Intersection needs safer way to cross the street

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 9, 2008

The issue: Too many near-misses and accidents lately at the intersection of Water Avenue and Broad Street.

Our position: At some point, the city should ask for a warning light on the east side of the bridge or strips to slow down vehicles.

For a while now, we&8217;ve watched vehicles top the hill on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, coming from the east at rates of speed too fast to stop quickly should the light change at the intersection of Water Avenue and Broad Street.

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Parents have pulled back children out of the crosswalk just in time, and cars have screamed to a sudden stop just in time to avoid an accident.

Sometimes, the accident has occurred anyway. A car topping the hill recently couldn&8217;t stop in time to avoid another vehicle stopped for the signal at the intersection.

In another incident, a light changed and both vehicles collided at the intersection. An SUV flipped, and the Ford automobile burned up as a result of the accident. Fortunately, nobody suffered serious injuries, and nobody was killed.

But accidents are a numbers game, and the percentages grow higher as traffic on the bridge increases.

How long before someone is killed?

Selma officials have good relationships both on the state and federal level. Broad Street is part of the U.S. 80 corridor. The bridge and highway are key elements of state and federal historical preservation efforts.

It would seem that city officials could approach state and federal officials about helping with safety at the intersection of Water Avenue and Broad Street.

LED-enhanced signs on either side of the bridge could warn motorists that a signal is just over the hill.

Some signs do not flash the warning yellow until the signal prepares to change, and the motorist is warned to be prepared to stop when the light is flashing.

Speed humps have been proven to be an effective approach to slowing down traffic.

A speed hump is designed so most vehicles can go over them at 20 mph without causing the driver discomfort.

They cause a gentle vehicle rocking motion, and if placed every 200 to 800 feet off the top of the bridge, could have the advantage of being self-enforcing.

This is different from a speed bump, which is abrupt, having a height of 3 to 4 inches over about 1-2 feet. Speed bumps cause most vehicles to slow down to almost a stop to go over it. This would be annoying to drivers as they come across the bridge.

Safety is important. This is just one area where a little cooperation and initiative would indicate to Selma residents and the city&8217;s visitors that their government really cared about their well-being.