Caution! How Dangerous is This North Adams Intersection?
Due to a rash of accidents at a North Adams intersection, members of the North Adams City Counsel are hoping to work with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to help find a solution.
The intersection in question is the one where Hodges Cross Road meets Curran Highway. If you're unfamiliar, that's the intersection in North Adams that has Wal-Mart, Cumberland Farms, and Pedrins in the area.
As someone that travels on Curran Highway and goes through that intersection multiple times a day, I've seen my share of emergency vehicles, fender benders, and more serious accidents.
In theory, this intersection shouldn't be that dangerous. The lights are working fine, the lanes are clearly marked, and there appears to be plenty of room for both trucks and cars. Yes, the intersection is on a slight hill, which can make visibility a potential issue...but that's what the traffic lights are for. So what gives?
Two things give, in my opinion...carelessness and SPEED.
SPEED is capitalized on purpose, because drivers fly down Curran Highway. The posted speed limit is 50 mph for the areas approaching the intersection. I generally drive in the right hand lane, going 50-55 mph. Rarely a day goes by that someone doesn't blow past me in the left hand land. If I'm going 55mph in a 50mph zone, no one should be flying past me. Many times, I see those cars or trucks pull into Wal-Mart of Cumberland Farms, so I know there's no emergency they're racing to. I mean...what's the rush to that extent?!
Going from Adams to North Adams, I also commonly see people weave in and out of traffic, either to get to Wal-Mart (using the lane that's before the lights to pull into the store the back way), or weaving into Cumberland Farms. It's people being careless, or outright bad drivers.
Personally speaking, I think the only solution that will work is having some sort of law enforcement presence out there. It's not a perfect solution, but I think it'll help. Having a police presence at or near that intersection will get people to slow down, be more careful, and cut down on the rate of accidents. I don't think any other solution will have an affect as great as that.
Look, we're all human, and sadly accidents happen. But we can certainly be more aware of how we drive, especially around problem intersections like this one on Curran Highway, and do our best to make the odds a little better and safer for everyone. It's better to go a few miles slower and get to your destination a few seconds later, than have to fill out an accident form or not get there at all.
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