Four-way stopis not right way

To the editor:

I’d like to comment on the decision for a four-way stop on U.S. 501.

Placing a four-way stop “in an attempt to prevent accidents at the county’s most perilous intersection (U.S. 501 and Old Wire Road) seems to be a pretty idealistic expectation for the problem at this intersection.

Imagine putting a four-way stop at the intersection of U.S. 401 and Airbase Road (near Wagram and Springhill Middle School).

From what I remember, something had to be done at this intersection because of accidents – no deaths – and heavy traffic during pre and post school hours. If this was the concern, how was the decision reached to install a traffic light at this intersection rather than a four-way stop?

Both U.S. 501 and U.S. 401 are major roads that run from the northern part of the county and become one highway as you continue south. A four-way stop is not the right decision for the intersection of U.S. 501 and Old Wire Road.

The article reports an average of 5,500 vehicles traveling on U.S. 501 will cross through this intersection every 24 hours. That means, there will be over 5,000 stops by drivers on U.S. 501 alone in 24 hours: cars, trucks, school buses, EMS vehicles and 18-wheelers that must stop and hope the driver at the other three stops is aware of the rules of a four-way stop. Believe it or not, the four-way stop can be a complexity even for experienced drivers. Some drivers will approach the four-way stop only to be cut off when it’s clearly their turn. Some drivers will wait for others to move when it is clearly their turn.

There could be dozens of cars at a standstill at any time because all traffic must stop on this thoroughway. Stop signs delay drivers. Drivers become impatient. Impatient drivers cause crashes. The article states “ a four-way stop may be implemented, but would likely replace T-bone crashes with rear-end collisions, which are less likely to cause serious injury.” Really? Lord have mercy.

A traffic light at this intersection would make it simpler for county residents and visitors who use this route to travel to Charlotte. Even traffic traveling on the “5th point” of this intersection would stand a better chance of entering and exiting. If warning lights, stop signs, and “mini ridges” installed on Old Wire Road have not been effective in decreasing accidents, reinventing that same wheel will not do it, either. As nothing was mentioned in the article about installing a traffic light at this intersection, I have these questions.

Cathy Gilchrist


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