Our Town's Most Dangerous Intersection?
My nominee is the intersection at the east side Wal-Mart. The biggest design threat to safety at the intersection is the blind spot for folks headed towards Athens on Lexington Road who want to turn left onto Whit Davis Road. The cars on the opposite side of the intersection waiting to turn into the Wal-Mart totally block the view of the next lane over, so a car could be barreling down that lane outbound from Athens and be utterly invisible to someone trying to turn left onto Whit Davis Road. It's urgent, I think, for the traffic engineers to make it clear that a left turn is permitted only with an arrow there. Another design problem is the lane on the far right on Lexington Road for motorists turning right onto Lexington from Whit Davis. What is that lane? It has some of the characteristics of an acceleration lane, but it's not exactly marked as an acceleration lane, and cars trying to use it have to make a sharp turn that puts them perilously close to the regular outside lane of Lexington. A third problem -- which might or might not be addressable as an engineering matter -- is the tendency of motorists to try to beat the light. I know the photo enforcement technology is expensive. I've kept up with some of the discussion about the photo enforcement light at Lexington and Gaines School. But if any intersection in Athens could use some photo enforcement, it's the east side Wal-Mart intersection. You know what. The Wal-Mart folks should step up to the plate and chip in for some improvements to the intersection.