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presstalk 671-TALK

• It’s great to see the start of a new school year. I hope the Farragut High School will do a really good musical this year, like “Seussical,” or “Damn Yankees” or “The Whiz.” Come on, you know we can do it. We’ve got the talent. Bring in some outside help, and we can do an awesome musical. Thanks! Bye!

• I have an idea. Let’s replace the lights on Campbell Station Road with gas lanterns, like Boston had in the 1830s. Farragut could hire some unemployed people to light them at dusk and extinguish them at dawn. Just think: on snowy nights, it will look just like a Charles Dickens-style Christmas card.

• The inmates have finally taken over the asylum. Our legislature has actually made a law that made law against the law. The red-light cameras were the best thing we’ve ever done in Farragut; [it] ought to be done all over, everywhere. Today — just today — I saw two or three cars do a rolling red-light turn right in front of traffic coming the other way. I actually saw a police car do the same thing. I can’t believe that our legislature negated one of the best, best ways to negate some of the accidents that are happening on these [roads]. I live off Grigsby Chapel Road and I see it everyday: people [who] speed, people [who] do not give signals and people [who] go through red lights — even with the cameras, they were going through the red lights, rolling. It stopped some of them and I was very happy to see it, but the inmates have taken over the asylum.

• I’m a little bit confused. The town of Farragut is complaining about having to spend money replacing road signs mandated by the state of Tennessee for safety reasons that they’ve known they were going to have to replace for several years. And yet they’re complaining about having to spend money for these. But they want to spend $500,000 on pretty lights along Campbell Station when we have perfectly functioning lights along Campbell Station Road now. Now, I may be a little mistaken and these lights are supposed to be going someplace else. I’m sorry, but the town of Farragut has got to get a grip on reality. Farragut may be considered an affluent area, but we are not made of money. Most of us are middle- [and] working-class Americans. Most of us are two-income families; not that we can afford to have a beach house, not that we can afford a condo in Gatlinburg, not that we can build a pool in the back yard or drive expensive cars. It’s called making ends meet and taking care of our family. We do the right thing for the right reasons, financially. Farragut, alderpeople, the elected officials, try to grasp this concept and wrap your brain around it before you start throwing money away that doesn’t need to be.

Editor’s Note: The requirement to replace road signs with new, more reflective ones was a federal mandate, included in the George W. Bush-backed $286.4 billion transportation bill signed into law in 2005. Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation eliminated deadlines for street sign replacement; instead saying towns should replace existing signs as they wear out.

• It seems absolutely insane to think of spending half a million dollars to replace perfectly good lighting on Campbell Station Road.

• I’m 70 years old. I’ve lived in the Farragut area for the last 40 years, I guess. I’ve never seen a ticket given for someone doing a rolling right-hand turn [at a red light] and I don’t think I ever will, without the traffic [cameras]. The traffic [cameras] reduce people committing, or breaking the laws. It holds down accidents. I can’t believe our legislature has passed a law making an existing law illegal.

Editor’s Note: The legislature hasn’t made an existing law illegal. The legislature has made it illegal for law enforcement officers to issue tickets for breaking the existing “right turn on red after a full stop” law documented by red-light cameras. The law still exists.

• Kudos to the Tennessee state legislature for doing something about municipalities such as Farragut for charging for right turns on red. We all know it has nothing to do with safety. It basically was a money-grab for the city, and we can’t blame the city because God knows, it needs the money. But the reality is, it has nothing to do with safety. It was couched in those terms and then when you look at the split the city actually gets, the city is getting hosed on the entire deal. Thank God that somebody at the legislature put a stop to it, and thank God [Farragut]doesn’t have the right turn on red camera there at Grigsby Chapel and Kingston Pike. I know there’s a big celebration going up to all of it, because that was just a total money-grab.

• Via Spending half million dollars for replacing the [existing] lighting along Campbell Station Road with “historic” [lighting fixtures] is wrong. This should have been thought about and planned before the existing [lights] were installed. It makes no sense paying more than twice (assuming the “historic” ones cost more) for the same thing. An important and obvious lesson for BOMA and other parties involved is that from now on they should consider the “historic” flavor for every future project where applicable in the planning stage; therefore, no additional spending will be needed later to replace or retrofit something because it does not look “historic.” BOMA should continue to plan and assign high priority to other needed projects around Town that improve traffic safety and flow (including those where it needs to coordinate with TDOT). This is becoming particularly important as COSTCO and Publix stores will open in Farragut in the near future and, consequently, we will see higher vehicular traffic in already very busy areas. Also, stormwater infrastructure improvements and completion of park- and greenway-related projects should be kept high in the priority list. And finally, if there is too much money available to be spent compared to the cost of our Town’s true needs, then it is only logical that the local taxes levied are too high and it should be looked for ways to reduce them.

Editor’s Note: Farragut does not levy taxes.

