Consider ICW-Merrimount stoplight
December 8, 2009 · 11:16 AM
I would like you to consider placing a stoplight at the intersection of Merrimount and Island Crest Way and leave the four-lane configuration. Despite any limited success you might have with the new configuration, the accident data you present is not adequate to provide a reasonable margin of error or level of confidence. Moreover, the slowing traffic you have created is a clear indication of motorists responding to a dangerous situation by slowing down. Why else would they slow down — certainly not because the intersection is safer!
Several roads were cited that successfully implemented the road diet. These successful implementations may or may not work on Island Crest Way; no one can really prove that they will provide an improvement in safety — people just have opinions. However, there are literally millions of stoplights installed around the country with well-documented success. A stoplight will most certainly increase the safety well beyond what a road diet could. Through experience and logic, the improved safety of a stoplight is unassailable. In addition to slowing and stopping the traffic at the Merrimount intersection, it will provide additional gaps for entering traffic and crossing pedestrians at other locations on ICW.
Another concern with the road diet plan is simply the nature of moving from more to less. Even though the road diet is advertised as a decrease from four lanes to three, which is a 25 percent decrease, each direction will be reduced from two lanes to one, or a 50 percent reduction in available useful road. The reduction to one lane has not yet increased delays; delays will most certainly become a problem more rapidly and severely with an incremental increase in traffic with one lane than with two lanes.
I believe the road diet is a real step backward in safety, convenience and economy. Our city would be much better served with a long-term view toward improving the safety and convenience of our roadways. Money spent wisely today, even if it is significantly more money, will save us money in the future.
Kevin J. Scheid