Already at least four surprised drivers have hit the new traffic-control island at the intersection of Charlotte Street and Erwin Place. The reasons are simple:
• Charlotte Street today is a very busy two-lane “semi-highway” that divides without warning of any kind into a must-turn left lane and a single lane continuing north.
• A substantial number of northbound drivers, especially at certain times of the year, are headed for the Grove Park Inn and are not familiar with the road, and driving too fast to make a safe last-minute lane change.
• Trucks, buses, delivery vehicles and large SUVs can interfere with the ability to see the new sign—which is only about 6 feet high—until the very last minute.
The following suggestions would cost money, but would make this intersection much safer (and reduce lawsuits against the city, as well as repair to the island):
• Erect a sign over the road, at the traffic light where Hillside dead-ends into Charlotte—a few hundred feet south of the problem intersection—high enough so both lanes can see it. The sign should graphically indicate that the road divides ahead with the left lane turning left (such signs are common on freeways).
• Replace the present sign with one that is taller and has blinking lights; this would be especially helpful at night.
• Put highly visible turn arrows on the left-lane road surface starting somewhere before the mandatory turn.
I live on Cherokee Road and have negotiated this intersection almost every day for years. Today’s increased traffic flow makes such steps imperative. Simply replacing the sign when it gets hit—which is the present response—is not a real solution.
— Jeremy Bacon