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The saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Apparently, this advice to avoid problems in the first place is not always heeded. For instance, until more traffic studies are done to say that prevention methods, like a traffic light, are needed.
With this week’s opening of the 20-pump QuikTrip gas station and Lakeside West shopping center’s bowling alley anchor, we wonder just how long it will take – or what it will take – for a traffic light to be installed near the new businesses on Charlotte Highway. Don’t forget, next door the Kangaroo gas station has 12 gas pumps, surely drawing business from the other side of the lake.
Even now, the current traffic pattern for turning in and out of the area is hazardous, particularly during the evening rush hour when turning left toward North Carolina is nearly impossible. It’s a dangerous situation and will only get worse. According to South Carolina Department of Transportation, more than 30,000 cars travel through Lake Wylie on S.C. 49 every day. It’s apparent to anyone who travels that road during 5 o’clock rush hour, the number is growing.
Traffic coming from North Carolina across the 45 mph bridge need more signals making it clear to drivers that it’s time to slow down. The speed limit entering South Carolina is 35 mph until the first light near River Hills Plantation where it turns back to 45 mph. This small stretch on Charlotte Highway is concerning, especially with the growing businesses and Lake Wylie’s library located there.
We saw how calls from residents of the RiverPointe neighborhood following the opening of The Palisades and increased traffic along N.C. 49 fell on deaf ears until a tragedy of three deaths in a fatal collision finally sparked quick action to install a traffic light.
In 2010, with the opening of Walmart-Lake Wylie, residents quickly pushed for a traffic light on S.C. 274 saying, “This is an extremely dangerous situation.” Following a maze of orange barrels wasn’t a barrel of fun, but the driver-confusing temporary fix finally led to a permanent traffic light. Apparently at that time, SCDOT had given the green light for the traffic light months before the store opened. SCDOT said then, typically, from the first day a contractor sets foot on site to the point when a light is operational, it can be “about a monthlong process.”
Please, we urge developer York Development Group and SCDOT to start the process for installing a light now.