Letters to the Editor 02/24/11
Springfield’s intersection of Lawrence Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard is considered a dangerous place.
Known as the “high accident intersection,” everyone in town seems to know it well. My husband and I have worked our business here within earshot of it for nearly four years now. And just when we think the traffic accidents are on the decline, here comes another one.
In fact, the occasional crash during rush hour is pretty commonplace here. And our usual response to the sound that’s much like a quaking simulation of a gunshot popping outside our building is something like, “Uh oh! Not another one!”
But, oh yes, it’s always another one, seeming more frequent during the full moon, holidays, and Fridays when people seem especially anxious to get somewhere.
From our parking lot we’ve soothed more than one injured victim until help arrived, including one young boy who was mercilessly dragged under a car along with his crumpled bicycle before the driver of the car discovered her error. And we’ve offered bottled water and comfort to those whose vehicles were so badly damaged that they needed to sit somewhere quiet, calm down, and call their significant others for a ride home.
There have been a few who’ve been very badly hurt. Bad enough to make us ask the question: What can be done to avoid all this?
We suppose the city could maybe program the lights to delay turning green, perhaps five seconds or so, until the yellow light racers finish barreling through.
Many drivers seem to have forgotten that a yellow traffic light means “caution,” or “be careful.” Not “speed up and go quickly before traffic observes its green light privileges from the other direction.” So many accidents here happen during the dreaded left turn as people rush through before the light turns.
Also, people fudge and roll out into the middle of the intersection so drivers are forced to allow them to go even after the light turns red. That’s a good way to seal their fate. These streets are too narrow, visibility is sketchy, and the traffic moves too fast to take what might be considered normal risks.
We’re probably all guilty of all these common infractions everywhere else in town, but they seem to be more detrimental at this intersection. That’s why the city has wisely installed signs with flashing yellow lights to warn us of what’s coming. But the burden of safety rests mostly on the drivers.
Still, in spite of the warnings and the lights and the knowledge Springfield residents have of this infamous intersection, the crashes keep happening.
But on a more positive note, when my husband and I attempt to tell people how to find our business, we just tell them we’re located at the high accident intersection. From that simple description they nearly always know exactly where to find us.
Let’s recap. Republican Party officials requested that of four who sought their support, whoever did not receive it would drop out. They chose Mike Coffey. Mike Houston and Mike McCarty did not drop out.
Based on the instant funding advantage Coffey collected with formal Republican backing, he was able to mount an impressively comprehensive campaign presence across radio and television, including a prominent Super Bowl spot. He also staked his name on yard signs all across town. For his considerable advantages he placed an unimpressive third. One might suppose he got one vote per sign and was unable to ignite interest beyond the party faithful.
Based on Houston’s impressively strong first place finish so far ahead of Sheila Stocks-Smith’s distant second, maybe the time has come for Republican officials to drop their misguided endorsement and get behind a candidate that voters obviously prefer. Voters might appreciate and reward party support for a popular candidate, as opposed to party officials dictating support for whatever reason they decide amongst themselves.