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presstalk 671-TALK


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• Tired of complaining about traffic islands, red-light cameras or wasteful Town spending? Why not do something about it and run for alderman? Farragut elections are in April and the deadline for filing your nominating petition is noon, Thursday, Jan. 20. Two positions are up [Ward II south side seat held by Dot LaMarche and Ward II north side seat held by Dr. John Williams] and there will be no contest or even debate about these issues unless new citizens get involved now. Call Knox County Election Commission at 215-2480 for details. Quit complaining or start running. It’s your choice.

• Yes, I’m calling concerning the red-light cameras, right-turn-on-red cameras, whatever. I witnessed a town of Farragut vehicle turning right on red, and he got, the camera blinked on him. I’m just wondering who pays the ticket for that person: the town of Farragut or the person who was driving that vehicle at the time? The time was at 10:15 a.m., on Dec. 15, 2010. I’m still wondering who’s going to pay the ticket, the town of Farragut or the person who was driving the vehicle at the time. Thank you.

Editor’s Note: According to Town administrator David Smoak, the employee driving the Town vehicle at the time of the incident is responsible for paying the $50 fine.

• This is in regards to “Are you ready for another red-light camera?” [Through The Lens, Dec. 30, 2010] To answer the question, I’m not sure that Farragut really has an “arsenal” of red-light cameras. This would be a stockpile or store, and we only have maybe four. I just don’t think that people are taking these serious for the tools that they are. They’re meant to enforce people who don’t care to obey the traffic laws. Yes, I come to a full stop. As a good driver, I try very hard to be a good steward to all people in other cars, pedestrians, but mainly to myself and my family and friends, bike riders included. I believe also we should obey all the traffic laws; driving is not a recreation; it is a very serious privilege. No, I do not believe people in Farragut — no one should be against traffic laws. Yes, we got a red-light ticket at Kingston Pike and Papermill [Drive] because we weren’t paying attention and we were distracted. We were guilty; we paid the fine. We need to stop whining about red-light cameras. What about speed limits, no turn signs, yield signs, other cautionary signs? They are there for our protection, not for any other reason. All it will take is for you to be involved in an accident with injuries to yourself or a family member, and maybe that will make you realize how important these types of things are. Thank you.


• On Tuesday, Dec. 21, an unknown lady walking her dog noticed a gas leak smell on Prince George Parish Drive in Farragut, and she called 911 or KUB. We wish to thank her for taking her time to do so and protect our neighborhood.

• ... I think the red-light cameras are one of the biggest rip-offs that this Town could ever be involved in. No. 1, turning right, or slowing and turning right, on a right hand turn at a traffic light is not an endangerment of people’s lives. Thank you.

Editor’s Note: Coming to a full and complete stop before turning right on red is a state law, found in Tennessee Code Annotated 55-8-110. It says: “A right turn on a red signal shall be permitted at all intersections within the state; provided, that the prospective turning car shall come to a full and complete stop before turning and that the turning car shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and cross traffic traveling in accordance with their traffic signal.” (www.tntrafficsafety.org)

• Today, Thursday, is the first time I’ve been in the Farragut Post Office in over a year. I got in line behind several people at 9 a.m. There was no one at any of the customer windows. After standing there several minutes, people started leaving. I waited some time and no one ever came to the customer service windows. We don’t believe anyone was working. There is something going to have to be done about this. After talking to some people about this, it was mentioned that FedEx or UPS may be looking at giving service at the Post Office. After all, they probably pass every house in Farragut two or three times a day. Thank you.

• They keep saying “Shop Farragut.” I’ve talked to dozens of people and they will not come to Farragut on account of the red-light cameras. And we do not blame them. These new cameras will especially hurt people coming into Parkside Drive to shop. They will enter [Turkey Creek at] Lovell Road. We don’t believe Farragut wants people to shop here. So we try to help them and shop outside the city of Farragut. If we lived in Farragut, it might be different but our home is away from Farragut. Thank you.

• I want to applaud the comment from the person who called in about the red-light cameras and the morality, or lack of morality I should say, of those who oppose it. One would think it is because they don’t think they should have to pay fines or they don’t want to have to obey the law. They made an interesting point. I got a chuckle out of it and also made me think. And farragutpress, I want you to know, I am totally in favor of the red-light cameras. I wish they would get one at Campbell Station [Road] and Old Colony [Parkway] at Village Green. I cannot believe the number of parents with children in their cars that blast through yellow and red lights every single day during school traffic. I stop at red lights. Period. It doesn’t matter whether I’m getting ready to go straight. It doesn’t matter if I’m getting ready to turn right. When I see a light turning yellow, I know that means caution; it does not mean hurry up and go. This is what we were all taught in “driver’s ed,” those of us who took it. And when you go to take your drivers license test, and you actually read the booklet, this is what it states. So, people who oppose the red lights, get off your high horse, quit pounding on your chest about freedom and security and whatever other garbage you’ve been coming up with. Just obey the law, and then you won’t have to worry about getting a ticket and paying a fine. Happy New Year, everyone.

