By golly, the Georgia Department of Transportation and Columbia County might finally have this traffic thing figured out.
See, the DOT, famous for ignoring the pleas of residents begging for traffic signals - Chimney Hill, Blanchard Road, Lewiston at I-20 - is planning to put two new sets of traffic lights on either side of the Home Depot project on Washington Road at Belair.
Never mind that these lights will be about 12 feet from existing traffic signals, barely leaving enough space to move your car from one to the other before they turn red. Gotta help those hardware addicts get in and out of their new store!
Meanwhile, Columbia County is on a humping spree. Oh, not that; go wash your dirty mind out with soap. Since taking control of the process for determining where speed humps are placed, the county has been popping out humps like a rabbit on fertility drugs.
But beware. Soon, like Rosie O'Donnell catching a glimpse of a lonely all-you-can-eat buffet, the county and the DOT will find a mutual attraction and figure out how to combine their newfound hobby: preventing cars from moving.
The county will speed-hump Washington Road and Belair Road from one end to t'other, while the DOT strings traffic signals like Christmas lights in a trailer park.
Pretty soon, you might as well go ahead and shop. After all, your car will already be parked in the street. It'll still be there when you get back with your 2-by-4s.
Meanwhile, the one place the county has done nothing about speeders is right across the street from the Home Depot: The parking lot of the new Lowe's.
About 15 seconds after Lowe's opened, perceptive motorists - always on the lookout for a shortcut that doesn't include traffic lights or speed humps - figured out they could cut through Lowe's parking lot to get from Old Evans Road to Industrial Park Drive, and vice-versa.
It has now created a storefront speedway. If you shop at Lowe's during rush hour, be prepared to take your life in your own buggy as you dash across the road that runs in front of the store. It's only a matter of time before a pedestrian is popped, upending a cart full of pansies or petunias and sending a would-be gardener to the grave.
Meanwhile, Evans Ace Hardware, whose entrance can't be used as a shortcut to anything but the glorious little store itself, has speed bumps in its parking lot. But I think they got them from the county at a discount.
Awards all around
We on The News-Times staff these days are patting ourselves on the back for being recognized as this year's recipient of the award from the Greater Augusta Arts Council for media support of the arts.
I picked up the award at a nifty little soiree Tuesday night at the Partridge Inn, where I spoke to a couple of old Augusta Democrats: Former House Speaker Pro Tem Jack Connell, and Democratic Party Chairman Lowell Greenbaum.
Dr. Greenbaum, suffering from a touch of laryngitis - news of which was said to cheer Republicans across the county - joked that he was "staying quiet" on the runoff for the 10th District race, since none of the Democrats made it to the runoff.
Speaking of awards, many congratulations to Publisher Jason Smith at our sister paper in Thomson, The McDuffie Mirror. They were named last week as the Small Business of the Year by the McDuffie County Chamber of Commerce.
Jason is former news editor of The News-Times, where we taught him almost everything he knows.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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