On this Roadscapes Wednesday, I am having to do something quick, because of the major snow event in Alabama. How about I share some videos of a warm place, I am sure everyone is thinking about warm weather right now! In southern Europe, there is a great stretch of autoroute / autostrada along the Mediterranean Sea. This stretch of A 8 in France and A 10 in Italy is a very scenic stretch! Something I would like to experience in my lifetime! Below are some time-lapse road videos from this area, enjoy!
Gadsden has a wonderful interstate spur called I-759. It runs from I-59 to the Coosa River and just dead ends. The result? George Wallace Blvd. or AL-291 is filled with a lot of backed up traffic. And Meighan Blvd. in Gadsden which carries US 431 and US 278 experiences major traffic backups, especially around the Wal-Mart area. I profiled I-759 in a Roadscapes video I did a while back, and you wonder why it has not been extended yet?
Now, the city of Gadsden and their city council is putting pressure on government leaders to do something about extending I-759! The city council along with Rep. Craig Ford is wanting to set up a meeting with Governor Bentley, Rep. Robert Aderholt, the Gadsden city council, and other area government leaders to get the ball rolling on extending I-759. The reason the extension has not happened yet, the area the road would be extended has been deemed as historic by the Federal Highway Administration. The project would see over 20 homes demolished to make way for the road that were built in the 1920’s. I mean come on, traffic is getting worse and nothing can be done because an area is historic?
In January 2014, the Alabama Department of Transportation officials recommended a no-build option for the project because a route could not be approved and because of the $100 million dollar price tag. I think it’s about time for our government leaders to quit doing nothing and start doing something! The I-759 extension is needed now! People are getting tired of sitting in long traffic jams on Meighan Blvd. or cutting through neighborhoods to avoid the traffic problems. If Gadsden is going to grow and get bigger, this road needs to be built and should have been built years ago!
This week on Roadscapes Wednesday, I am featuring two brand new road drawings! The first road drawing is a new year’s special. Imagine you are on a highway and are faced with two decisions. One way takes you onto a bridge towards heaven, the other way takes you into a tunnel towards hell. Which way would you take? That is my new year’s resolution road drawing!
The second road drawing is a tight interchange! I mean, with development close to the highway on both sides leading up to a major airport, I had to get creative making this freeway interchange, I did a good job!
And now here is another road video! This is 10 minutes of the Coleman Road and Greenbrier Road traffic light! As you can see, this was taken during rush hour and while it was getting dark. Enjoy!
Last November, I profiled what ALDOT did to the traffic lights along Quintard Ave. in Anniston. What happened, to re-construct the ramps on the sidewalks, workers had to cut into the traffic light loops, at every intersection! The result, the traffic lights will turn on Quintard, even if no one is waiting to cross the road. Because all of the traffic lights are screwed up, you see massive traffic jams like this during the daytime.
And you see intersections being blocked, like this one right in front of the fire department, how smart!
But, what happens to the traffic lights overnight? Between 10 pm to around 6 am, the traffic light synchronization is off along Quintard Ave. And that means it’s every light for itself. Normally, you would have a green light unless someone pulled up to trigger the light to cross Quintard. But, since all of the traffic light loops have been cut, every light turns red, after a very short green light time on Quintard. And the red lights along Quintard are longer!
Also, the left turn signal loops have also been cut at most intersections. That means you get to sit there through the left turn side road green light, the side road green light, and the left turn green light off of Quintard. And when you finally get a green light, you most likely just get stopped at the next red light.
You are not supposed to see every traffic light on Quintard Avenue red at the same time, and for a very long time as well! People are running the red lights, or taking the street next to them because they don’t want to sit there for no reason. I mean, come on ALDOT, you should of left the traffic light synchronization on 24/7 until you repaved the road and re-installed all of those traffic light loops. But you were lazy, and left the traffic lights like this for four months now!
I guess this is what happens when the State of Alabama is this broke? And yes, I did record some video of this as well, enjoy!
Last week, this made the news across Alabama. A man from Alabama named Madison Turner was pulled over and given a ticket for eating while driving. The ticket came from the Cobb County police, and the ticket was a violation of the Cobb County distracted driving law. Madison ordered a Double Quarter Pounder with cheese from a McDonald’s in Marietta. And a police officer followed the driver while eating the burger for two miles! Let’s get this off my chest, eating a big burger like that while driving down the road is probably not a good idea to begin with.
The police officer finally pulled over Madison Turner and said “You can’t just go down the road eating a hamburger.” So the police officer wrote a citation under Georgia’s distracted driving law, and in the remarks section of the ticket, he wrote eating while driving. Before you say this is government going to far. Here is what the distracted driving law in Georgia states.
A driver shall exercise due care in operating a motor vehicle on the highways of this state and shall not engage in any actions which shall distract such driver from the safe operation of such vehicle.
Yes, we don’t know thew entire story here. Did the police officer notice driving errors like swerving and bad driving? Or did the police officer just wrote up a ticket because eating is evil while driving? I mean, most of us including me does eat something while driving. It could be a bag of chips, or a candy bar, or beef jerky, or something else. Eating small food items does not mean you are taking your eyes off the road. Because your hand is reaching down to grab a handful of chips. But trying to eat a big cheeseburger while driving down the road. Chances are you might be using both hands, and might not be looking down the road like you are supposed too!
So, chances are this ticket will probably be thrown out in court. And other attorneys have never seen anything like this, and the only time eating while driving becomes a factor is when an accident occurs. So, I have to believe the judge will throw out this ticket, and this will be a lesson to anyone driving down the road. People, including myself, are getting tired of other drivers doing stupid things behind the wheel. It’s not just eating, it’s using their cell phone, texting, reading, drinking, being in an argument, and other stupid things. My favorite is when someone is using their cell phone at a red light, and sits there when the light is green, and the light turns back to red, and it causes other drivers to wait through another light cycle. Yep, distracted driving is bad!
And here is something else to think about, did you know that eating and/or drinking while driving is more distracting than people using cell phones? Studies show that using a cell phone while you’re driving makes you 20-times more likely to crash, and that’s scary enough. But when researchers examined 34-million risky driving incidents, they found that distractions from eating and drinking are much more common than distractions from cell phones. The biggest problems: oopsies like spilled drinks, and dropped burgers — where drivers try to grab napkins and clean up the mess — all while hurdling down the highway at high speeds. At least, that is what John Tesh says!
I know some of you are going to say things like “the police have gone too far” or “this is big government for you.” But let me say this for the many car drivers out there. You should not be doing anything that is distracted while driving! From using a cell phone to eating a large cheeseburger, other drivers don’t like it, I don’t like it, and the police don’t like it either! This is not big government or the police going to far, it’s stopping stupid drivers from harming themselves or others on the road. Let’s sum up this post with a simple public service message. If you need to do anything while driving, just find a spot and pull off the road, us drivers thank you for it!