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Wednesday 17 October 2012
Here in Newnan, GA, there has long been an intersection at the edge of downtown where two one-way streets meet head-on. (This is at the edge of cemetery, because the Newnan city planners, although corrupt and inefficient, are not stupid.) Not too long ago, the state of Georgia, responsible for all U.S. highways in its territory, stepped in to renovate the intersection. This renovation including replacing the aging traffic signals with a new pole and removing all the signage telling motorists which lanes would end up on which roads. As you might imagine, this has turned into something of a fiasco.
The biggest problem is that the former red traffic lights have been turned into red traffic arrows. In the state of Georgia, it is legal to turn onto a one-way street once you have come to a full stop if the signal is a solid red light. However, the same action is illegal if the light is a red arrow. Other intersections with red arrows tend to have signs expressly noting that turns on red arrows are illegal, but as I said, in its infinite wisdom, the state has taken away all but the street name signs. It doesn't help that the locals have been turning on red lights here for decades.
The local police didn't realize there had been a change, so the local paper ran a story telling us all it was okay to turn on the red arrow. Someone from the state didn't like that and told the local police that they had changed the lights and that turns on the arrows were illegal. The police petitioned the state to restore the red lights and in the meantime were not ticketing people who turned at the intersection after a full stop as they always had done before. It seems that the state has finally had enough of that, too.
There is now a sign at the intersection, but it's just a temporary flashing sign warning us not to turn on red arrows. I'm sure so far as the GA Department of Transportation is concerned, the problem is now solved. At least now while waiting for the light to turn, I some something to read.
I also have plenty of time to think about how I used to be able to turn here. Sometimes the Good Old Days really were better.