Traffic light promised on Fort Smallwood Road Community is relieved by plan for intersection heavily used by trucks

September 27, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

A united group of business and community leaders has persuaded state officials to install a traffic light at an intersection in Pasadena where motorists have barely avoided severe accidents several times.

Traffic engineers from the State Highway Administration agreed that the heavy volume of tractor-trailer rigs at Fort Smallwood and Pittman roads necessitates a traffic light.

A date to install the light has not been set.

"We've fought long enough for it," said Martha Sawyer, president of the Solley Civic Association. "I'm glad we won."

Estel Martin, a purchasing agent and spokesman for Chesapeake Packaging Co. on Pittman Road, said he could "breathe a sigh of relief," knowing the light is to be installed.

The Solley Civic Association and officials at the warehouses and manufacturing plants in Marley Neck Industrial Park have been lobbying the SHA for 10 years for a light.

Nine months ago, SHA officials installed a flashing yellow light at the intersection to warn drivers of the truck traffic. But Casper Hackmann, a member of the civic group, said the flashing light was inadequate.

"People don't pay attention to it," he complained. "They see it, but they don't slow down."

After a monthlong study, SHA officials agreed to install the traffic light.

Business and community leaders said the light became necessary after Fort Smallwood Road was widened from a two-lane road to a four-lane highway several years ago. Trucks and tractor-trailers that had been making left turns from Pittman Road across the southbound lanes of Fort Smallwood Road with relative ease were forced to weave through a maze of speeding cars.

"One tremendous accident with one of our trucks would have been totally disastrous," Martin said, adding that each of the company's 12 tractors makes two or three deliveries every day. "Primarily, we were just scared."

So Chesapeake Packaging, Chemetals Inc. and most of the other industrial plants in the park joined forces with the community association, which welcomed the support, Sawyer said.

"There have been a lot of near misses," she said. "We felt that it was to our advantage to have them on our side."

State Sen. Philip C. Jimeno, who also lobbied SHA officials, applauded the cooperative effort by the residents and the businesses.

"The safety factor was something that they all wanted," he said. "It's good to see that businesses and communities can work together and mutually benefit from this."

Pub Date: 9/27/96

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