I have read several letters to the editor about traffic issues in Charleston. Many have commented on completing I-526 and synchronizing traffic signals. Some have addressed the politics of and who is responsible for projects being completed or not being completed. They have pointed fingers and raised the NIMBY factor.
But what about the role big business has had in contributing to the infrastructure or whether it is even required to contribute? More businesses are coming, and with Charleston winning accolades as a great place to live, more cars are coming. The one thing I have not heard anything about is the responsibility the end users of the roads have.
The people who move and visit here bring with them a variety of driving habits and attitudes, even if traffic laws are similar. They can have an impact on traffic.
Some drivers seem to have a sense of entitlement as regards alternating merges, driving too slow or too fast, failing to obey traffic signs (“Keep Moving, Change Lanes Later” and “No U-Turn”). They turn onto multi-lane streets without regard to which lane they are supposed to use, and do not use turn signals.
It will be many years before road projects, some of them planned for many years, are complete. Good public transportation, which seems to be an afterthought, will also take years to provide.
The public needs to be educated on proper driving. Just as DUI enforcement is advertised, so could proper driving techniques be. An example could be telling drivers who turn left onto a multilane-road to stay in the left lane. Another could alert drivers to the hazards of making U-turns.
Every day I travel to work I see drivers making illegal u-turns on Savannah Highway (near Main Road) right in front of a large “No U-Turn” sign. Why not have monthly campaigns on specific driving techniques using billboards and local television? A proactive education campaign would not be a panacea for all of Charleston’s traffic woes, but it would be interesting to see if it helps. It may even save lives.
James T. Ghi
Bonieta Harrold Road