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Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

Stop signs obscured by other signs

Posted Wednesday, December 30, 2009, at 2:14 PM

I deliberately delayed this blog out of respect to the families and friends of the two young ladies, one of whom lost her life and the other critically injured, in the recent tragic traffic accident at the intersection of Highway 231 North and State Highway 82 East.

That accident was not caused by what I am going to refer to in this blog.

Years ago I did a five-part series called Traffic Trouble Spots in Shelbyville and Bedford County.

Choosing times when no traffic was close, I drove through those intersections with camera to my eye to capture exactly what a driver would see as he or she drove up to them.

I led the series with what we then called the intersection of Murfreesboro Highway and Bell Buckle Lane. Of course 231 North was a two-lane road and the intersection was out in the middle of nowhere at that time. As I approached the intersection on 82 East, I was was amazed by the fact, also revealed by the picture, the stop sign was completely obscured by other signs.

On the Tuesday before the most recent tragic accident there, my wife and I were driving to Murfreesboro. I was considering mentioning that five-part series in a blog (since most of them are still trouble spots) and glanced at the stop sign and noticed many signs all around the stop sign. The stop sign wasn't obscured, but too much a part of the overall clutter.

I'm not against anyone making a buck, but I most certainly am against anything that endangers precious lives.

In my opinion, the intersection is much more dangerous today that it was back then.

Why does anyone put up a sign at an intersection? They want motorists to see and read them.

Am I completely out of line by suggesting no signs allowed within 30 yards of any intersection to a major highway?

For the recored I went back yesterday and counted the signs clustered around the stop sign. I counted five standing and one that had either been knocked down or had blown down.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

I can not imagine you are out of line for any suggestions for safety Bo. Those who would lobby in favor of sign clutter near intersections should do some serious re-evaluation.

We happen to own a piece of property that has high visibility because it is at the junction of two roads in a tourist/retail area. Politicians, realtors and numerous other folks wanting to get their word out have tried to post signs on that property. We usually say no unless it is a school function or a yard sale that is going on THAT day.

As you have mentioned, it gets out-of-hand and there is no end to the people who would want to post their signs. We probably have a bit of a reputation about our resistance to signs, but the only one who has a "right of way" on our property is the road/highway department. At least one man was ready to "whup my butt" if I did not allow his sign to stay. It was in the heat of the discussion and no whupping took place, but the sign did not stay either.

In our case, anyone not stopping would quickly run out of road, but there are a lot of students and visitors walking the roads so pedestrians could be endangered. Actually, a blocked view could also result in car accidents as well.

The local communities could enforce a law, but the landowner could do much to end this as well. It is a royal pain to keep pulling signs, but eventually, MOST get the idea.

I am afraid what the particular intersection you are referring to needs is a light. I believe one of our County Commissioners pointed that out over a year ago, but I believe it was quickly dismissed.

From personal experience, MANY take chances coming out of HWY 82 because they get frustrated and push their luck. I don't know that a lower speed limit would prevent these issues, but knowing that the light will eventually stop traffic could lower the frustration level and the tendency to push fate.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Dec 30, 2009, at 3:13 PM

I agree about signs . . . there have been many times when I have tried pulling out of a business drive or road and had my road vision limited due to a sign. Any exposure to this problem I feel is justified.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Thu, Dec 31, 2009, at 5:34 PM

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Bo Melson is a retired sports and police beat editor of the Times-Gazette. He passed away November 15, 2014, at age 81.
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