Madison County Opinion...

 October 11, 2000


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
October 11, 2000

Frankly Speaking

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. frankg@mcga.net.


Send us a letter

Column
By Ben Munro
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 of voting.
Face it, there is a futility in casting a vote that cannot be ignored.
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 way?
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 polls.
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 to vote.
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.


 mainstreetnews.com
MainStreet Newspapers, Inc.
PO Box 908, 33 Lee Street, Jefferson, Georgia 30549
Telephone: (706) 367-5233 Fax: (706) 367-8056
NEWS / ADVERTISING / PRINTING

® Copyright 2000 MainStreet Newspapers, Inc. All rights reserved.
Copyright / Terms / Privacy

Home / Job Market / Real Estate / Automotive / Classifieds
News from Jackson / News from Madison / News from Banks / Sports
Jackson Community / Banks Community / Madison Community

Archives / Advertising / Printing / History / Links / Search Site
Send a Letter / Subscribe / Place a Classified Ad / Online Rates