Thursday, March 06, 2008

Beating a dead Hawthorne

I think folks are largely missing the point about Hawthorne Avenue, and unfortunately it's become the poster child for how not to three-lane a road. While I'll gladly admit there can be considerable congestion along that corridor during peak hours of traffic, I think the amount of scrutiny and controversy there is unwarrented.

For starters, the road remains too narrow to function properly as a four-lane road. I remember driving along that stretch prior to it being re-configured, and it was terrifying to come around some of those curves with folks trying speed around you. For every letter someone like Bob Bowen pens saying we need to return to four lanes at Hawthorne, I have to wonder if they remember just how unpleasant of a driving experience that was.

If the road was widened, I would be more than happy to see it revert to four lanes, but I don't see that happening any time soon.

And, quite frankly, the traffic situation along Hawthorne Avenue is tremendously overhyped. It can be tough, make no mistake, but no more congested than Atlanta Highway out by the Georgia Square Mall or Barnett Shoals Road, both of which feature four lanes. An easy remedy would be to work to sync the traffic lights along that particular stretch, as often the traffic backs up because one light down the road is red while an earlier one is green. Getting those lights on a more closely in tune pattern can dramatically and rapidly improve the situation.

I'm not one to turn a blind eye toward our traffic concerns - I've argued before that I feel our current infrastructure is woefully ill-equipped to handle the amount of vehicles we see on our roads - but the existing makeup of Hawthorne Avenue isn't suited to handle those types of cars. Until the appropriate expansion can come, it should remain three lanes.


Blogger Nicki said...

I'd also like to note that if anything the issues raised are often tied to not three-laning all of hawthorne. The 3-to-4 conversion is highly problematic.

10:03 AM  

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