Ever hear of a "diverging diamond"? How about a "continuous flow intersection"?
Like me, unless you're a traffic engineer, the answer probably is no.
But one day you might.
A story last week in the Atlanta paper says the state Department of Transportation, which has been busily trying to shove traffic circles down the throats of Georgia motorists, now is looking to try out other trendy traffic-moving ideas.
Rather than stick these in rural areas, like the roundabout they plan to build at the Pumpkin Center intersection in western Columbia County, the DOT hopes to build these intersection designs in the Atlanta area.
They describe the "diverging diamond" and "continuous flow intersection" as being "counterintuitive" to motorists - which is a $3 word for telling the rest of us that when you hit one of these things in Atlanta, you'll be even more confused and stressed than entering I-285 during rush hour.
I suppose I'd find it easier to believe the DOT has our best interests in mind if I didn't see them planning to waste so much money on that pointless roundabout at a minor intersection, and on having blown so much money on the monstrous reconfiguration of I-20 and Bobby Jones Expressway.
Seriously: How many of you now avoid that area, altogether, because of those changes? I didn't have any trouble with the old I-20/Bobby Jones, and sure didn't see the need to pump nearly $200 million ($191 million to be exact, but it's just tax dollars, so who's counting?) into "fixing" it.
Speaking of the DOT, there was yet another round of grumbling about the lack of a traffic signal on Washington Road at Blanchard Road after a recent fatal crash near there.
That talk fizzled, however, when everyone figured out the intersection had nothing to do with the crash. The driver listed as being at fault, Daniel Edwin Morales, of Evans, apparently crossed the center line on Washington Road and hit another car head-on.
Phyllis Autry, of Grovetown, was a passenger in the other car and died at the scene. Her husband, Paul Autry, was driving and was seriously injured, as was Morales.
(No, investigators don't yet know why he was on the wrong side of the road, and no, Morales is not an illegal alien. Seriously: "Daniel Edwin" isn't exactly a Hispanic name.)
The DOT has made it clear that not only are they not going to put a traffic signal at Blanchard Road, but that they aren't in a hurry to do any work to fix the highway.
That's why Columbia County commissioners have already set aside (with voter approval) $55 million in county sales tax money for major improvements to Washington Road from Chimney Hill in Evans all the way out toward William Few Parkway.
And guess what? Those improvements don't include putting a traffic light at Blanchard Road, either.
If they really wanted to fix that section, they'd extend nearby Halali Farm Road (which now has a light) across Washington Road, through the empty woods and fields and back to Blanchard Road.
I'm sure it would cost a lot less than another fatality.
Lights, snow. Really.
Like me, there were a lot of puzzled and disappointed people last year at Columbia County's tree-lighting ceremony.
We'd built up a lot of hype about having snow from a pair of machines, and then were underwhelmed with the results. As chairman of the event, for me it was downright embarrassing (though I understand that, once they warmed up, the machines produced almost as promised).
This year the county's Community Events staff is adding another, larger snow machine, so the results should be much more impressive.
It all takes place starting at 5 p.m. Saturday at the county amphitheater in Evans, with the ceremony starting at 5:30 and the tree-lighting at 6:30.
I'm hoping for snow.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow at twitter.com/barrypaschal.)
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