• Via e-mail: I drive to work everyday around 6 a.m. then back home again around 4 to 5 p.m. From Kingston Pike I either take Old Stage [Road] to McFee [Road], or I take Virtue [Road] to Boyd Station [Road]. Today [Aug. 31] at 6 a.m. coming to the stop sign from Virtue onto Kingston Pike I heard out my window “hey [expletive] slow down.” It was the guy on the little bicycle that had just cut in front of me. Then while I was at the stop sign he said a few more curse words and then told me to slow down again, all the while he never stopped at stop signs and never signaled his direction. Had I been speeding I would have hit him when he cut in front of me to begin with. I was stopped at the stop sign the whole time he was yelling back at me telling me to slow down. If a person is on a bike or walking at anywhere from 2 mph to 15 or so mph then wouldn’t it look like a car at 35 mph is flying? How does he know how fast I was going? Seems he should have paid more attention to following the laws of the road than to yelling at me because while yelling at me he broke at least three laws. Furthermore, he has no way of knowing how fast I was going. He has no radar, he can’t pace me and, as stated before, had I been speeding I would have hit him when he cut me off, right before a stop sign. This occurs to me very often with bikes and cars in that area. The bikes don’t follow any of the rules of the road and then yell at you when you go around them. They yell even if you try to give them the required 3-foot distance as you pass — which that 3-foot buffer is impossible to keep while passing because they ride in the middle of the lane. The cars in the area break just as many laws. Most don’t signal at any time. None of them seem to think stop signs apply to them. They all seem to think there is just a yield sign coming out of each and every subdivision. In making turns on those stretches of road there seems to be no such thing as staying in your own lane. I see all these laws being broken, but then if you try to pass, even in a passing lane where the road is clearly marked, most of them will try to block you. So how do they decide which laws are breakable and bendable? Do they all just pick and choose? I admit I will speed to pass someone but that’s only because I have had so many try to cut me off or speed up so I cannot pass (no matter what speed). Is the average bicyclist or driver the ones that should be upholding the laws? Should they be allowed to break a few laws in doing so? Do they really believe that in cutting someone off or speeding up or wobbling their bike into the middle of the road without looking or signaling is safer and more lawful than me trying to pass, again in a designated passing lane? I believe these people, whether on bike or in car, that take the road laws they see fit and try to enforce them are actually making the roads much more dangerous than anything I’m doing.

• Via I read this column every week without fail and enjoy some of the banter that goes back and forth regarding certain issues. Here are just a few pet peeves: 1) The misuse of handicapped stickers. Using grandma’s placard doesn’t constitute that it is OK for you to use it especially when she isn’t even with you. Also, it clearly states on the bottom line of the placard that it is to be REMOVED while the vehicle is in motion. 2) How hard is it to put a shopping cart in the carriers that are in the parking lots? It really gripes me when I try to pull into a spot only to find that some lazy person has left it right in the parking space where someone could park. This is inconsiderate to say the least. Walk a few steps and put it away please. 3) Today, I was cut in front of by someone making a LEFT turn onto Kingston Pike by the Firestone/McDonalds access road to Kingston Pike. It clearly says NO LEFT TURN!!! This has happened to me and others many times and is very dangerous. 4) Cross walks are just that!! You are supposed to stop to give a right of way to people leaving an establishment a chance to exit and walk to their cars in the parking lot. At least slow down please. 5) Kingston Pike is not a speedway although you would think it was. The speed limit is 45 mph and sometimes I think I am the only one going 45 mph. 6) Those “Calming Islands” on Grigsby Chapel Road are another sore spot. There are accidents just waiting to happen. In any kind of emergency there is nowhere to go to let an emergency vehicle pass.

• Via Why are there no blinking yellow/red traffic lights in Farragut? Especially later at night vehicles are idling at red lights with no traffic in sight. This causes pollution and is hard on vehicles. I am not sure if the Town’s traffic engineer has looked at traffic light adjustments. Examples of these lights are between old Kroger and old Food City shopping center, light at Turkey Creek and Concord Road next to TDS Telecom and new Kroger at new Concord Road.

• Via The state legislators made a great judgment with their decision [to make] right-on red-enforcement illegal. Maybe the money racket scheme is over for Redflex and area towns. What a ridiculous way to penalize taxpayers for not coming to a full motionless stop while turning right on red. This is especially irritating when the white line is too far back and you can’t see past the bridge rails — example is right from Concord Road onto Kingston Pike trying to look left for oncoming cars. Realize one thing that red light cameras cause rear-end collisions and accidents. This is because some drivers slam on brakes when light turns yellow (not wanting a ticket) or travel too fast in fear of light changing.

• Via I read the presstalk readers’ comments in your Thursday, Sept. 1, edition, and I agree that the allocation of $500,000 for historic streetlights to replace newly installed streetlights is a total waste of money. I am flabbergasted that in this economic environment, anyone would have the audacity to propose such an outlandish and unnecessary expenditure. In addition, Farragut may have historic roots as do many towns across the United States, but the “ship has sailed for Admiral Farragut” ... there was never a sound plan for this town. Farragut could have been adorable and quaint if the planners had any foresight ... look at Hilton Head, S.C., or Seaside, Fla., as examples. Why does Farragut have all sorts of different building styles and large billboards and neon signs everywhere? All of those things are unnecessary and undesirable. Why are there so many unsightly vacant buildings? On another money-wasting subject, the farragutpress has announced that the Town’s Redflex contract expires in 2014. So we have traffic cameras that are obsolete and another total waste of money, since the State Legislature now allows “municipalities to ticket from red-light cameras for right turns on red only if right turns on red at that intersection have been banned entirely.” If Farragut wants to distinguish itself as a fine, unique quality community, we should focus on what the Town could be today. I truly appreciate history, but billions of dollars would have to be spent to transform Farragut into an “historic town.” Certainly, Farragut is not a tourist attraction. Farragut can be a fabulous place to live and a shopping/dining destination, however. It would make such a difference if all the empty business venues were occupied and if folks actually did “Shop Farragut.” I propose that we use any excess funds to complete greenway projects and a community center to promote a healthy lifestyle, family togetherness and a strong sense of community. Many studies have shown that communities that do so thrive and attract residents and businesses that perpetuate the same values.


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