Traffic

In case we weren't clear, you can't park here

Posted November 14, 2008

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— Amid a growing state budget deficit, the Department of Transportation has gone to what appears to be excess to save taxpayer money.

The DOT has placed 39 "No Parking" signs along the 1.5-mile exit ramp off eastbound Interstate 40 to eastbound U.S. Highway 70 Business in Garner. The plethora of signs have perplexed many drivers.

"It doesn't make any sense. It doesn't. I've never seen that before," driver Randy Sauls said.

"I thought they were no passing signs. I guessed people were flying around that corner passing," driver Stephanie Howard said.

Other drivers were simply angry of what they viewed as a waste in a time state agencies are cutting back to deal with a budget deficit that some fiscal analysts have said could grow to $1.6 billion by early next year.

"Taxpayers' money gone to hell," driver Joe Jackson said.

"I can understand one here and one there, but they're, like, simultaneously together," driver Greg Erteol said.

Battle Whitley, a division operations engineer with DOT, said the signs are actually 200 feet apart.

"I wouldn't say it's overkill," Whitley said, noting engineers chose that distance so that there would be no question that parking on Exit 306 (seen in the map below) was dangerous and against the law.

He said the army of signs is the DOT's latest weapon to combat a dangerous enemy – trucks parked along the side of the road. Truckers were parking along the exit ramp overnight to sleep, and their rigs were tearing up the shoulder and road, he said.

If drivers taking the curve in the exit drifted off the pavement, the ruts and holes left by the tractor-trailers threatened their safety, he said.

"Some of them were so large, it could have been a significant accident," he said. "(Posting the signs) was a safety issue."

"I did think (the extra signage) was weird, but sometimes I do come home late – around 3 in the morning – and once in a while I've seen a big truck parked there," driver Katherine Wilson said.

In addition to improving safety, Whitley said the 39 signs also save the state money.

The DOT was spending $10,000 every three to four months to repair the shoulders along Exit 306 and regrade the area, he said. Meanwhile, each of the signs cost less than $100 to install – North Carolina prison inmates made the signs for $37.04 each – so the department spent less than $4,000 on the project, he said.

"When you consider $4,000 versus $40,000 (a year), that's a significant savings," he said.

13 Comments

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  • monkeyboy Nov 18, 2008

    "$4,000 for signs or $40,000 for annual maintenance (a year?) are you serious?....how about people stay on the pavement and spend no money at all?"

    Dude, did you read the article? The signs are there to keep people ON the pavement and OFF the shoulder. That's the whole gist of it. Otherwise there would be no article.

  • FromClayton Nov 17, 2008

    yeah my husband saw that and commented on how crazy it is. If you do have a real emergency and NEED to use the side, you can't hardly fit in there without taking out one of the many signs. Like Sub said... The shoulder is there for a reason too.

  • Subdivisions Nov 17, 2008

    "If you drift off the pavement your fault...it's there for a reason!"

    The shoulder is there for a reason too.

  • USA Nov 14, 2008

    Why not fine the trucking companies $10,000 for illegal parking and watch the problem go away at no cost to taxpayers?

  • 27615 Nov 14, 2008

    $4,000 for signs or $40,000 for annual maintenance (a year?) are you serious?....how about people stay on the pavement and spend no money at all? If you drift off the pavement your fault...it's there for a reason!

  • Common Sense Man Nov 14, 2008

    "They didn't give the cost analysis for labor, gas, wear and tear on trucks delivering and installing the signs. After all that is added in, I'd bet there is no cost savings at all."

    Uhhhh, I think repairing the shoulder is a TAD more expensive.

  • Common Sense Man Nov 14, 2008

    ""I thought they were no passing signs. I guessed people were flying around that corner passing," driver Stephanie Howard said."

    Wow. Reason number 1 not to talk to the media if you have no clue what you're talking about. She shouldn't be allowed to drive.

  • 1Moms_View Nov 14, 2008

    They didn't give the cost analysis for labor, gas, wear and tear on trucks delivering and installing the signs. After all that is added in, I'd bet there is no cost savings at all.

  • commonsensical Nov 14, 2008

    I'm willing to bet that the DOT had a crew of 16 people installing these signs. Two of them were doing the work, and the other 14 were standing around talking and drawing a paycheck.

  • james27613 Nov 14, 2008

    I agree, at first glance it looks like a waste of money,
    however, it will save money over time in repair costs.

    I would like to see the fines for parking increased so that
    it would be expensive for anyone who parks on the ramps to
    the interstates. It is very dangerous.

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