Wrong place, wrong time

Published 7:42 pm Thursday, June 25, 2009

There are certain places to avoid on Friday afternoons. One of those places is Seventh Street North in Clanton.

If you are traveling south heading into town, once you clear the traffic signal near our office, it’s inevitable — you will find yourself creeping along and eventually stuck in a line of traffic.

For this reason, many motorists opt to turn left onto Fifth Avenue and head down Sixth Street. This is a smart move in theory, but too many people succumb to the temptation to get in the turning lane way too early. Many tickets have been issued, but it hasn’t stopped the problem.

But when you are in a hurry, and you look to your left and see a clear lane of asphalt right in front of you, what are you going to do? You will likely justify that the benefit of using that middle lane outweighs the risk of getting a traffic ticket or rear-ending somebody.

When the system doesn’t work, people are going to find their own “solution” whether it’s legal or not. It’s unrealistic to think otherwise.

There are plans underway to relieve the congestion at the intersection of Seventh Street and Fourth Avenue (31 and 22). Right-hand turning lanes will ease the flow of traffic a little.

Until these plans to come to fruition, there are things you can do to make it better. Unless there is absolutely no way to avoid being on Seventh Street when you know it’s going to be congested, consider taking an alternative route or running your errand at a different time of day.

There are times I simply refuse to drive downtown, just as I typically avoid four-way stops and left turns across multiple lanes of traffic. There’s usually another method that works better for me.

None of us are perfect drivers, but a little strategy goes a long way.