Man with machine gun blasting folks at a busy spot in Virginia proves victim to reckless use of it.
The sound of sirens and emergency vehicles is right next to the sounds of car horns as commuters navigate a seemingly never-ending stream of traffic at the intersection of Highway 40 and American Legion Boulevard in Chesterfield County, Virginia. The noises are from a company called Isitreez — which uses intersection technology — and every time traffic lights change, a light for trail use will flash green, then stay red until the trail user enters the intersection.
That sounds like a good idea, if only it doesn’t work 24/7 and allow all kinds of unwanted action.
An environmental group, the Highlands Community Renewal Group, installed devices in Virginia’s mountains to prevent people from sitting by the side of the road and swerving to avoid deer. At American Legion Boulevard, it’s a year-round problem.
“When you see the blue lights, run,” Lisa Blake, also known as “Trail Lady,” told CBS 6.
Her daughter, Alyssa, has a 3-year-old son, Shelby, and runs in and out of the area as a way to keep him active.
“He falls asleep at night from that, so he stays away from this intersection … The first time it happened, I thought I was gonna die,” Blake said.
It’s like being behind the wheel in a metropolitan city.
“Instead of having the possibility of choosing between your life and that of your child, you get the choice between trying to get where you’re going and picking up the child,” Blake said.
Trail use and road rage go hand in hand, people with motorized vehicles argue.
“If we make it easier for them to be there to run on trails, or to actually run on trails, it creates an even greater temptation for someone to run out in front of a car, to cross the street, and to assume they don’t have any responsibilities,” James Demers said.
Trail Lady told CBS 6’s Leo Benitez that she’s upset the lights operate at any time of the day or night.
It’s a legal civil action the Highlands Community Renewal Group filed against multiple people, but so far, no action has been taken.
Trail Lady said they had great support from the community on Facebook.
Others told Benitez the sounds of sirens and emergency vehicles get too loud.
“It bothers me,” Dave Layman said. “And they’re just terrible sirens.”
Trail Lady said she is disappointed, but feels she is one of the winners.
“The better use of that light is to stop sirens and emergency vehicles, and put it to other uses,” she said.
In a statement, Virginia Department of Transportation said it is “aware of the project and will send a number of letters to encourage changes.”
This is one of many similar intersection issues being looked at, Benitez reported.
Despite Hampton Roads’ reputation for its traffic congestion, the region’s road signs do not move the typical yellow arrow always out of the way to allow trail users.
The Southeast Region of the Virginia Department of Transportation told Benitez on Sept. 4th that it had an inspection underway to find out the issue in Chesterfield County. The inspection by the southeastern regional traffic engineering committee was ongoing as of Wednesday morning.
Whatever happens, Blake is expecting something bigger to happen.
“If we get out there in the mountains, we’re gonna start rolling up those lights. We will be,” she said.
Contact Andrea Brody at [email protected].