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Four lanes on College Road makes for safer driving

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To the editor: A recent letter advocated re-striping College Road to three lanes with a center continuous left turn lane.

The road was down to three lanes most of this summer as contractors arbitrarily closed lanes. However, reconfiguring College Road into three lanes will cause more accidents.

The study a few years ago found the crash rate for the west half of College Road was below the statewide average; yet there were dozens of crashes at the intersections with dedicated left-turn lanes.

The study also said that national data suggests conversion to three lanes would reduce crashes by 29 percent. Let’s talk about the actual conditions of College Road, not average U.S. road conditions.

With only one lane each direction, every vehicle behind a driver turning right must slow down. There are many bus stops along the road without pull-outs, so drivers must stop each time the bus does. It’s a busy corridor. When traffic stacks up behind a turning driver or a bus, rear-end collisions increase.

Heavy rains or melting snow create numerous deep puddles extending several feet from the curb. Currently, folks can use the other lane to avoid them. Without another lane, everybody will kick water onto the sidewalk (and people using the sidewalk) and the vehicles behind them. Or they will hit the brakes when they slam into deep water, thus increasing chances for rear-end collisions.

In heavy traffic, impatient knuckleheads will swing into the center lane to pass — legal or not. An on-coming driver is likely to be heading for that lane at the same time. If the knucklehead is a few vehicles behind the obstruction, he cannot quickly swing back into the right lane. Chances for collisions increase.

In winter months, everybody will have to creep along behind the slowest driver, so some people will be tailgating — leading to more rear-end collisions. Or drivers will use the center lane to pass, leading to head-on collisions. Remember how snow piles up deep in the less-traveled lane, so road conditions will be worse for drivers using the left-turn lane.

Four lanes is the safest configuration.

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