When Common Sense Beats Out Numbers

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It’s often said numerical data can be twisted and manipulated to present favorable arguments for just about any sort of issue.

That may be true, but common sense trumps everything, including figures that may lead to a contrary conclusion.

The situation involving the controversial intersection of Routes 12 and 113 south of Snow Hill is an example of just that. This intersection has been the scene of dozens of accidents in recent years, including some fatalities. Ever since Route 113 was redesigned, there have been problems at this intersection, and recent attempts at heightening safety there have been largely unsuccessful.

A study last summer of vehicular volume at the intersection shows throughout most of the day and night there is no need for a new traffic light at the intersection.                                                                                                                                                                               

While the amount of motorists using the road needs to be a consideration when it comes to weighing a traffic signal at the intersection, public safety cannot always be measured in terms of volume. In this particular case, it’s the types of vehicles that are commonly using the road as well as how they are impacted by the design of the intersection that needs to be included in any sort of decision-making process.

With large and oddly shaped farm vehicles, long school buses and tractor trailers of varying lengths commonly utilizing both Route 12 and Route 113, volume cannot be the sole factor in making the call for a traffic light.

The good news is it seems state transportation officials understand that now and have been swayed to at least reconsider an early statement that no traffic light would be forthcoming. Instead, officials recommended a confusing J-turn that has worried residents from the moment it was suggested.

Although nothing has been made official, this reconsideration has to serve as good news for the Snow Hill community, as it represents a significant shift in the mindset of the decision makers. We think it shows an openness to a light that has not been seen previously and will probably lead to a traffic signal at that intersection at some point.

While that is good news from a safety perspective, traffic lights bring a whole new set of problems, and there is a chance local residents will regret having the light eventually be cause with it come some longer waits and inevitable headaches over timing.

Nonetheless, a traffic light is the best way to ensure safety and clearly the current situation needs a major fix.

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