Jennings is not the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
I’m Just Sayin’
by SHEILA SMITH
We have to talk about the traffic situation (again) in Jennings, guys.
When the Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) announced it would be closing the eastbound lane of La. 97 within the city limits (I’m not going into detail; you should be reading the Jennings Daily News to keep up), I knew there would be problems.
I’ve run into this problem (almost literally head-on) twice.
The first was two days after the road was down to one lane. I was one vehicle of about seven traveling west. It was about 6 p.m. and as we drove, we came to a halt: some guy in a blue Dodge hauling a camper was coming towards us and he really did not seem like he was going to move.
So, we all had to begin dodging cones to enter the closed lane, pulling into yards and the like.
Signs were all over the road, but Mr. Blue Dodge didn’t seem to notice.
A few days later the same thing happened, except it was a white Ford sedan. This time, the traffic didn’t budge. Ms. White Ford had to vacate the road for us.
The media, the city and DOTD have all been very open in saying, “Hey, doing work. Don’t drive here.” Anyone who has been near La. 97 in the past few weeks has seen the miles of orange cones, workers, machinery and signs that clearly say, “No. Don’t drive this way. You are driving into oncoming traffic.”
Still, people are taking the chance of making driving in Jennings dangerous – and annoying.
Which leads me to other areas we need to talk about (again).
The intersection of La. 26/Elton Road and Interstate Drive is the crash mecca of Jennings, if not all of Jeff Davis Parish. I don’t understand the problem because the traffic lights clearly tell us all what to do.
People lose their minds at that intersection as though, if they don’t put the pedal to the medal, they will never leave Jennings alive. Well, if you do put the pedal to the metal, especially when you don’t have the green arrow in your favor, you just might not leave Jennings alive.
I give you my word that the business you are trying to access will still be there after the traffic light changes from red to green. I pinky-promise.
Let’s also talk about the area between Zigler Memorial Drive and Eleventh Street, which turns into a war zone at rush hours morning, noon and late afternoon.
First, if you are traveling southbound and attempting to turn left through northbound traffic, many of us are growing tired of having to work on a game plan with other drivers so you can slide between our vehicles while we are at a red light. Daily, I will be at a red light in that area when it turns into a choreographed effort to let vehicles in. Certain vehicles have to scoot until bumpers touch. Others have to reverse a little. It has to be a team effort, too. You need at least six cooperative vehicles to make this happen.
Then, by the time you let the southbound traffic turn left, the light has gone from red to green to red and you’re stuck – and have to let more traffic turn.
Furthermore, if you are attempting to turn southbound during peak hours from a place located off the northbound lanes, I’m not letting you in. You can do like I do and make a block. You knew good and well you were going to have to fight traffic.
That’s an even worse scenario because on top of working with other drivers to let you pass, we also have to survey southbound traffic and wave you in or flag you to stop. I’m not a crossing guard. It’s lunchtime and I’m hungry and if you happen to get hit, I can’t go to lunch because I have to sit there and wait to tell the cops what I saw.
And what I will tell them is that you are a lazy driver.
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