Traffic

Crews installing new signal at intersection near Panther Creek High

Posted December 3, 2014
Updated December 8, 2014

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— Crews from the Town of Cary were installing a new traffic signal Wednesday morning at the intersection of N.C. Highway 55 and McCrimmon Parkway, hoping to improve safety near where a Panther Creek High School student was killed in September.

Laura Yost, a 15-year-old sophomore at the school, died in mid-September from injuries she sustained when the driver of a Chevrolet Blazer turned left into the path of a dump truck at the intersection at about 7:30 a.m. Yost's 16-year-old brother was injured in the wreck.

Police said the driver of the vehicle, Spencer Saunders, 16, of Morrisville, rushed through a safety light and failed to yield to the right of way. He was charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.

Following the wreck, state and town officials took another look at the left turn from N.C. 55 to McCrimmon Parkway. On the morning of Oct. 14, turn data taken during peak morning hours showed 618 left turns were made onto McCrimmon Parkway.

The data – and demands from parents – was significant enough to make adjustments to the traffic signal. During the morning, lunch hour and after school hours, the light will include a protected-only green arrow, officials said.

Crews arrived at about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday to start installing the new signal.

During non-school hours, there will be a flashing yellow light permitting motorists to turn left when there is a safe gap in traffic.

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  • Imma Annoid Dec 3, 2014
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    There is a light at Tryon Rd. and Avent Ferry which is used by Athens Drive HS students. When the left turn line gets long, they drive past the light and make dangerous U-turns. There will be an accident there, if there hasn't been already. Same thing will probably happen with this light.

  • GravyPig Dec 3, 2014

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    I agree. A traffic light will only make folks feel better, it will not curb bad decisions. Hopefully these deaths will open some of eyes and make others pay more attention to the seriousness of driving.

  • GravyPig Dec 3, 2014

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    Exactly. I was confused when they changed lights to this flashing yellow arrow. It was always understood what a sold green and a protected arrow meant.

  • sinenomine Dec 3, 2014

    N4CER, we weren't discussing solid green arrows. We were discussing flashing yellow lights. A flashing yellow light indicates what you said it does - but a solid green light in your direction (NOT an arrow) indicates the same thing. When you have a solid green in your favor you still have to wait for a safe gap in oncoming traffic to make a left turn. That's exactly what I've been saying. Please re-read my posts.

  • n4cer Dec 3, 2014

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    Please turn in your license. A solid green arrow indicates that the oncoming traffic has a red light and you are clear to turn. A flashing yellow indicates that the oncoming traffic has a green light and you must wait for a safe gap in traffic to turn.

  • cstanley3 Dec 3, 2014

    The light isn't the problem. Irresponsible driving is the problem. If the parents want to say they did something, how about pushing for better student driver training.

  • sinenomine Dec 3, 2014

    MISEEM - A flashing yellow doesn't hasten the passage of oncoming traffic to give you a break sooner than would otherwise occur. You still have to wait just like you do with a solid green light.

    " . . . without a car in sight coming the other way?" Traffic law does not require that there be no car in sight, but then I suppose you probably knew that when you wrote your comment. All it requires is a safe gap in traffic.

    If there is no cross street involved which would require a stop light and all you're looking at is an otherwise uncontrolled left turn then a yellow light is entirely unnecessary provided you know the safe gap rule - which most drivers with any degree of sense do. It is, after all, the law.

  • miseem Dec 3, 2014

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    Yellow lights are like a yield sign. It's pretty much self evident - it's a caution light. Go when it is safe. Have you ever sat at in left turn lane, with green lights on the through lane, without a car in sight coming the other way? And waited through an entire cycle of lights before you could turn left? Then you will know why they use them.

  • GALNC Dec 3, 2014

    Following the wreck, state and town officials took another look at the left turn from N.C. 55 to McCrimmon Parkway. On the morning of Oct. 14, turn data taken during peak morning hours showed 618 left turns were made onto McCrimmon Parkway.

    The data – and demands from parents – was significant enough to make adjustments to the traffic signal. During the morning, lunch hour and after school hours, the light will include a protected-only green arrow, officials said.

    Now, the parents have to worry about the students trying to run the yellow light and it has turned red.

    Driving requires judgement and patience. Many students run yellows trying to get to school. While this won't eliminate accidents, it may help to reduce the amount of them. All of the students drive like a bat out of *ell when they have lunch off campus. They run the lights and cut people off to make it back in time to school. There will still be accidents...but hopefully less.

  • sinenomine Dec 3, 2014

    "During non-school hours, there will be a flashing yellow light permitting motorists to turn left when there is a safe gap in traffic."

    That's what a solid green light means if you're turning left - you are only supposed to do so when there is a safe gap in traffic. For that matter even in the absence of any light you may turn left only during a safe gap in traffic, assuming left turns are not prohibited by a sign that says "No Left Turn". The flashing yellow lights so far as I am concerned are confusing and unnecessary.