Traffic situation, June 20, 2005

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Having formerly lived in Oak Ridge, off Route 58, west of downtown, I can't help but think city council did the right thing in denying an application to amend proffers on a piece of property to allow for

a 100-seat restaurant to go in there.

The restaurant would have been located in a strip center at the intersection of Barrett Drive and 58, near Hillcrest Baptist Church.

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That stretch of road is, quoting Councilwoman Linda Johnson, "a disaster."

We moved from there about two years ago. Even then I would count to 5 after the light changed to green before pulling on to 58 from Grove Road. Invariably, big trucks heading east would fly around that curve and into the intersection when the light was changing. It was scary, and one of the reasons we wanted to move.

It's only gotten worse since then.

The transportation/traffic issue is the biggest issue facing Suffolk/Hampton Roads/Virginia and it's something we're going to have to deal with sooner rather than later.

I like the plan the Hampton Roads Metropolitan Planning Organization came up with last week that calls for a variety of user fees such as tolls and gasoline taxes to pay for upgrades we desperately need.

While the plan does not directly address the 58 situation, it would serve to relieve pressure from other major arteries to keep them from winding up as deadly.

What we need now are for the adults in the General Assembly to step forward and assert themselves in the face of the "no tax for any reason" bunch that has run the show for the past decade.

But don't count on it. The intestinal fortitude necessary to make tough decisions that focus on the long-term rather than instant gratification appears to be dying off with the World War II generation. As a result, the future does not look bright.