Tallahassee drivers complain about dangerous intersections – Tallahassee Democrat

Tallahassee drivers complain about dangerous intersections  Tallahassee Democrat

Q. Colleen believes moving back a couple of feet the combination stop sign no-right turn and one-way sign on the southeast corner of Terrace Street and Seventh Avenue would provide better visibility of approaching westbound traffic.

Colleen is of the opinion constructing the concrete traffic separator/median at Terrace and Sixth Avenue has created a safety hazard. Colleen continues: drivers southbound on Terrace Street at Seventh Avenue are unable to clearly see approaching eastbound traffic due to a large oak tree on the northwest corner.

Pedestrians:Within an hour, two pedestrians killed in separate incidents in Big Bend area

Convenience store:Double the Wawa in Tallahassee? Here’s where the popular convenience store is headed

Mark Hinson:A traffic guide to the misguided motorists who terrorize Tallahassee | Mark Hinson

A. The intersection of Terrace Street and 6th Avenue has experienced a lion’s share of traffic crashes over the years, serious crashes. Many with critical injuries due to the high rate of speed on Sixth Avenue. The new design you speak of is to slow traffic, however it’s too early to know if the idea is a success or not. We can ask our city traffic safety people to look and see if moving the stop sign at Terrace and Seventh would help open the sight distance looking east.

If you are suggesting the oak tree be cut down for safety reasons, I would suspect you may be new to Tallahassee. I agree anything obscuring sight distance at intersections is a potential hazard. However, trees are considered an endangered species here.

Thanks for writing, Colleen, Tallahassee continues to experience growing pains but with you and our other conscientious readers keeping Street Scene informed of substandard public safety we can right what is wrong.

The wrong way at 5 Points 

Q. Jean, for the last several weeks when turning right onto North Meridian Road from Seventh Avenue at the Thomasville Road 5 Points intersection, has found drivers avoiding the south to west right turn mandate have crossed over the double yellow centerline attempting to head south in the north-bound lane.

To avoid a collision Jean is forced to make a hard right onto Thomasville Road. Because this happened many times, Jean wonders if a barrier between the lanes and wrong way flashing signs might be of help.

A. I must attribute this madness to recent transfers from outside Tallahassee. That is the only possible explanation because anyone living in Tallahassee does not drive so dangerously to intentionally set the stage for a fatal head-on crash. I figure they might be looking straight ahead at a clear path southbound or are ignoring or missing the obvious: crossing the double yellow center-line markings, violation of the mandatory right turn and are on a bone breaking collision course with the concrete traffic-island and westbound traffic slamming into the violators driver door at right angles.

However they are pulling this off, it must be stopped. We ask Chief Revell to dispatch a traffic unit to watch for and catch the offenders. We also ask our traffic engineers to check camera history. We may have this on video with tag number information.

Following the pack

Q. Melanie has witnessed people traveling east on Centerville Road at Capital Circle unknowingly jump the red left-turn lights to head northbound on Capital Circle. Melanie explains: when the light turns green for eastbound straight ahead traffic first is when the left turning traffic advances through the intersection with the eastbound flow. The overhead positioning of the two signals is confusing many motorists.

A. Melanie, I have looked at this and the problem isn’t the position of the traffic signals that is responsible for drivers moving with the eastbound against the left turn red arrows. It happens because drivers are not paying attention and are subconsciously following the pack. Sometimes drivers one or two cars deep will begin to move with the lead red light runners then stop when encountered by westbound traffic. They are not looking at any of the four sets of four, plus-one, traffic signals facing them. They go because someone else did.

Roads getting rough

Q. John wonders if FDOT is too busy building new roads to take care of our existing ones. It’s not only FDOT but the City of Tallahassee and Leon County that are remiss in filling potholes and failing road edges. Needed resurfacing seems out of the question.

A. John the poor condition of many Tallahassee roads and streets is second only to speeding the list of residents’ concerns. Some roads, including state-maintained roads, I fear would fail a sufficiency rating.

Edge of pavement degradation is a known hazard to motorists as I wrote in June when Janice told us she was terrified each time she had any large trucks pass her in the opposite direction on Bannerman Road. The pavement edge of western most Bannerman Road is in such bad shape in some areas the total road width is reduced as much as 23 inches less than the original design. We encourage our people responsible for roadway maintenance to please get a handle on this.

Crump Road signal

Q. Jon-Pierre asks Leon County to look at the traffic light at Crump Road and Mahan Drive which is causing problems for southbound Crump traffic not alerting the light that cars are waiting at the intersection. Northbound Crump Road traffic gets a green light then the signal goes back to green for Mahan Drive. There is no right turn lane, so everyone has to wait behind in a very LONG line of vehicles because we don’t get the green.

A. Jon-Pierre traffic signals in Leon County are maintained by City of Tallahassee traffic engineers and that is good news. Those guys have come a long way in responding to requests for help and delivering positive results. School bus drivers know where to stop at intersections to activate a traffic signal, they don’t want their children late for school, so I am inclined to believe the problem is in the equipment not vehicles out of position at the stop bar. Expect to see improvement posthaste. 

Exploring shared use paths

Q. Dottie asks Street Scene to tell us the difference between a bike lane (like those on Thomasville Road) and a multi-use path that is being considered for Thomasville Road. Does Tallahassee have any multi-use paths?

A. Bike lanes are generally identified as a specific traffic lane for bicycles using painted white lines to separate the cyclists from motorcycles, cars, and trucks. Bike lanes follow the direction of traffic. Some pavement markings designate where bicycles share the road with motorized vehicles.

Shared use paths, aka multi-use paths, are bidirectional travel areas generally separated by some type of physical barrier such as grass utility easements, curb and gutter or the like capable of keeping fast moving vehicles physically separated from pedestrians, bicycles, people walking, jogging, wheelchairs, scooters, runners, etc.

There are sections of shared-use paths in Tallahassee off Mahan Drive and South Magnolia Drive. Some incorporate off-road trails such as Jack McLean shared use path and Barnette Allen shared use trail.

Dottie, I believe you will be happy with the multi-use path designed for Thomasville Road.

Philip Stuart is a retired Florida State Trooper, Traffic Operations Projects Engineer and Forensics Expert Witness. Write to crashsites@embarqmail.com.

Never miss a story:  Subscribe to the Tallahassee Democrat using the link at the top of the page.