It was sad to read about the recent installation of Wal-Mart’s new traffic light on Thompson Bridge Road. One could infer from our mayor’s comments that he held strong objections to the installation of Wal-Mart’s light. Our city’s traffic issues hold precedence with the Department of Transportation over private businesses regarding placement of traffic lights.
The DOT considers all objections or roadway concerns within Gainesville’s city limits. Were strong objections documented with the DOT? Did the city request a review with its traffic engineer “before” placement of the light?
It is only several hundred feet from the traffic light at Enota Drive and Thompson Bridge Road. The lovely light swaying across Thompson Bridge Road is directly at Wal-Mart’s entry. The signal offers no safety connection for cars or pedestrians from any side entry street onto Thompson Bridge Road or for families living in the large apartment complex behind Wal-Mart, nor accommodation for safety of the school buses to the complex.
Wal-Mart had much to gain by funding the study. The game of baseball is a good life example of this. In baseball, rules call for umpire officials at every game. They are designated to make the calls. Why? Because there’s a need for impartiality. Left up to the managers, you can just guess which way the calls would sway.
Mayor Danny Dunagan said, “It is a waste of time and money.” Was he referring to the poor placement of this light or recognizing it will cause more time waiting in traffic? Was he referring to the city having the financial burden for maintaining Wal-Mart’s light?
All who travel past Wal-Mart know there’s no traffic congestion to have warranted this light, none at all. Wal-Mart’s policy appears to make it a requirement prior to cementing its plans with a city; unless the new location is next to an existing traffic light, it is necessary to erect one at the access. Wal-mart funds these studies.
Were city officials misinformed about this requirement when they allowed the rezoning with the developer? Won’t Wal-Mart’s follow-up study after a year be a forgone conclusion? It paid for the installation.
I ask for an independent study before Wal-Mart’s light becomes operational. Thompson Bridge Road should be viewed as one whole transportation corridor. Any consideration as to where to best place a traffic light should be for the consideration and safety for all traversing this corridor. It should not be placed for the sole privilege and benefit of any one business.