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Letter to the editor: Intersection is dangerous

To the editor,

Three accidents in three days in the same location. Something needs to be done to avoid more crashes, any potential injuries and even a potential casualty.

Every day when we send our teenagers to drive to school, work, or to meet up with friends, we rely on the hope that we have taught them well, they make good decisions and we also say a quick prayer that they make it to their destination safely. This is especially true since we live in the TroyHill neighborhood and our main access road is Everest Path to 195th Street.

We are sure anyone who lives in Farmington has travelled on 195th Street between Pilot Knob Road and Flagstaff Avenue. We would also guess many, or most, residents in the surrounding neighborhoods have learned to avoid the area between 7:45 and 8:15 a.m. and 3 and 3:45 p.m. during the week because of the traffic problems.

Just last week, there were three accidents in three days on 195th between Meadowview Elementary and Everest Path. On Tuesday the accident occurred in the after school rush, Wednesday's happened during the morning rush, and Thursday there was an accident in the early evening. Two of the accidents were heard from our homes in TroyHill, and we came upon the third shortly after it happened.

Over the last few years, we have personally witnessed and been part of numerous near misses at 195th and Everest Path. At this intersection, we have two friends who have been hit on 195th while waiting to turn left, and one of our teenagers was rear ended while on Everest trying to turn onto 195th. For just these three, it was not their fault, and two of the accidents were without injury, but after conversations with neighbors and friends, we have heard similar stories making it evident that there is a major problem with this stretch of road. We wonder how this problem can be resolved. Something needs to be done. We hope it doesn't take a fatality.

We see several problems with the area on 195th Street between Pilot Knob and Flagstaff. The main ones are the high speed limit, the problem of people passing illegally and drivers just being inattentive.

This stretch of road is 50 miles per hour. Located here is an elementary school where a lower speed limit seems logical. There are also four side street entrances into residential areas that do not have turn lanes. To add to the problem, there is a hill on 195th that creates a hazard, as cars making their way over the hill at 50 mph are unable to see if cars are slowing down and/or yielding and in some cases stopped to make turns into the neighborhoods.

Another major problem is people who pass on 195th. People apparently do not realize that there is not a bypass lane in either direction; if a car is yielding to turn left into any of the neighborhoods, it is unlawful and dangerous to pass on the right side of that yielding car. One scenario we have observed numerous times is when people who are travelling eastbound on 195th and yield to turn left on Everest Path into the TroyHill neighborhood, and another car travelling behind them passes on their right and goes off the road onto a small gravel shoulder, even going partly onto Everest Path to complete their pass. A similar thing happens to those travelling westbound on 195th and yielding to turn left on Everest Path into the Charleswood neighborhood, people are using the right turn lane to pass the yielding driver. Making that illegal maneuver at speeds up to 50 mph, drivers can't be fully aware of all of the other possible legal maneuvers that may take place at the intersection, in which their move could consequently cause an accident, injury, or our biggest fear, a casualty.

As previously mentioned, the big problem times are from 7:45 to 8:15 a.m. and 3 to 3:45 p.m. The high speed limit and passing on the right are always a problem; but it is also important to note that at these times, the road is filled with drivers with three or fewer years of driving experience. All drivers, both new and experienced, really need to pay close attention while they are driving. Everyone needs to work to protect the safety of everyone on the road.

In addition to auto accidents, there is also the fear of pedestrians being injured. There are a lot of kids, as well as other residents, who cross 195th from TroyHill to the walking/bike path on the south side of 195th. Again, unless some changes are made, it is only a matter of time before there is a tragedy.

While changes are being made to correct these problems, it would also be beneficial for 195th to be remarked at Pilot Knob. Are there or are there not right turn lanes? The shoulder is wide enough to contain a right turn lane, and some people use them as such; while those who see it as a shoulder stay in the lane and make their turn when they get to the intersection, often causing problems when there is someone who is using the shoulder to make their turn.

Something needs to be done to prevent more accidents and the potential for injury or death. We are looking for support as we begin to look into how to get the speed reduced, the roads re-marked and signs warning people not to pass on the right.

Let's not wait for that major accident, injury or death for changes to be made. Let's be proactive and prevent it from happening. We all want our loved ones and yours to make it home safe.

Jackie Seal and

Laura Strumberger,