The Blindside in Greensboro

The rain came in buckets tonight. Huge buckets. Ginormous buckets in fact.
Anyone that was driving in that rain will know exactly what I’m talking about. The cars were keeping in their lanes. Respectively. Sort of. Maybe not so much. So a couple of us mistook the left lane as a regular driving lane okay? Just call it a lane delineation “problem”.
Sheesh… everyone is a critic.


Councilwoman Sandy Carmany looked into a problem I had with no reflectors on the streets and when it was wet, the reflection of the car headlights made it impossible to judge where the lane ended and where an oncoming vehicle began. In fact, I’m written about it here, here, and here.
Sandy looked into the issue with a turnaround time that was faster than you could say “French Fries” at McDonald’s and this is what GDOT had to say:

Sandy,
If you have a specific location you’d like for me to look into, I’ll be glad to do so.
After 2000, we moved away from using the raised reflective pavement markings due to the negative feedback we got from the public referencing their relatively short life cycle. Our snow plows ended up putting these devices in the gutter. At the time, those devices were running about $4.50 ea installed. The snow plowable types were about $25.00 each installed. I have not checked prices on these items since that time.
The devices are very effective, but are pretty expensive, especially the long-life snow-plowable type. We used to have them installed where nighttime visibility was an issue, lack of street lights, etc. Most of the time, citizen requests would let us know where the devices would be needed and we’d try to accommodate.
Any direction that you have on a re-implementation of this program/practice is welcomed.
Thanks…
Dale Wyrick
GDOT Operations Manager
373-2783


Well guess what. Wendover is a problem. Friendly is too.
Give me a street name and I’ll tell you it’s unsafe, not because I really care so much about streets and such, but because of a really simple fact…. “I CANNOT SEE THE LANES.” Maybe it’s like a “rain induced stigmatism” or something. Maybe I’m the only one that really cares, because I’m used to driving in Seattle where it drizzles all the time, but they actually have reflectors in the roads so I don’t go careening into oncoming traffic. If it’s too expensive, then find an alternative.
So Mr. Wyrick, your answer is very simple. Night-time visibility in rain on the roads is next to nihil. Everywhere. Whether or not there are lights doesn’t make a difference. Everything just shines right off the wet road and makes the lines disappear.
Try driving 45mph down Wendover while it’s raining at 6PM in November.
In an ODOT study after installing 700k pavement markers, they noted that there was a 9.2% reduction in crashes and 15% reduction in injuries. And they get a lot more bad weather than we do. If the reflectors are so expensive, put the old ones back in when you repave the road. Heck, find some cheapie ones. Apparently Winston-Salem did in this study with a lowball of $2. If that’s even too expensive, apparently this safety document by AASTO ( American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) shows that you can even just groove a centerline strip. At least I won’t get into a head-on collision and instead can enjoy being side-swiped.
I really don’t care how it’s done but do something. ANYTHING. If this isn’t a safety concern in a part of the country where rain comes down in sheets, then I don’t know what is.

  • Westridge!!! There are few lights and lots of turns. The line literally disappeared and it was only because occassionally I’d catch the edge of a line that I knew where things were. My fellow road travelers did not most of the time. In my opinon, every major road in Greensboro should have them. This should not be a matter of waiting for people to complain because people don’t realize who to complain to.
    And while we’re at it, can we rant about the idiots who blow their leaves completely into the street? I don’t know who made me more angry- the city without the reflectors or the idiots who pile leaves in the street. I can understand if some migrate over the curb while waiting for pick up, but if you purposely put them there in the street? ARGH!

  • Westridge!!! There are few lights and lots of turns. The line literally disappeared and it was only because occassionally I’d catch the edge of a line that I knew where things were. My fellow road travelers did not most of the time. In my opinon, every major road in Greensboro should have them. This should not be a matter of waiting for people to complain because people don’t realize who to complain to.
    And while we’re at it, can we rant about the idiots who blow their leaves completely into the street? I don’t know who made me more angry- the city without the reflectors or the idiots who pile leaves in the street. I can understand if some migrate over the curb while waiting for pick up, but if you purposely put them there in the street? ARGH!

  • Definitely. While everyone has their “important issues,” I would love to know how much increase of traffic accidents occur during the rainy season due to poor safety judgments.
    For a self-proclaimed “family-oriented” city, I sure would not send my family out to navigate these roads during the rainy weather.
    I have faith in my district councilwoman though. I just hope that this is alleviated before something bad happens (remembering an NPR article on how train crossing barriers are put up).

  • darkmoon

    Definitely. While everyone has their “important issues,” I would love to know how much increase of traffic accidents occur during the rainy season due to poor safety judgments.
    For a self-proclaimed “family-oriented” city, I sure would not send my family out to navigate these roads during the rainy weather.
    I have faith in my district councilwoman though. I just hope that this is alleviated before something bad happens (remembering an NPR article on how train crossing barriers are put up).

  • One other thing. I find that Wendover actually is more of a detriment with more lights. Every light has the splash effect, so the rain just reflects it back. With reflective paint for the lines, it just disappears into the “splash lighting”.
    Reflective paint is really a silly idea when it comes to rain time. Lines don’t reflect “more” than rain. Light diffraction is actually pretty much the same.

  • darkmoon

    One other thing. I find that Wendover actually is more of a detriment with more lights. Every light has the splash effect, so the rain just reflects it back. With reflective paint for the lines, it just disappears into the “splash lighting”.
    Reflective paint is really a silly idea when it comes to rain time. Lines don’t reflect “more” than rain. Light diffraction is actually pretty much the same.

  • Increase? Since I moved down here I cringe at the idea of driving in anything but perfect partly cloudy weather. (Too much sun is blinding) A lot of the problems could be resolved by safety items such as the reflectors and better paint for the lines (have you noticed how many lines have worn away in places?). Education would be a lovely thing to happen because people just don’t understand how to drive in bad weather. There can be no snow on the ground, just flurries in the air, and there are pile ups on 40. No one obeys any speed laws and turns into road ragers if you do.
    Sorry, I could just rant for ages on the whole topic of transportation in Greensboro.

  • Increase? Since I moved down here I cringe at the idea of driving in anything but perfect partly cloudy weather. (Too much sun is blinding) A lot of the problems could be resolved by safety items such as the reflectors and better paint for the lines (have you noticed how many lines have worn away in places?). Education would be a lovely thing to happen because people just don’t understand how to drive in bad weather. There can be no snow on the ground, just flurries in the air, and there are pile ups on 40. No one obeys any speed laws and turns into road ragers if you do.
    Sorry, I could just rant for ages on the whole topic of transportation in Greensboro.

  • Don’t get me started on turn-signals.
    Those car dealerships down Wendover could save a whole bunch of money by selling cars without turn signals. No one seems to use them anyways.

  • darkmoon

    Don’t get me started on turn-signals.
    Those car dealerships down Wendover could save a whole bunch of money by selling cars without turn signals. No one seems to use them anyways.