About u-turns, left turns and service roads

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Column by Jim Clark

Something caught my eye in my wanderings through Internet stories this past weekend, and it got me thinking about traffic in Marion County.

Someone is proposing that, with the creation of new roads, all u-turns and left turns be eliminated. There would be jug-handles and cloverleafs at every intersection with a traffic light, and that would be the only way you could get from one side of the road to the other. No crossovers, no u-turns.

The story, which I believe had its origins in the Smithsonian Magazine, said this would increase safety on the roads.

I have to admit that it is something I never thought of, but for those of us who occasionally have to make turns on State Road 200, it makes sense to do it only at a traffic light.

There's one thing, though, that could be done rather easily to add to safety, but so far this county has totally ignored it.

The county should require every developer of property along a highway to put in a service road.

I can only think of one legitimate service road in this area. It's on East Silver Springs Boulevard across from the golf course, and runs in front of a couple of strip shopping centers and McDonald's.

Of course, if you're driving down U.S. 27-441 south, and you get into Lake County, you immediately encounter well-planned shopping areas in front of The Villages, complete with a service road. But with all the new construction in Summerfield in Marion County, forget it. You take your life in your hands. Just keep an eye on the Marion County Fire Rescue dispatch log on the Internet (there's a link on our home page) or the Florida Highway Patrol accident page and see what goes on down there.

State Road 200 is completely out of control, and now U.S. 27 northwest, going toward Williston, is developing and starting to get the same way.

I remember spending a little time in the town of Coral Springs, in congested Broward County, where the main roads all have service roads, and traffic moves a heck of a lot better than it does here. Traffic zooms along without drivers worrying about someone suddenly entering the road or suddenly slowing down to turn into a shopping center.

So come on, county transportation people, make things a little safer for the future out there by at least requiring service roads, making the limited access main road able to move a little faster.


Jim Clark is the editor of the South Marion Citizen. He can be reached at editor@smcitizen.com or at 352-854-3986.