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What will it hurt to slow down on Lone Tree Road?Posted Friday, February 19, 2010, at 2:47 PM
What is it about a common sense solution to a dangerous traffic problem that draws up the ire and comments from the general public?
Discussion and action by the Greene County Commissioners at Tuesday morning's meeting about authorizing a traffic count on Lone Tree Road -- east of Linton between State Road 54 and State Road 48, did just that.
Greene County Highway Superintendent Mike Hennette told the commissioners that he had recently been contacted by several residents who live along the road to consider lowering the speed limit.
They have witnesses the blatant disregard for the speed limit for a long time and they want it lowered for safety reasons.
This action is not as one reader suggested a local government conspiracy to lower the speed limits on all county roads.
It's a safety precaution before someone is seriously injured or killed again driving on the road. There have been accidents on the road in the past and likely will be again in the future, but a lower speed limit helps the chances of reducing that number.
County police officers work a lot of wrecks every year -- more than 900 all totaled, according to the latest crash study done by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute in 2008. Wrecks in rural areas accounted for 687 of the crashes. There were 103 wrecks inside Linton, another 77 in Bloomfield and 26 in Jasonville.
The study identified the intersection of State Road 45 and State Road 54 as the most dangerous with eight wrecks, followed by State Road 54 and U.S. 231 in Bloomfield, State Road 445 and State Road 54, County Road 545 and State Road 59, State Road 445 and State Road 45, and State Road 57 and State Road 67.
It is a fact that there are no posted speed limits on Lone Tree Road -- meaning the speed limit is 55, unless posted otherwise.
I guess some motorists think it means unlimited speed -- similar to the famed Autobahn in Germany, where anything goes.
One of our readers commented on the story that I wrote about the meeting and noted, "Come out here at 5-7 a.m. and drive 55 and you're the slow one. Its the Linton bypass."
Some people wrote that a better solution would be to beef up law enforcement patrols along the roadway and start ticketing the speed violators in increasing numbers.
That might slow down the vehicles some, but the reality is, the county sheriff's department doesn't have enough manpower to blanket that road. That's just a fact, money is tight in the budget and sadly there aren't enough bucks to add more officers.
I guess it's true as one reader wrote, "Signs are cheaper than policemen."
Under long established policy, the first step to changing a speed limit on a county road is to do a traffic count.
It's pretty simple.
The commissioners do the traffic count and then determine a safe lower speed, if the count warrants it.
If you have driven Lone Tree Road, common sense will tell you that 55 is probably too fast on most days.
The road is straight and narrow, but bumpy and it tends to flood in the spring and drift with snow in the winter.
So what is the big deal about dropping the speed limit?
One reader wrote that the roadway has long been one that motorists liked to violate.
They wrote: "Grandpa always said that road was all yours unless you could see someone coming. Does anybody remember driving on the opposite side of the road as they crossed the culvert type bridges by the Kramer farm? Everybody went to the smoother side of the culvert. Hope you never met a six- row corn planter back in the '70s."
Another reader may have summed it up best by commenting, "I have always been told if you can drive in Greene County, you can drive anywhere! I believe it. But all kidding aside, Lone Tree Road is a very dangerous road and always has been."
Let's give our county officials the support they deserve and not criticize them when they try to do something like reducing a speed limit that will probably reduce injuries and could save a life.
If we can't all slow down a little bit, we are probably in too big of a hurry.
Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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