Residents pleaded with the Indian Trail Improvement District Board of Supervisors this week to take action to prevent future accidents on dangerous roadways in The Acreage. A wide variety of reasons make The Acreage a dangerous place to drive, and it’s long past time for officials to mitigate the problems with pro-active solutions.
A slew of recent accidents — some of them fatal — have shined a spotlight on a longstanding, but complicated, issue: more measures must be taken to prevent accidents in the area.
The issue came to a head two weeks ago when an SUV collided with a dump truck at the intersection of Hall and Northlake boulevards, causing one fatality and leaving a mother and her child critically injured. Another incident on 130th Avenue North saw a young girl struck by a vehicle.
Some have blamed a lack of clear signage and/or traffic lights, while others have pointed to driver error. All of these factors have contributed to the issue, as is the fact that the road system in The Acreage was not built for the traffic it now holds, and improvements are chronically underfunded, both locally, at the county level and at the state level.
The problem is not an easy one to fix, but residents must come together and urge their elected officials to do what they can. It’s a dangerous situation that everyone must have a hand in preventing.
Traffic-calming measures, such as rumble strips and speed humps, would certainly remind drivers to slow down and alert them to major intersections. And although they are hard to get installed, traffic lights at busier intersections would serve as a reminder to slow down or stop and check for oncoming traffic.
This brings us to the other longstanding problem that has contributed to the issue — the lack of a comprehensive regional road plan to move people through the community efficiently.
Travel through The Acreage is largely done through a network of local roads, hardly designed to handle the level of traffic the area has seen in recent years. Although reliever roads might be in the plans for the future, they have been stalled for years. As a result, there is no regional road network that would attract drivers to more convenient, major routes, which are more likely to have proper signage and lighting.
The lack of traffic-calming measures, signalization and a road plan have made for a deadly combination. It’s time for ITID and the county to come together and take a comprehensive look at roads in The Acreage — especially Northlake and Hall boulevards — and see what can be done to make these heavily used intersections safer. Until then, it’s up to residents to put the pressure on their elected officials, and also urge their neighbors to sit up, pay attention and drive safely.