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Farragut Primary School traffic

Thanks for the article and excellent drawing showing changes in the traffic pattern at Farragut Primary due to construction on Campbell Station Road in your July 30 issue.

I noted that all incoming traffic will be entering the school via the southbound turn lane on Campbell Station.

This is not good news, since I was confronted with a very rude driver one day last Spring regarding vehicles in this lane waiting to pick their children up in the afternoon.

I was in the right turn lane on Grigsby Chapel Road waiting on the light to change (I wasn’t going to the school). A van pulled up at the end of the line of vehicles waiting to enter the school, completely blocking the right turn lane and a good part of the center through lane of Grigsby Chapel.

The driver of the van seemed oblivious to the numerous horns blaring at her. I was only eventually able to turn right because a gracious driver in the through lane allowed me to pull around the back of the van.

I would hope that this intersection will be monitored during the school year to prevent this kind of thoughtless behavior from occurring.

I’m not a big fan of “red-light” cameras, but since that driver blocked the intersection through several cycles of the traffic signal, a citation should have be issued if they had been monitoring the intersection.

Charles Reeves Jr.


Red-light cameras

My objection to red-light cameras is that the duration of the yellow light is usually reduced when the camera is installed, often at the requirement of the private company that pays to install the red light cameras.

So if a motorist approaches a local intersection just as its light turns yellow and previously it stayed yellow for five seconds but now stays yellow for only three seconds, well what do you suppose happens? A red light violation!

The city of Mesa, Ariz., has reported that intersections with cameras and 3-second yellow lights average 2,600 tickets per month whereas intersections with cameras and 4 second yellow lights average 700 tickets per month.

Federal law requires a minimum of 3 sec. and a maximum of 6 sec. for a yellow light. Many studies indicate that fewest accidents occur when yellow lights are 5 to 6 seconds. But safety and revenue enhancement are in conflict.

And what is the safety track record of red-light cameras after installation?

An Ontario Ministry of Transportation report, issued in 2003, compared changes in accident rates at intersections before and after installation of red light cameras. Over the study period, camera-free intersections had a 12.7 percent reduction in injury/fatality accidents and red-light camera intersections had a 2 percent increase. Why an increase? Well rear-end accidents at the red-light camera intersections rose after the cameras were installed! Injury and fatality accidents from rear-end collision rose 4.9 percent and property-damage-only accidents rose 49.9 percent at red-light camera intersections.

In June 2007, the Virginia Transportation Council cited similar findings. After controlling for time and traffic volume at each intersection, rear-end accident rates rose 27 percent after the cameras were installed. Total number of accidents increased, not decreased. The report states “After cameras were installed, total crashes increased.”

Unfortunately, all the information that is reported to the public on these red-light cameras seems to originate with businessman and officials who have an obvious conflict of interest. And those short yellow lights are never mentioned.

Gordon Michaels



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