Speak out on kids’ safety

Published 8:59 pm Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Some local citizens were disappointed when it was announced earlier this year that a full red-green-yellow traffic light would not be installed on U.S. 84 East in front of the new Bainbridge High School.

The reasoning the Georgia Department of Transportation gave for the decision to put a yellow caution light, but require vehicles to fully stop in front of the high school, was because of the high amount of daily traffic on the highway.

According to the DOT’s 2008 Annual Average Daily Traffic Report, it’s estimated vehicles travel along U.S. 84 between Whigham Dairy Road and Blackjack Road an average of more than 8,000 times a day. That’s about half that of the busy U.S. 27/84 bypass, which has an average of about 15 to 20 thousand vehicles per day.

Given the enrollment of more than 1,600 students, plus the dozens of faculty and staff, the new BHS will become an instant traffic magnet around 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.; five days out of the week, nine months out of the year, it will resemble a giant ant mound buzzing with activity.

Thomas County High School, which also has about 1,600 students, is located near the intersection of two U.S. highways and has a fully-functional traffic light. Who’s to say the new BHS won’t require similar traffic control once commercial development begins? We understand that state and local governments are in a budget crisis. But as the old saying goes, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

School officials are now trying to get the state legislators who represent Decatur County to get better traffic control put in at the new BHS.

People may contact State Senator John Bulloch by calling (229) 683-3420, writing to 3554 Bulloch Road, Ochlocknee, GA 31773, or e-mailing john.bulloch@senate.ga.gov

People may contact State Representative Gene Maddox by calling (229) 377-1812, writing to 2228 Georgia Highway 93 South, Cairo, GA 39828, or e-mailing gene.maddox@house.ga.gov