A Few Bad Intersections of My Own
It's been 10 days since we ran Tom Embrey's front-page story headlined "Danger Spots," about the worst intersections in Moore County.
I meant to get this in the paper earlier, but I have my own personal roster of least-favorite traffic spots. Oddly enough, none of mine were included in the list that various law-enforcement agencies helped Tom assemble.
So here goes, in no particular order:
1. U.S. 1 and Old U.S. 1, Southern Pines.
Or is it Aberdeen? Anyway, you know where I mean. You're heading south on Old U.S. 1 (Broad Street extension). The road winds around under the overpass and then merges with traffic barreling in from the four-lane.
Visibility is lousy. And half the time, either the faster cars in the right lane want to get into the left lane and turn at the Kangaroo station or wherever, or the slower ones on the left want to cross over so they can turn right on Murray Hill or Pinehurst. The result of all this chaotic weaving can make you feel a little like a NASCAR driver.
2. Bennett Street at Old U.S. 1, Southern Pines.
This is not far from the one discussed above, and it's not horrendous. It's just that southbound Bennett enters Old 1 at such an acute angle that you risk throwing your neck out of joint while craning around in an effort to see if anyone is about to T-bone you from the left.
3. N.C. 22 and U.S. 15-501, Carthage.
This is like No. 2, only bigger and with more serious potential consequences. As you come to the edge of Carthage after driving up from Southern Pines on 22, you have to merge with cars that have driven up from Pinehurst on 15-501. Again, the angle plays heck with visibility to the port side. But now the approaching cars are going at a more lethal speed.
4. The exit from Pinecrest Plaza shopping center on Morganton Road, Southern Pines.
This is crazy. You have one traffic light a stone's throw to the east at Knoll Road, and another one a stone's throw to the west at U.S. 15-501, but none right here where you need it. As a result, a driver leaving the shopping center and trying to turn left amid heavy traffic feels like he's taking his life in his hands.
I know some people who don't even risk it, choosing instead to turn right and go all the way down to Turnberry Wood so they can turn around and head back east in peace. Somebody needs to give serious thought to reconfiguring that whole entrance. The one on 15-501 is not a whole lot better.
5. All Broad Street intersections in downtown Southern Pines.
This is a complicated one, and I don't know what the answer is. But you have to wonder if there's not a better and maybe safer way.
Lots of railroad towns must face variations on this theme. In our case, there are six Yankee-named cross streets that present the problem I'm talking about, from Vermont in the north to Massachusetts in the south. Multiply them by two (one each for East Broad and West Broad), and you've got a dozen problem corners.
So what's the problem? Just this: Drivers heading north or south on Broad - especially drivers from out of town - often seem bamboozled by all those "Yield to Left" signs. Whatever the reason, they run those signs with such regularity that if you live here, you soon learn to keep a close eye on the other guy and assume he's going to go sailing through and broadside you unless you take evasive action.
I realize you can't have signs impeding traffic trying to get off the railroad track. But it just seems odd and confusing to have so many corners where different drivers are expected to do three different things, depending on their direction of travel: stop, yield to the left, or pass on through.
Again, I don't know what the answer is. Maybe replace the yields with stops.
But what about you, Dear Reader? Honk if you agree with these. But surely we've left some of the intersections you love to hate off both our lists. Let me hear from you.
Steve Bouser is editor of The Pilot. Contact him at (910) 693-2470 or by email at email@example.com.
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