We were happy to hear that Elizabethtown Town Councilman Dicky Glenn addressed the problem of vehicles making U-turns on West Broad Street in the downtown business district.
Since we have a front-row seat to the antics that pedestrians and motorists alike will do, we can say that Glenn is correct in saying that it’s a serious problem that needs to be stopped.
From our vantage point over the past 10 years, we have seen teenager drivers, elderly drivers, police officers, sheriff’s deputies, Highway Patrol troopers and elected officials make U-turns on West Broad Street in the downtown area. It’s become quite plain to us that John and Suzie Q. Public have no fear of being ticketed for such an illegal tactic, since those in uniform charged with issuing a ticket and those elected to public office seem to blatantly perform the same illegal U-eee.
It was just recently that we observed what could have been a perfect storm when three patrons of Melvin’s began a trek across West Broad Street at the same time as a vehicle began to back out of a parking spot in front of Fowler’s Jewelers and another vehicle began a U-turn from in front of the Bladen Journal in an effort to gain the parking spot being vacated across the street.
Fortunately, no vehicles collided with pedestrians or another vehicle, but it was close.
Why motorists think it’s acceptable to make a U-turn in the heart of a busy downtown area is perplexing. But why law enforcement officers continually make the illegal U-turns themselves seriously befuddles us. Is getting a prime parking spot for a hamburger at Melvin’s, breakfast at The Corner Cafe or any other reason really important enough to break the law?
It’s bad enough the 20 mph speed limit in the downtown area is ignored by nearly every motorist who passes through, but having to navigate or be prepared for jaywalkers AND those making a U-turn is simply a recipe for potential disaster.
Several years ago, when the town was planning for the downtown rehabilitation project, the idea for a median on West Broad Street in the business district was floated — and roundly criticized by emergency personnel who said it would make getting through downtown challenging at busy times of day. There was merit to that concern, but we also have to wonder if an underlying concern was that it would put an end to their U-turns.
As Glenn and others who agree with him knows — and he can count us among them — this is not a frivolous issue hardly worthy of a second thought by the town council and law enforcement. It needs to be taken seriously and stopped. Now.
We are hopeful we won’t ever need to publish a photo of a tragic accident on our front page after an illegal U-turn right out front.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“My business is that of every other good citizen — to uphold the law.” (Arthur Conan Doyle)