The Madison County Journal
October 11, 2000
Traffic in front of
new school still a problem
Several readers have called me about the intersection of Hwy.
106 and Sanford Road. This is the intersection adjacent to the
new Hull-Sanford school.
They, like me, are concerned about safety in that intersection.
This intersection was one of the most dangerous in Madison County
before the new school opened. Now, with the additional traffic
from school buses, teachers and parents, it is even more dangerous.
An extensive redesign of the intersection is desperately needed.
I have good news and bad news for you. Work is under way to correct
two problems with this intersection, but the primary problem
may be years away from a solution.
On Tuesday, Oct. 10, survey crews were in the intersection preparing
for an extension of the school's turn lanes to the intersection,
allowing traffic turning right to flow smothly. With the completion
of this work, a traffic signal will be installed. BOC chairman
Wesley Nash could not give me a completion date. Grading cannot
begin until underground utilities are moved. Completion of this
project will improve, but not assure, safety in the area.
The greatest danger to drivers in this intersection is the hill
crest to the north. Southbound drivers cannot see the intersection
until they are within a few hundred feet of it. If a driver tops
the hill at highway speeds of 55 to 65 mph, it is nearly impossible
to stop. Traffic crossing from the school to Sanford Road cannot
see vehicles coming over the hill.
Slower vehicles, such as school buses, are unable to cross the
intersection before a vehicle topping the hill reaches them.
The Georgia Department of Transportation has announced plans
to redesign the interesction to eliminate the angled approach,
to lower the hill crest and to improve turn lanes. These actions
would eliminate most of the hazards in the Hwy. 106/Sanford Road
intersection. Unfortunately, it may be several years before this
work is completed. We need help NOW!
I urge state and county officials to complete the turn lane and
traffic light as soon as possible. In additon, I urge them to
reduce the speed limit in the intersection and place warning
signs on all approaches. Such signs are especially needed on
the hill crest to the north.
Finally, I would like to see a greater presence by the State
Patrol and sheriff's office in the area during school hours.
Drivers always slow down when they see a police car in the area.
State and county officials are responsible for making this intersection
as safe as possible. But ultimate safety in the area is up to
you and me - drivers who use the intersection. We all need to
be aware of the dangers in this intersection and approach it
with caution. Let's keep reminding those responsible of the need
to improve highway safety. Then make sure we are safe drivers.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal.
His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net. firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Madison County Journal
October 11, 2000
From the Editor's Desk
A civic sermon
A warning: this is a civic sermon.
In years past I groaned whenever people spoke of the importance
Face it, there is a futility in casting a vote that cannot be
It seems impossible for one vote to change anything. I've stood
in line to vote feeling like a raindrop in a hurricane. Take
me away and you've still got the storm.
I've cringed repeatedly during campaign seasons, believing that
elections are ultimately a popularity contest, with so many superficial
judgments skewing the process.
I've doubted the ability of "The People" to choose
the right person. So many scowl at politicians' partisan ways.
Yet many times these same people vote along party lines with
no effort to learn about the candidates. Do these people not
realize they are affirming the "we vs. they" partisan
And yes, I've doubted my own ability to choose. Have I exhausted
my alternatives to learn about these candidates? I admit, I've
failed in that regard at times.
But when I've properly prepared myself, I've still wondered at
times whether knowing a candidate's stance really matters.
While I admire those who step into the fray to seek office, candidates
often seem less than genuine when election time comes.
To garner the most votes, candidates must earn the favor of the
broadest base of people. Consequently, we find that politicians
are often chameleons, changing colors whenever necessary.
Frankly, I've wondered "what's the point?" on occasion.
And certainly, so do many others. Consider that during the last
general election in 1996, 35 percent of registered voters in
Madison County stayed at home. And in smaller elections about
80 percent of the registered voters generally fail to hit the
But negativity toward the process does not establish a new and
better process. And what seems evident in low voter turnout is
that we are a self-loathing culture. We curse those in charge
and feel we are impotent to do anything about it.
That's a poor way to live.
There are better examples for us. And you probably know someone
who will circle this or that in newspapers. They won't miss a
word of debate. They will ask questions and watch with hawk eyes
as candidates try to earn their favor.
And when election day arrives, they will rise early and drive
to a familiar polling place, casting an educated vote. They wouldn't
miss it for the world, feeling it's not just a right, but a duty
If Democracy is an automobile, these are the drivers.
Unfortunately, there aren't enough of them.
Most can agree that Democracy is a terrific invention - a people
that governs itself. But we've grown complacent with this notion.
And that needs to change.
Ultimately, I've come to realize that my active participation
in the process should outweigh my misgivings. It's a show of
respect for my country and myself.
Even if it's like a prayer offered with little faith, voting
is a habit we all need to have.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.