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Hundreds lobby for stoplight at Cary intersection

Posted June 25, 2009
Updated July 9, 2009

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— Hundreds of people attended a rally along Green Level to Durham Road at Cary Glen Boulevard Thursday evening to persuade the state Department of Transportation to add a stoplight to what they say is a dangerous intersection.

Melissa K. Birdsong, 28, and her 3-year-old son, Alexander Birdsong, were injured in a wreck Monday at the intersection. Melissa Birdsong’s stepdaughter, 16-year-old Kailee Nicole Birdsong, died, police said.

The teen’s father, Robbie Birdsong, said the intersection where the wreck occurred has limited sight distance making it especially dangerous.

Hundreds lobby for stoplight at Cary intersection Neighbors lobby for stoplight at Cary intersection

Another wreck happened at the intersection Tuesday afternoon as a WRAL photographer was filming there.

"Now that's what I am talking about,” driver Andre Sanders said after watching the collision. “Now they need to do something about this intersection. Somebody is going to die out here again.”

On Thursday, neighbors signed a petition to place a traffic light at the intersection. “There are times as a citizen you have to say, ‘this is ridiculous,’” said Maureen LeBoeuf, who attended the rally.

Tim Bailey, Cary's engineering director, said the intersection does not qualify for a light.

"We've done studies at locations like this in the past and to date, it has never met criteria for installing a traffic signal at this location,” Bailey said.

Bailey said Thursday that he has not ruled out adding a stoplight at the intersection.

"It is still on the table and event if DOT says it is still on the table," Bailey said.

A location must have a high traffic volume or at least five wrecks in a 12-month period to warrant a light, Bailey said. The wreck that claimed Kailee Birdsong’s life was the second at Green Level to Durham Road and Cary Glen Boulevard in a year. The wreck between a Mustang and SUV on Tuesday was the third.

The town of Cary is paying for a two-week traffic study to see if the crossroads meets standards requiring a light. If it doesn’t, the town could put one up anyway, but would have to get approval from the state to make any changes to Green Level to Durham Road, which is a state road.

“We do not have authorization to make changes there unless DOT tells us we can,” Mayor Harold Weinbrecht said.

“I hold my breath and hope I get through it everyday,” driver Anne Soeder said. “This intersection is going to get worse before it gets better.”

Ashley Payne was injured in an accident at the intersection. At a town council meeting Thursday night, Payne told officials a blind-spot caused her crash.

"It is so much harder to see the cars coming. You don't have enough time to take your time," Payne said.

Officials also discussed blocking the intersection with a median that would force only right turns and U-turns.

Other ideas are to widen the center area of the road so cars can pause after making it passed the first few lanes of traffic, but before taking a left or crossing the rest of the way to the other side.

Officials said to get a stoplight in place quicker, a wooden pole could be used instead of the traditional metal pole. The wooden pole would cost about $60,000 and could be installed in 60 days.


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  • donaldb Jun 26, 2009

    Roundabouts eliminate the need for turn signals so that intersection could very well be re-engineered for a roundabout. But that does boggle the mind that a multi-lane, medianed highway and a busy cross-street doesn't have any more traffic control than that. Wow.

    Hey, Roundabouts are greeeeeen. Cary's all about the green craze right?

  • donaldb Jun 26, 2009

    The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has a whole section on Roundabouts including a good, instructional 2-minute video on them. Go to iihs.org and put roundabouts in the search box at the bottom of the page then click GO.

  • donaldb Jun 26, 2009

    If roundabouts are properly engineered, public safety response time is not adversely affected. But as I said, they are not a good solution in all situations. No traffic control solution is perfect, but the primary point to be taken is that properly engineered roundabouts dramatically reduce catastrophic collisions when compared to stoplighted/stopsigned intersections.

  • ncwebguy Jun 26, 2009

    Why wasn't the shopping center required to put in the traffic signal to get approval? Because its Cary, the town that bends over backwards to make developers happy, even though it costs human lives. Of course it is everyone else's fault.

    So of course the rest of the state should have to pay for Cary's neglegance, while at the same time tooting its horn for how "prosperous" they are for not having to foot the bill.

    Google shows a shifted left turn lane on the that everything is in place *but* the traffic light.

    The houses west of the intersection prevent a roundabout that can handle an intersection where a four lane road crosses a five lane road. The developer will demand money for the land if they want to push it to the east.

  • ncwebguy Jun 26, 2009

    Build a roundabout, then complain when ambulances get stuck because traffic freezes up in the roundabout. Or when fire engines and delivery trucks have a hard time navigating them.

    It never ends, and always comes out of someone else's pocket.

    The only people who are worse are the ones who think a pine tree can hold up a traffic signal *and* they're smarter than the professionals.

  • SweetB Jun 26, 2009

    Roundabouts seem to be good solutions...

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Jun 26, 2009

    Lot's of armchair engineer's here today, thanks to WRAL for making something seem like it's different than it really is!

  • hangry Jun 26, 2009

    Well put 628405.

    I hope these same hundreds of people will lobby to get all people to make sure their kids wear seat belts.

  • donaldb Jun 26, 2009

    Stoplights and stopsigns kill people. How do I know? I worked in EMS for over 14 years and still carry the emotional baggage because of it.

    Collisions that occure at stopsigned/stoplighted intersections tend to be catastrophic, and often fatal t-bone type collisions. But, our government is content to continue allowing this carnage using obsolete traffic-control solutions on our roads as it has for almost 100 years.

    Only now, has the concept of Roundabouts begun to gain some traction. They are not useful in every instance, and maybe not in this one, but they do all but eliminate those catastrophic, fatal accidents. Accidents that happen in well-engineered roundabouts are the 'side-swipe' type collisions that are rarely fatal.

    So the exit question becomes: Stoplights will not stop collisions. If, after a stoplight is installed by the Town of Cary under pressure, and someone else is killed; who is responsible, the Town or the citizens who pushed for it?

  • walkindogs Jun 26, 2009

    Let some political figure or their family member have an accident there and a stop light will be put up immediately.