This time of the year, roads and highways in Huntsville seem to be a little busier, especially in the areas around shops and shopping centers. At one exit of one busy shopping center, there’s a problem. “There are no signs to say it merges. There are no arrows, and all of a sudden people are slamming on brakes trying to get over,” says Yvonne Betowt.
The problem is at the western most exit from the “Valley Bend at Jones Farm” shopping center. Drivers turn left out of the center, and then have a short merge lane so they can enter traffic on Carl T. Jones Drive, which is heading west. “It’s pretty dangerous, especially at night when you can’t see at all,” says Yvonne.
She says at certain times of the day Carl T. Jones is so busy it is tough for drivers coming out of the shopping center to easily merge. The real problem though is for shoppers who might not be familiar with the merge lane. “They don’t know that you have to merge,” says Yvonne.
Using the intersection ourselves, we found even at mid-morning it can be tough to safely merge into traffic on Carl T. Jones. We saw at least one driver go all the way to the end of the merge lane, stop and then wait for a break in traffic. This as other vehicles were entering the merge lane behind her.
There are other merge lanes in Huntsville with signs indicating when the lane is going to run out. That’s what Yvonne Betowt wants, and we’re taking action and asking city traffic engineers to make this intersection just a little safer.