• Via presstalk@farragutpress.com: “The Law was made for man, and not man for the Law.” Years ago it was illegal to make a right turn at a red light. Eventually, it was realized that people were able to safely judge for themselves whether they could safely turn, and the law was changed (but not enough). Today we have a similar issue, with red light cameras being used to issue citations to people who fail to completely stop prior to turning right on red. I am strongly in favor of changing the law to allow the turn to be executed in a fashion similar to a yield sign. Very often there are other vehicles stopped at the light that block the view of a driver turning right. The only safe way to turn is to slowly roll forward, all the while looking left for traffic. Once it is determined that it is safe, the driver should be allowed to proceed without fear that it is going to cost him $50! I am STRONGLY opposed to the cameras as long as the law they are enforcing is a bad one!

• Via e-mail: No one in government mentions whether the Town of Farragut’s law enforcement arrangement with Knox County is working satisfactorily. Our family has lived here more than 10 years; not once have we seen a published report covering the town’s annual law enforcement agreement in detail. The town of Farragut should publish a realistic evaluation covering the annual agreement between the town and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office. What does the Sheriff’s Office actually do in terms of total accidents, investigations, arrests, warrants served, etc. and how do those stats reflect against the previous year? The Town manager is the Town administrator, the public deserves the right to know if the current system is working, or not, and how much it costs the Town from one year to the next. Today, the town of Farragut has 20,000 residents. There is a unique quality of life here and the public needs to know the state of our law enforcement coverage. The bottom line is: “Do we have enough law enforcement personnel to meet the needs of a community this size.”

Editor’s Note: We have requested to see a copy of any such agreement. So far, no such written agreement can be found.. However, some sources say the town of Farragut is covered in the same manner as any other portion of Knox County — no more, no less. In other words, we have the same police protection as the Halls, Karns, Strawberry Plains, Carter communities with no official agreement.

• Via presstalk@farragutpress.com: My question is, why do we (Farragut area) have so many red-light cameras compared to East, North, South Knoxville. In Farragut, we have three camera red lights now ( 1- Grigsby Chapel [sic]/Kingston Pike; 2- Campbell Station/Kingston Pike; 3- Concord Road/Kingston Pike) and after they add Campbell Station/ Peters Road [sic] we will have four red-light cameras. I know the cameras are supposed to deter traffic accidents, BUT why do we (Farragut) have so many traffic-camera lights? I live in Farragut and I feel like it’s a money trap for the town of Farragut to make money.

• Via e-mail: Yes we’re “clamoring for a traffic signal” so we who live in subdivisions off the side streets that feed onto Campbell Station can safely become part of your “free-flowing traffic.” Sorry if that slows you down a little to safely let us enter — you might get home two minutes later! Try thinking about others for a change. What a country indeed!

• Via presstalk@farragutpress.com: As one wrote last week I too have been pondering from my perch, the predicament of interrupting the flow of travel with an added traffic light on the newly widened Campbell Station Road. Seems with the heavy cost of a traffic light more consideration should be given to residents trying to turn in and out of the side roads along the way by not blocking them. There is so much selfishness on the roads now days; not many seem to think to leave a space open for others to pass while they themselves just sit in traffic? I don’t get it, you kind of expect this bad behavior in bigger cities where congestion is beyond help, but not in the little ol’ south. While one reader questions the “moral values” of those opposed to red-light cameras, I really have to question his mental state! Is anyone so naive as to equate revenue generated from these red-light cameras as being the same as revenue generated from sales tax? From their comment you’d somehow think the red-light cameras are the poor mans revenge on the rich! And while I consider my moral values “just fine” (if not exceptional), I don’t care much for the cameras either. I have no problem with them catching someone speeding through a red light but that scenario is not the Town’s cash cow, it’s the right turn on red where the driver is usually traveling at a much lower, and safer speed. But regardless, the cameras are not about safety, they’re about revenue and now Farragut proposes to expand their number even more! I’m sure the speed cameras that are sure to follow at some point will also be installed in the name of “safety.” And speaking of money, just how much is our “Red Light Czar” being paid to review all these “violations?” Rather than using some lame excuse of “well, that varies” just let’s use the numbers that were posted in the Jan. 6 farragutpress as a basis. I’ve heard several residents ask the same question but have never seen it answered? Hopefully the FP can make some calls and prove us with an answer?

Editor’s Note: This information is readily available for any citizen by calling Farragut Town Hall. However, Photo Enforcement manager Ben Harkins is a part-time employee for the town of Farragut with a set pay scale; he does not receive commissions of any kind on the number of traffic citations he issues. Harkins is paid $30 an hour. The Town does receive a varying portion of the fine from each ticket. If there are more than 151 violations at an individual camera (or approach) per month, the Town receives $32 per ticket. If there are between 101 and 150 violations, the Town receives $25 per ticket. If there are less than 100 violations, the Town receives $10.50 per ticket. All of the funds from red-light camera fines, after costs affiliated with the system (including Harkins’ salary), go directly to a community grant fund. The Town awards those community grants on a yearly basis.

• Via presstalk@farragutpress.com: Oh how grateful and proud we citizens of Farragut can now be with the enhancement of our beautiful Campbell Station Road. Even though I traveled the road every day, I was not one of the constant complainers during the construction. My child was at FHS during the entire time the work was underway. Personally I did not find the detours an inconvenience at all. I simply planned for possible delays and worked around the would be traffic as I drove round trip each day (due to bus service discontinuance from our neighborhood). My family uses the Farragut Library on a regular basis and this too proved to be a simple maneuver even while the exit had been temporarily relocated. I did not much like my car getting dirty each time I passed through the driveway but — it was all worth the extra washes to get this very nicely done road. Thank you to all that worked on the project.

 

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