Sunday, July 24, 2016

Lower Speeds + Better Enforcement = Safer Davidson Concord Road

Last week marked one month since NCDOT lowered the speed limits along the length of Davidson-Concord Road on Davidson's east side.

Regular readers will remember the story which was covered extensively at aShortChronicle.

After publishing citizen video coverage of how harrowing the road had become, the long simmering issue of high speeds and dangerous pedestrian crossings finally got the attention it deserved.  Television media covered the issue and State elected officials got involved. Frustrated citizens then descended on Town Hall in May and June.

At the June meeting something unexpected happened.  NCDOT engineer Scott Cole did a 180 on the plan the agency had published just days before for the most dangerous part of the road for pedestrians.

On June 17th, the speeds were lowered and new signs went up.  As part of the deal to get speeds lowered sooner, Davidson agreed to increased enforcement.

Information provided by the Town shows a marked reduction in accidents along with increased enforcement in the corridor during the one month after the speeds dropped.

Data for June 17-July 17, 2016:

There were 6 citations and 5 warnings issued during that time frame and 1 accident.

The crash took place on Davidson Concord Rd. where it intersects with Apollinaire Dr.  It was a single car accident and the driver lost control of her vehicle when swerving to avoid hitting an animal that ran out in front of her.

Data for May 16- June 16, 2016:

There was 1 warning issued during that time frame and 0 citations. There were  4 accidents.

One accident was caused by a vehicle running off of the road and hitting another vehicle while overcorrecting (Davidson Concord Rd. @ Parting Oaks Ln.).  Another accident took place when a driver turned in front of another car and was struck (Davidson Concord Rd. @ Robert Walker Dr.).  Another accident occurred due to a driver failing to yield the right away to another vehicle before turning and they collided (Davidson Concord Rd. @ Robert Walker Dr.). Lastly, a vehicle rear ended another vehicle (Davidson Concord Rd. @ Barnhardt Rd.)

At the June meeting NCDOT argued against lowering the speed in the pedestrian heavy area because it could actually make it more dangerous.  The less than obvious logic was that an artificially low speed limit might lead to inconsistent driver speeds making it more uncertain when crossing the road.

When asked last week for a comment on the changes after a month of data, here's what the DPD had to say.

“We believe the speed limit reductions on Davidson-Concord Road make that part of town safer for pedestrians, bike riders, and motorists,” said Davidson Police Lt. Steve Ingram. “Our officers will continue to enforce the new limits.”

Based on the lower number of accidents it would appear DPD rather than NCDOT is right on this one.

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