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Ourview: traffic signals

Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen are slated to discuss the practicality of a traffic signal at the end of the westbound driveway of Farragut High School during its meeting Thursday, Dec. 9.

The discussion is in response to a request presented by FHS principal Michael Reynolds and two students during the Board’s previous meeting in November. The group stressed the danger to student drivers and Campbell Station Road drivers of left-hand turns onto southbound Campbell Station Road.

Town engineer Darryl Smith told Board members and the gallery a traffic signal would cost about $100,000 of Town money.

Since the November BOMA meeting several Farragut residents have weighed in on the topic and many have concluded spending $100,000 on a traffic signal at a driveway that is used a little more than an hour a day, 180 days a year is wasteful spending at best. Many have suggested a traffic signal would be better suited at the intersection of Sonja Drive and Campbell Station Road.

However, in the same vicinity are two egresses that would seem to have much more traffic on a daily basis than either Sonja Drive or the school driveway, especially for drivers making left-hand turns onto Campbell Station Road — those egresses being Jamestowne Boulevard and the eastbound driveway for Village Green shopping center. Should those intersections also be considered for traffic signals? Probably not.

In light of the issues, Town officials have consented to contract a service to conduct traffic studies for FHS driveway, Sonja Drive and also Thornton Drive at Kingston Pike — another egress for those residing off Sonja Drive. The Town also will look at Campbell Lakes Drive during this study. The studies should provide data needed to determine whether any of the intersections have warrants justifying a traffic signal. We applaud Town leaders for responding to their citizens’ concerns without hesitation.

Considering the limited use of the driveway, an immediate, or perhaps permanent, “fix” to the FHS driveway issue is to designate by a simple signage that left turns from the driveway are illegal. In other words, simply make the driveway a right-out only. A “No Left Turn” sign seems to be working fairly well in Town at the driveway onto Kingston Pike used by Taco Bell, Firestone, McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken patrons and the frequent student- or parent-driver leaving FHS and cutting through to avoid the Kingston Pike at West End Avenue traffic signal.

At the end of the day, responsibility for safe driving and obeying the law falls on all drivers and, in the case of student drivers, parents, whose responsibility it is to teach their children safe driving skills —not the Town — and Knox County Sheriff’s Office deputies, whose job it is to keep our roads safe.


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