Reader: New traffic lights are not needed
I’d like to address the issue of traffic lights at Childers Run and Kesling Mill Road. I’ll start with traffic lights on a four-lane highway. The whole idea of building four-lane highways is to move traffic from one point to another more efficiently. That’s why they have posted speed limits in excess of 55 mph. Traffic lights defeat the highway’s intended purpose.
Installing lights on Route 33 makes about as much sense as installing them on Interstate 79. Here’s my next point. In the exact same article pertaining to the proposed lights was a statement from the U.S. Department of Transportation that estimated an increased traffic flow on Route 33 of 3-1/3 percent when completed.
If this estimate is correct, more lights would only serve as a bottleneck, which in turn would cause more, not less, accidents on this stretch of road. When the light at Crystal Springs went into operation, the very first thing that happened was a fatality when a vehicle was rear ended waiting for the light to change.
I’m sure you’d have a hard time convincing the family of the deceased that this light was a good idea. On the other hand, the way this light functions was not very well thought out either. Instead of stopping traffic in both west bound lanes, the light on the outside lane could stay green by diverting traffic entering the westbound side to the inside lane.
This way, the traffic on the westbound side could continue to flow, preventing accidents by vehicles traveling down the steep hill, especially during the winter months. It could also serve as a run-off lane in the event that a vehicle’s brakes fail. The installation of this light was as poorly thought out as exit 99 on Interstate 79.
Contrary to what you may think, a light at Childers Run and Kesling Mill will not prevent accidents like the one that took the life of Matt Hymes and his passenger. A perfect example is the light at Brushy Fork. Even Police Chief Matt Gregory said some of the worst accidents he’d ever seen were at this light.
The nonsense of installing stop signs and traffic lights is nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction to a problem that will not be averted by installing either. Both the commission and the city council left the meetings with their slip showing, exposing the hypocrisy of their decision to pursue the installation of these lights.
On more than one occasion, there were requests by several members of the community who lost loved ones at these intersections, and their request fell on deaf ears, creating the impression that you have to be a “prominent member” of the community to get action. But then again, it’s been the “Status Quo” in Upshur County for many years.
There are two things that cannot be fixed. Human error and stupidity, and I’ve seen my fair share of both on the highway. As far as I’m concerned, the latter applies to the installation of lights at either of these intersections. It’s just not practical.