July 7, 2010 10:59:00 AM
COLUMBUS -- In an effort to improve traffic flow, the Columbus City Council Tuesday voted to install signs stipulating trucks use the right lane of Highway 45 North, between Highway 82 and Bluecutt Road.
The signs, which will be placed below speed limit signs, will "help with possible safety issues regarding truck traffic," noted engineer John Cunningham, who attended the meeting in the absence of City Engineer Kevin Stafford.
Columbus Mayor Robert Smith noted he earlier received "complaints from citizens regarding rush-hour traffic" who asked the city "require trucks to stay in the right lane, unless they''re getting ready to turn."
In other matters, the council:
Hogan explained the LED sign will have Amber Alert capabilities and flash alerts if a child is missing in Lowndes County, offer "up to 5,000 exposures a month" for the city to "recognize individuals" for outstanding achievements or accomplishments, and flash time, temperature and weather information.
Additionally, Premier Outdoor Advertising will give the city 1 percent of revenue generated from the sign and pay for up to $1,000 of landscaping for the area around the sign.
Vice Mayor and Ward 6 Councilman Bill Gavin explained he was against the proposal last year, but has since changed his mind.
"We were trying to clean up Highway 45," he said, of his earlier opposition. "But to do some things, like the Amber alert, could benefit the city. And I think (the sign will be) far enough away from the mainstream Highway 45 (traffic) to distract drivers in traffic, so I''m in favor of it."
In June, the council passed a 60-day moratorium on LED signs to allow the city''s ordinance be revised with new language governing the quality of LED signs, but the council granted special permission to Premier Outdoor Advertising, which has two existing LED signs in the city.
County Administrator Ralph Billingsley explained the mapping will be done by the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District for a cost of $18,000 to be split between the city and county.
The city and county each will pay $4,500 on Jan. 1 and $4,500 on Oct. 1, 2011, splitting the cost between two fiscal budget years.
The supervisors earlier approved a request to do the same.
kj commented at 7/7/2010 12:28:00 PM:
Cleaning up HWY 45 is not in any way aided by allowing more LED billboards to be placed on areas of HWY 45 currently free from the distraction and annoyance of LED billboards.
What the council is saying, in effect, is that there are rules unless they're circumvented by the direct application of dollars.
If there was real concern about HWY 45 traffic and signage, there wouldn't be a toothless sign ordinance and traffic lights that impede the flow of traffic 24/7. There wouldn't be a useless light at the Carl Hogan complex. Seriously, have you seen that light in operation? About half the time, someone pulls up to make a right turn, makes the turn, and then the light changes, bring traffic on 45 to a stop for absolutely no reason. Moronic. And, of course, it doesn't flash after 10pm; it operates continuously.
Now there's a light ready to be put in at the top of the hill at the intersection with 373. Which, no doubt, will function continuously. If what we have now is any indication of the "care" with which we manage our infrastructure, then we can expect the new light on 373 in front of the middle school will operate uselessly for at least 12 hours of every day.
And on top of that, we're going to allow anyone with a couple of dollar bills to add more light and pollution to the corridor. Lack of advertising isn't a problem on HWY 45. Lack of reasonable traffic management is.
sharp nasal kent commented at 7/7/2010 3:43:00 PM:
A few more LED billboards and it's gonna be like Blade Runner all up in here.
jls commented at 7/7/2010 7:38:00 PM:
I applaud the actions of the city council in putting restrictions on truck traffic on Hwy 45. But, I also agree with kj's comments regarding traffic lights. Whomever is in charge of lights throughout the city needs to do a comprehensive assessment of light sequencing as well as determine which lights can be set to flash after 10pm. In addition to the lights that kj mentioned, all the lights on E. Main need to be looked at, as well as the light at the intersection of Lehmberg and Warpath. That particular light is on a timer and periodically shuts off the flow of traffic on busy Lehmberg even when there is no traffic waiting on relatively non-busy Warpath.
roscoe p. coltrain commented at 7/8/2010 7:27:00 AM:
I think you'll come to regret the restricting of trucks in the right lane. This highway is right turn oriented, meaning most people are making right turns to go into business. This also means there will be people who, without warning or signal, will be suddenly turning into business. The trucks behind them might not have enough time to react.
And you can forget those "right on red" turns you like so much as the lane will now be clogged with trucks who can't get on that road due to restrictions.
But you go ahead and blame all your shortcomings on trucks even though all the Federal studies show 4 wheelers (cars/trucks) are the main cause of most truck/automobile problems.
We're use to it.
doj commented at 7/8/2010 8:51:00 AM:
Interesting note: I hope someone will up date their maps. According to Google Earth, Map Quest and several GPSs, I live in a lake on two nonexistant named roads about a half-mile from where I actually live. kj and roscoe, I agree with ya'll. Our council is throwing rocks at a charging bear in hopes of deterring his charge.
firstname.lastname@example.org commented at 7/8/2010 3:42:00 PM:
As for the "trucks in the right lane only"...I wonder if that includes all commercial vehicles with more than 4 wheels(like school buses)
spikeivey commented at 7/8/2010 8:34:00 PM:
Oh boy, do I ever agree with KJ on the Carl Hogan light! I have come out of the CH lot twice recently turning to the right. I tried both times to stay out of the "zone" where my car's presence would make the light change, because I don't see the sense of making 4 lanes of traffic stop just so I can make a quick right turn! It didn't work, and both times the lights changed for Hwy 45 traffic AFTER I'd already made my right-hand turn!
And it is very annoying to be coming through town during rush hour and have two dump trucks driving side-by-side all the way through town. We all know that you can catch that pattern where you have to stop at nearly every red light up through town, and when you have to wait for two trucks to catch a gear (and usually fling rocks or mud all over you) just in time to have to stop at the next light, well, it's just plain frustrating at 7:45 am.
I don't know the solution, but there are a lot of traffic problems in Columbus, and I only see it getting worse as time goes on.
stormy commented at 7/8/2010 8:49:00 PM:
KJ you hit the nail on the head with that STUPID light at CH!! The only bigger dumb idea is the, waiting to be installed, light on top of 45 hill. Do you have any idea what a pain in the bum it will be for those 18 wheelers and dump trucks fully loaded to try to start up again after being stopped by a light on the hill? As for lights working most anywhere in Columbus after 10pm, it is stupid. The traffic on 45 and 82 should have the right of way and side roads have a flashing red. There is not enough traffic at night for these lights to function.
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