An accident waiting to happen

To the Editor:

Many of us are familiar with the phrase “an accident waiting to happen.” Well, this would be my prediction that there may be several accidents in our near future for the city of Piqua.

Currently, there are several changes to the traffic light systems throughout the old part of town. Some are being studied to be changed from a traffic light to a two-way stop. There are others that will be changing to a four-way stop. This might help the flow of traffic or it may lead to more traffic accidents. I feel that both will occur depending on the location. However, the consequences of more collisions could be devastating to those involved as well as more costly to others.

My observation has been that people approaching the new stop-sign intersections may or may not stop at all. Some just glide right through whether there is other vehicles nearby or not. The places that may permanently become a two-way stop which currently have flashing red lights for Ash Street, for example, and flashing yellow lights for traffic on College have just recently begun the testing period. Well, I would say that they have failed.

Many other nearby stops are four-ways and everyone must stop and look before proceeding. Thus, when you approach the two-way flashing red light, you also stop; but beware because those on College can go from High Street to Park Avenue (five blocks straight) without stopping. Even though with the flashing yellow light, the cars should be approaching with caution. They not only do not slow down, they actually speed it up a bit. I guess they are just practicing for the five-block raceway. Never mind that this strip of blacktop goes directly past the old Piqua Central High School building which, of course, currently houses seniors. (not seniors in high school, but adults older than 55). The raceway also is located near a park as well as Piqua Catholic School North Street Campus (grades K-8).

Now, don’t even think about the changes that have already been made to the intersection at High Street and Downing. Guess what is located there? A YMCA daycare facility, the YMCA (for youth and adults, open approximately 18 hours daily), the Youth Center which also houses Senior Citizens from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. M-F. Now, here are a great deal of potential pedestrian casualties if drivers ignore the rules. There has already been at least one accident in broad daylight at that intersection. What can we expect to happen as people acclimate to the new patterns?

I have been a resident in this part of town for over 65 years and it is amazing to me that the leaders of our city profess it to be a “progressive community,” yet determined that we needed to remove more than a half dozen synchronized traffic lights that have been here my whole life. How is this progress? Maybe it is less expensive to maintain the octagon signs rather than the electric ones? But it also may be that the city just likes to spend money on new consultants.

My suggestion would be to begin to enforce the stopping at these intersections by issuing tickets. Possibly the city can get a better view by installing cameras to encourage compliance. Otherwise, Piqua will be known as the place where an accident is waiting to happen.

— Judy L. Miller