Putting On The Brakes

I see in the letters to the editor section of today’s Keller Citizen that not everyone agrees with me that it’s about time that TxDOT fixed the dangerous left-turn problems at several intersections along Keller Parkway.

Seeing red
Ah, Big Brother is at work in Keller again. The Feds are now forcing us to use 10 percent ethanol blend in our gas, even though it results in a 10 percent reduction in gas mileage, and is doing nothing to reduce our “dependence” on foreign oil. And they are talking about forcing us to use 30 percent ethanol. With refineries running at reduced output on purpose, because nothing is better than big profits a year before an election, and gas prices again approaching $3 a gallon, TxDOT (with Keller city officials cheerleading) wants us to burn our gas idling at an intersection for 3-5 minutes waiting to turn left even if the nearest oncoming traffic is a quarter mile away!

Now I may grant TxDOT’s premise that it can be a little difficult to see oncoming traffic coming from the west if there is the ubiquitous gravel-semi or SUV in the east-bound left turn lane while you are trying to turn left onto Rufe Snow, but I’m not buying that that premise holds at the Keller/Smithfield or Anita/Bourland intersections. As one who waits to turn left at Anita at least four times a week, sitting at that intersection when there is clearly no traffic coming – I can see almost all the way to 377 – is beyond frustrating.

Now, I’m all for the Keller PD enforcing the speed limits and busting red-light runners, but that is a separate issue. Good grief, are Keller drivers stupider than Southlake drivers? The intersection at 1709 and Carroll Avenue is very busy and, I hate to give them any ideas …but they haven’t felt the need to impede traffic there, yet, by putting up a “left turn on arrow only” sign.

If you feel as I do, may I suggest an aggressive letter campaign to TxDOT and your Keller councilman to put the “left turn yield on green” signs back up at Keller/Smithfield and Anita/Bourland. Maybe even some civil disobedience is in order?

James Lenaburg

I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with Mr. Lenaburg’s letter.  I have nearly been hit a number of times at all three intersections.  So much so that I generally avoid those sections of Keller Parkway if I have a choice. 

Both the intersections at Rufe Snow and Keller-Smithfield suffer from the offset problem, and both have high accident rates.  Now I will grant his argument that the intersection at Anita/Bourland doesn’t suffer from the same vision/offset problem.  But it’s still a dangerous intersection and despite the clear vision I’ve had several near-misses there, not to mention personally witnessing a serious wreck caused by the failure of the left-turning driver to yield (or more accurately, the failure of the driver to stay put, as she had stopped but for some inexplicable reason pulled out in front of a pickup truck that had the green).

As to whether Keller drivers are more “stupid” than those in Southlake, I won’t bother to hazard a guess.  But I will say that they certainly seem more impatient, as evidenced by Mr. Lenaburg’s assertion that having to wait to turn is “beyond frustrating,”  and the numerous near-misses I’ve personally observed at Rufe Snow and Keller-Smithfield.  Many of the near-misses were saved only by the good reflexes of the driver who had the right of way (perhaps local residents with plenty of familiarity with those intersections?).  If oncoming traffic has to slow down to avoid hitting you as you turn left, you’ve failed to properly yield the right-of-way.  By the way…. I’ve come across the aftermath of a couple of accidents caused by people who didn’t grok that whole yield-on-green thing at 1709 and Carroll.  One involved serious damage to one of the vehicles and another was a rollover.  Perhaps that intersection isn’t as safe as you may think?  [I will grant that these were Friday evening incidents, although they were all well before 9:00pm. ]

Anyhow… as I learned long ago, it may seem frustrating to wait at the light, but the amount of time is actually small in comparison to your overall trip, and in the end is far more bearable than being in a collision.  As someone who has been hit twice in the past by drivers who failed to yield right of way through disregarding traffic control devices (i.e. red lights and stop signs), I’m particularly sensitive to this issue.  Consequently I make it a habit to watch for such things.


  1. Aubrey, I’ll keep this short:

    – You missed the point of my letter.  I’m not in a hurry – I don’t like wasting my gas sitting at a light when it is unnecessary. 
    – I’ve lived in Keller 20 years and never had a near-miss.  I’ve never seen an accident at any of the intersections handcuffed by the new signs.  I did agree that the Rufe Snow intersection could probably use that sign.
    – I don’t know what the statistics are or have been for those intersections, but you can’t make everyone safe from idiots.  I thought you were more of a libertarian than this.


  2. The amount of gas used in the wait for a traffic light is minimal.  I really don’t see this as a relevant factor.

    Interesting about the near miss thing.  Perhaps we’re traveling at different times of day?  I saw them almost every time I drove on Keller Parkway.  But, as I mentioned, I’m pretty sensitive to the topic, given my history.

    No, you can’t make everyone safe from idiots.  Heck, someone is likely to run the left-on-arrow signs, or even the red (like the idiot in the east-bound Jeep yesterday at approximately 6:30pm on Keller Parkway at the Anita/Bourland light; if I hadn’t been looking for that sort of behavior, I would have been hit).

    I went looking for the statistics for those intersections, having recalled them being sent in various police newsletters, but I can’t find them anymore and they aren’t on the KPD website anymore.  But I do know of a fatal wreck at Keller-Smithfield and several very serious ones at Rufe Snow.  I often listen to the scanner in the background and often used to hear calls for wrecks at those intersections.  Interestingly, those calls had dropped off recently, so perhaps the problem was abating on its own. 

    But I think you mistake libertarianism with anarchism.  I’m not an anarchist, and there have to be rules on the road.  I can certainly see that this traffic control device is a blunt instrument, given that there will be times when you could turn safely but won’t be able to do so now.  Still, I don’t have a problem with this particular set of signs. 

    Personally, I’d been treating those intersections as turn-on-arrow-only anyway (regardless of whether it ticked off the people behind me raspberry ).

  3. William says:

    OOo. $3 A GALLON is ALLOT.
    Us Brits pay almost £1 A LITRE!!! (~$1.50)
    Feel my sarcasm. (And now feel sorry for us!)

    You use allot more fuel by driving doing fast accelerating and hard breaking (~20%). A bit of ticking over at a traffic light hurts nobody.

  4. rb says:

    “Personally, I’d been treating those intersections as turn-on-arrow-only anyway (regardless of whether it ticked off the people behind me”

    Good to hear. I knew I couldn’t be the only one who doesn’t turn left on red in the face of on-coming traffic. LOL