Multiple speakers made reference to the flashing yellow beacons the town installed after Mason Stewart of River Run was seriously injured three years ago at the intersection of Robert Walker Drive and Davidson-Concord Road. Two of those speakers were Don and Jennifer Stuart, the teen's parents.
One of the more poignant moments of the evening came when Don Stewart noticed three boys who were his next door neighbors. The next accident could be any of the kids in the room. When Jennifer Stewart spoke she relayed how she has to go through the very intersection where her son was hit every time she leaves the neighborhood. She drove home the point that it's not a matter of if another serious accident will happen, but when.
Their son has recovered, but the next person may not be so lucky.
To all this, how did the town respond?
They told residents to come back next month when NCDOT is there. They also told people to contact their NCGA representatives, Rep. John Bradford and Senator Jeff Tarte. They said it's a state problem. They passed the buck.
Oh, and they said they were going to spend $75,000 this next budget cycle to install more of the flashing beacons around town. The same beacons many were saying do little to nothing at the site of Mason Stuart's accident.
Here is the thing.
It has been three years. Why are citizens just now being asked to contact state representatives? Isn't that sort of what we elect our town representatives to do?
And if that was what the town thought citizens should be doing all along, why weren't they encouraging that all along?
It's all about priorities.
Here is an example. In 2013 and again in 2015, Davidson Town Hall pulled out all the stops encouraging citizens to contact the General Assembly in a vain attempt to stop a bill that imposed inconsequential limits on the town's ability to enforce design restrictions on single family homes. It was an effort reminiscent of Don Quixote tilting at windmills. They used a big chunk of Federal grant money to write a "Health Impact Assessment" hoping to convince people that their ability to enforce certain types of design on builders was somehow protecting the health and well being of citizens.
Ultimately, the bill passed overwhelmingly last year with overwhelming bi-partisan support - a rarity in this day and age. All Davidson Town Hall achieved with its Quixotc effort was wasted political capital.
They've proved in the past that they are willing to put effort into applying pressure to Raleigh. It has just been for the wrong things.
Hopefully, the message got through Tuesday night that the Town needs to be spending its effort on things that actually matter - like working with NCDOT to do whatever it takes to get the speed limit lowered before someone gets killed.
Update: NCGA Rep John Ray Bradford posted this earlier on his Facebook with a link to this story. Good news!
"I met with the State's Traffic Engineer today, Kevin Lacy. His department is responsible for establishing speed limits across the state We met in my office to review the Town of Davidson's Resolution. He committed that he would be willing to travel to Davidson to meet with Town officials, Senator Tarte and me. He agree he would personally tour/drive/observe the road to determine if the posted speed limits are still appropriate per NCDOT's speed standards. The next step is he is going to give me some dates of his availability so that we can all coordinate our calendars. For clarity, legislators do not set speed limits but Senator Tarte and I want to help which is why we will coordinate this meeting and site tour. My sincere hope is that a re-evaluation by the head of the department will yield a fresh perspective and lower speed limit. Stay tuned..."