone could answer. Why are the Arts programs at the schools being cut? Farragut Middle is cutting their All-Year-Art program. What are those kids going to do, band is out because they can only join band in the 6th grade. That leaves orchestra and choir. Where are the budding artists going to get their creative outlet? I also have family at Karns High, where they are cutting the drama program and Cedar Bluff Middle, where they are cutting the orchestra program. What gives? Someone please explain to me why Tennessee can’t take some of the scholarship lottery money, pay for the extra programs at the schools, and pay the teachers more. It looks bad when Georgians are paying their teachers more and giving their students a better education. Why are the children reviewing for the TCAP? Isn’t it a comprehensive test? Having them study for it makes it look like the schools are trying to raise their test scores. Why can’t Farragut have a Community Chest Thrift store? Powell has one. … Could someone consider opening a Community Chest, maybe give underprivileged and special needs young adults job training, use the profits to tear down one of those old buildings on Kingston Pike and build a decent Community Center or YMCA. Why is it, people do not know how to use a turn-about? Often times people go right through the yield sign, coming close to hitting the car traveling in the circle. They have given teens a new game: drive donuts around the turnabout at 3 a.m., scaring the community residents to death. Is there more graffiti in Farragut? Is it related to gangs or just more bored teens? Think Community Center. Let’s see. Traffic Light cameras, good idea, they stop speeding, save lives, generate money for the Town, and I can say that after a ticket from them. Lastly, thank you, thank you for discontinuing the political comments.

• Via e-mail: I’ve already voted, but if I’d seen the traffic-obstructing islands along Grigsby Chapel and Smith Road, I would not have voted for any of the incumbents at Town Hall. These islands are going to get someone killed. I’ve never heard of placing a traffic island within two feet of a crosswalk, or of removing turn lanes and replacing them with islands so cars coming up the road can’t see cars that are turning. Were these traffic-obstructing islands just a flight of fancy on the part of some alderman, or were they designed on purpose to cause accidents?


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