Maybe I'm just not smart enough to be a traffic engineer.
That's one possible explanation for the confusion over a comment by Mike Keene, a traffic engineer with Georgia's Department of Transportation.
See, Keene was asked by News-Times News Editor Donnie Fetter about all those new traffic signals surrounding The Home Depot in Evans. Keene says those traffic signals make traffic move faster.
All this time it seemed to me that those lights - the older one at the re-routed Old Evans Road at Washington Road, along with new lights at Evans-to-Locks Road and at the main Home Depot entrance on North Belair - were making the morning and afternoon jams even more gridlocked.
Silly me. Traffic engineers says those bumper-to-bumper cars actually are getting through the intersections quicker. It sure doesn't seem plausible, but if that's true, then we should put up more lights on the snarled stretch until we get rid of all the traffic.
One thing we probably could agree on is that more traffic signals mean more people running red lights. And if county commissioners see what's happening in cities around Atlanta, they might get the bright idea to make money off them.
How? With red light cameras. They focus on the intersection and catch people blowing through red lights. The camera snaps a photo of the license plate of the offending car, and the vehicle's owner gets a ticket in the mail.
Atlanta columnist Jim Wooten points out that cameras trained on one intersection in Roswell last year created $1 million in revenue for the city. Two other intersections brought in $1.2 million. And a Marietta intersection's cameras generated $1.7 million.
According to Columbia County traffic engineer Glen Bollinger, nearly 80,000 motorists drive along this congested section of Washington Road and Belair Road every day. That's a lot of potential revenue, eh? I wouldn't be surprised if county commissioners didn't soon figure out a way to hitch a ride on that gravy train.
Then, if they put up red-light cameras, I bet that really will slow down traffic.
I goofed the other day in my comments about the governor considering whom he will appoint for our area's vacant superior court judgeship. In that column I said that if District Attorney Danny Craig got the nod, the resulting DA vacancy would be filled by the local judges.
Wrong. That, too, is a gubernatorial appointment. However, if the governor were to choose Columbia County Magistrate Wade Padgett for the judgeship, Padgett's post would be filled by the superior court judges.
Something I'm pretty sure I got right, however, was my advice to the school system regarding a name for the county's new high school.
Superintendent Charles Nagle asked me to provide some historical information on possible names for the new school. In researching those names I discovered that there had been a Grovetown High School until the mid-20th century.
The name seemed like a natural fit. Four members of the school board agreed, while the fifth, Mike Sleeper, abstained because he said he didn't have the list of possible names until the meeting started.
The board is supposed to give final approval to the name Tuesday. I hope the vote is unanimous.
The Grovetown area's growing population created much of the need for the new high school. The new high school deserves the kind of community support and historical heft that the name will give them.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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