Letter: Highway Challenges

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602 S. Gay Street
2nd Floor
Knoxville, TN 37902

Having inadvertently been alluded to in a recent letter [“Stick To the Plan,” Dec. 20, 2012], I felt the need to respond. I am the self-proclaimed “mathematically challenged” speaker at the recent TDOT meeting on the James White Parkway (JWP) extension and preceded the “not mathematically challenged” UT math professor in regard to TDOT’s questionable math projections.

Apparently the writer was inattentive during the earlier portion of my remarks—and those of a few others. Regardless of whether this extension is built and regardless of what changes are made to Chapman Highway, safety will continue to be an issue as long as drivers continue to be irresponsible.

The primary problem in one word: “speed.” To quote a dated drug campaign: “Speed kills.” It can and does on Chapman Highway—coupled with distracted and/or impaired driving—where there’s a posted city speed limit of 45 and a county limit of 50 mph. Yet, daily drivers exceed these posted limits, driving 60-70 mph-speeds that Chapman Highway was not designed for.

TDOT’s traffic counts indicate excessive wreck totals from Fronda Drive through to the Henley Bridge. The reason: This is the area with slower traffic flow where these inveterate speeders start tail-gating and lane-jockeying, as if on a race speedway. Recently, an acquaintance suggested that the law-abiding drivers need stickers stating, “Chapman Highway Pace Car”!

But before someone states that the JWP extension would solve this, I will counter it will not. Current daily interstate driving, where the posted 55 city and 65 county mph limits are ignored, bear this out as do the wrecks of greater severity. And there will still be irresponsible drivers on Chapman Highway!

While I’m at it, let’s just put all the cards on the table. Many of these most vocal proponents of the JWP extension need to be more forthcoming—since they bought property on or adjacent to the proposed route(s) over the intervening years, expecting to make a sizable profit... that may now be threatened. But not as threatened as those who drive Chapman Highway and other roads with irresponsible and law-breaking drivers.

Terry Lee Caruthers

Knoxville

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Comments » 1

davidallanhoward writes:

Terry Lee Caruthers:

I wrote that “recent letter” and you are incorrect. You were not “alluded to”. I quoted the U.T. math professor. Feel free to re-read my letter.

Oh, and my home is ON Moody Avenue (a matter of public record) so I could, if that were my desire, profit MOST from NOT finishing the Parkway. Your assertion that the “most vocal proponents” expected to make a sizeable profit is false.

I agree that irresponsible drivers are part of the problem along the Chapman Highway corridor but you have merely identified part of the problem. You wholly ignore the FACT that Chapman Highway is already at or exceeding design capacity.

I believe completion of the Parkway is only one part of the solution. Once the Parkway is completed Chapman Highway can be put on the same “road diet” planned for Cumberland Avenue!

Imagine that! Bike lanes from Downtown to John Sevier Highway sharing the road with 1/3 of the current traffic volume, lower speed limits and turn lanes the entire length.

Where is YOUR solution to fix Chapman Highway?

David Howard

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