One of the intersections that I travel through regularly is Curtis St. & West Hundred Road (Rt. 10). For anyone that has attempted to make the right turn from Curtis St. onto West Hundred Road. to the east, you know what a drastic change needs to occur. The ability to see fast moving traffic was obscured by bushes and the curve, as vehicles approach that intersection from Chester. My wife and I would state regularly that this needs to be a no right turn on red.
The weekend that this changed, and yes it did change, was the epitome of why. On that Saturday, I made a right turn on red, only to have the vehicle behind me decide to attempt to go straight, with the light red. A major accident occurred as a result of that driver’s action. On that Sunday morning, I made a right turn on red, only to have a fast moving vehicle have to go around me shortly after I made my turn. By that Sunday afternoon, a No Turn on Red sign was up.
Since that sign has gone up, I cannot tell you the number of times that I have watched vehicles make the right turn on red. In fact, I watched two vehicles, just yesterday, make the right on red and then watched two more vehicles run the red light on West Hundred, headed east. In the great scheme of things, this would not be considered a high-traffic intersection, from the Curtis Street side, but it continues to be one of the more dangerous ones.
I know that any traffic change takes a little time to sink in, but this is ridiculous. As we get closer and closer to a “pedestrian-friendly Chester with a bike lane,” I shutter to think what will happen at this intersection. In all honesty, though the pedestrian signals and sidewalk changes look great, I still wonder how safe it will be for people to cross West Hundred, Harrowgate, Chester, Old Centralia and Osborne roads and Curtis Street? Rt. 288 is a good bypass around Chester, though the majority of commercial traffic does not use it. Chester is far busier, traffic wise, than it ever should have been.
What is the answer? Sticking to the intersection that this article is about, the answer is much more patience. If you are on Curtis Street and approach West Hundred Road, know first of all that it is now illegal to make a right turn on red. The next thing to keep in mind is that those who will use the pedestrian crossing need room to do so, therefore, stop and give them enough room. Pay very close attention to the movement of pedestrians. Some pedestrian crossings leave all traffic lanes red, especially when a person crosses a major roadway. Other pedestrian crossings give people the walk signal, when the traffic light, in the direction that they are walking, turns green. This does not take into account vehicles that may be turning to the right or left. Yielding to pedestrians must be at the forefront of all of our thinking.
I will close with this. Thankfully, the paving of Route 10 is just about complete. For some, it has become an invitation to drive faster. More and more people seem to be running red lights and failing to yield the right of way. It is my hope that as lines are painted, that Chester will go back to some sense of normality. It is going to require patience and cooperation, especially on the part of motorists, for Chester to become safe for everyone. On top of it all, schools will open soon, requiring even more patience. Drive defensively like you are not the only one on the road.