Published Sunday, October 21, 2012
By JOHN A. WINTERS
Dear Faithful Readers:
I am at a loss. So much so we just might need to do a poll or something to figure out what went wrong.
There has got to be an explanation. So help me out here and I’ll provide the options.
1). I wasn’t clear. Okay, that one would hurt. So let me try again. You can turn on a traffic signal with a red circle after coming to a complete stop and the coast is clear. You cannot turn on a traffic signal with a red arrow, never, ever — even if there are no vehicles coming. THE ONLY EXCEPTION is if there’s another sign that says you can.
Clear as mud?
And yes, I’m particularly talking about those red arrows on the traffic signals at Jefferson and Clark streets in downtown Newnan.
2). You thought I was kidding. I wish I was.
3). You missed the earlier story because you were, I don’t know, let’s say giving birth. Okay, almost good enough, but we do have a mobile edition.
4). You didn’t believe me. Seriously? I would never lie to you. I might accidentally misspell your name and feel horrible about it, but I would never lie to you.
5). “That’s not what the law says.” Um, yep.
Here you go: “Traffic, except pedestrians, facing a steady RED ARROW signal indication may not enter the intersection to make the movement indicated by such arrow and, unless entering the intersection to make such other movement as is permitted by other indications shown at the same time, shall stop at a clearly marked stop line or, if there is no stop line, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if there is no crosswalk, before entering the intersection, and shall remain standing until an indication to make the movement indicated by such arrow is shown.”
6). “It’s a goofy, nay, dumb law.” I agree with you 100 percent.
7). “But everyone else turns on those red arrows.” This is true. But let me ask you this: if your child tries to use the “but everyone is doing it” defense, your reaction will be ...?
8). You say “print is so old-school. I get all my news from social media.”
You can follow The Newnan Times-Herald on Twitter; you can like our page on Facebook; we have a digital edition; we have a mobile version. We’ve got your social media covered.
9). You say “I don’t read The Newnan Times-Herald in any form.”
Arrrrgh, grrrrr, uuuggghhh, must stop Hulk now, arrrrgh, grrrr, uuuggghhh, too late, run.
10) “I don’t read your stories.” Okay, my editor made me add that one. Anyway, we can all stop laughing now. I mean anyone not reading my stories? Come on.
11). “I know you’re right. I believe everything your write. I think it’s a dumb law but I’m a law-abiding citizen and will not go on a red arrow. BUT, what about the guy behind me who is not as enlightened as I am and for some bizarre reason didn’t read this story and is just going to honk and honk and honk at me to turn on a red arrow against my moral code and your excellent article?”
I can only say to err is human. We all make mistakes. But we can all show a little grace. Just turn the radio up. Oh, and roll up your windows and lock the doors.
So there you have it. Eleven options. And yes, I hate Top 10 lists so that’s why there are 11.
The Newnan Police Department is trying to help out. Earlier this week they put up a sign reminding drivers “no turn on red arrow.” It sorta worked.
They’d put the sign on the left turn from Jefferson northbound onto Clark and most people would pay attention to the sign. But those coming into town on Jefferson and turning right onto Clark would keep on going. So they moved it on the other side and the exact opposite happened. People -- if they saw the sign -- would stop on Jefferson while waiting to turn right onto Clark. But those on Jefferson turning left onto Clark would turn on the red arrow.
Did I already use the expression “clear as mud”?
Newnan Police Chief Buster Meadows said the sign was put up for “educational purposes.”
“We are just trying to let people know they aren’t supposed to turn on red arrows,” he said. The sign was removed Friday.
“We are trying to get DOT (Department of Transportation) to change it,” he said, pointing out those traffic signals used to have red circles, which made turns okay after coming to a stop.
“Traffic really backs up and it just doesn’t make good sense,” the chief said. “Drivers could sit there for two or three minutes with no oncoming traffic.”
When asked if DOT planned to switch out the red arrows, DOT regional spokeswoman Kimberly Larson’s short answer Friday was “no.”
It’s a rather complicated issue, and involves the fact that you could have two lanes of traffic trying to merge into a single lane on Clark based on where the driver was headed. Or something like that.
“Under Georgia Law and under provisions of Section 40-6 of the Uniform Rules of the Road of the Georgia Code, when you have conflicting movement trying to use a single lane, no turn on red signs are used to remove a single or multiple conflict points,” she said. “Similarly, the use of red arrows in signal indications means the same as a no turn on red sign.
“Both sign and signal indication are enforceable,” Larson added.
Like I said, the answer is no.
But there is a ray of hope. DOT engineers did come out last week to check out the intersections. What they discovered was the detection signal at Clark and Jackson was defective and staying green. That, in turn, was causing the Clark and Jefferson intersections to stay red for too long.
“We had to adjust timing as the detection card failed and we should be able to acquire a card to replace the defective card, Monday or Tuesday of this next week,” Larson said.
So, hopefully this whole traffic signal red arrow, red circle, thing is now clearer than mud.