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Old 10-10-2012, 05:00 PM
 
6 posts, read 53,582 times
Reputation: 20

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With Atlanta city proper being 430k and Metro Atlanta being 5.2 million, seems like they should be having a well lit freeway, I mean, expressway system at night. But it's not. What is up with that? With more cars and more traffic, this is very dangerous. Even California freeway systems are safer to drive at night in the urban regions than in Atlanta, despite limiting their lighting to exit and entrance ramps. Also bright road reflectors and lights from elevated suburbs compensate for it too.

The lit portions of expressway:
I-75 - I-285 interchange to the Chattahoochie Bridge, then picks up in Marietta from Delk to North Marrietta Pkwy. Interchange lights at 54 in Morrow.
I-85 - Riverdale Road near the airport to Dekalb County line, then picks up again from Spaghetti Junction to 316. Interchange lights at Fairburn Industrial and Jonesboro Road in South Fulton.
I-75/85 Connector - see above two. Now for some reason the lights in Midtown haven't been turned back on since the reconstruction around 14th Street although that new section went to high masts.
I-20 - all lit inside the Perimeter
I-285 - NO LIGHTS, NOTHING! Only exceptions: both I-20 interchanges and I-75 interchange near the airport. Even the Spaghetti Junction is pitch black except I-85 running thru.
GA 400 - only at the interchanges with I-85, Sidney Marcus, Lenox, the hated 50 cent toll booth, and a section from Glenridge to just some ramps to and from 285.
166 Langford Parkway - all lit except for the 285 interchange
Freedom Parkway and the forgotten Highway 13/Buford Expwy (Midtown to Sid Marcus) - all lit
Stone Mountain Expwy, GA 400 outside the Perimeter and I-675 have no lights.

With that said, Atlanta is a major city and metropolis with traffic issues, so there is no excuse for some genius at GDOT to be so cheap on lighting their expressways. It's pathetic.
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:20 PM
 
Location: Decatur, GA
4,908 posts, read 3,705,971 times
Reputation: 2460
I don't see why we need them. Sure, I agree that the major interchanges, especially the complex ones should be lit, but we don't need every inch lit up, that's what headlights are for. We don't have lights on every inch of the regular roads, and those have opposing traffic, at least on the highways everything is moving the same direction. Plus, the light masts are unattractive and churn out loads of light pollution.
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:40 PM
 
7,687 posts, read 9,530,024 times
Reputation: 5657
Actually, studies have shown that having ample lighting on highways does not reduce the number of accidents that occur on them, but it does reduce the severity of the accidents. So on a lit highway, you're no less likely to get into an accident than you are on a dark highway, you're just less likely to get seriously injured or killed.

I think that's a good enough reason to have them.

I actually know a bit about this subject because when I moved to Gwinnett county in 2009, the lights on 85 had been turned off by the county to save money and I launched a small campaign to have them turned back on, which became successful once the local media got involved.

As I was researching this, I learned the following:

As previously mentioned, lit highways reduce the severity of accidents that occur on them.
The lights on I-85 and maintained and paid for by Gwinnett county, not the state. So I imagine it's up to counties to deal with highway lighting in most instances.
The yearly cost to keep the lights burning on the lit portion of I-85 in Gwinnett county is approximately $100,000 per year. This seems like an enormous bargain to me when you consider the amount of lives saved, not to mention how much less often you need ambulances and clean-up from severe accidents.

You are correct that having brightly lit highways is a relatively inexpensive way to increase highway travel safety. In terms of bang for the buck, it's one of the best public safety deals out there. I would imagine that nowadays with the availability of LED lighting systems, the upfront cost may be higher, but power usage would be much less and the initial cash outlay would be recouped very quickly.

The best thing to do is to lobby your county government to provide highway lighting. The data is decisive, but it is difficult to find and many public safety officials are not even aware of it. Light pollution and light masts are small prices to pay for the amount of lives that are saved and hospital stays that are cut short or eliminated due to safer highways.
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:45 PM
 
Location: Savannah GA
13,095 posts, read 15,906,284 times
Reputation: 9139
More highway lights = more light pollution = wasted electricity

End of conversation
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:53 PM
 
1,796 posts, read 6,068,467 times
Reputation: 1171
I've noticed the darkness as well. Not good in my opinion. Especially since you can be on a well lit portion one minute, then the next is lights out.
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:02 PM
 
7,687 posts, read 9,530,024 times
Reputation: 5657
Quote:
More highway lights = more light pollution = wasted electricity
Sorry, Newsboy, that is a completely moronic argument. Safety supersedes light pollution or wasted electricity.

Environmentalism is all well and good, but it has to be kept in perspective. If you wanted to go that route, you could say that disposable needles in hospitals add to trash and landfills so we should reuse needles. What about all those used latex gloves? Doctors should just wash their hands instead.

And just think about all the materials we could save if cars didn't have seatbelts. Wasted materials, and we don't really NEED seatbelts, after all.

I know you mean well, but try to look at the world with a wide perspective and see the greater good in a few necessary evils. Next time you have to change a flat tire on the side of a road after dark I bet you'll want lights.
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:18 PM
 
Location: Atlanta, GA (Dunwoody)
2,047 posts, read 3,874,321 times
Reputation: 957
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newsboy View Post
More highway lights = more light pollution = wasted electricity

End of conversation
There's no escape from Atlanta's light pollution anyway. I doubt adding some to compleex interchanges ould make a difference. For instance, Sunday at six am I was taking a girlfriend to the airport. Spaghetti Junction is totally dark, and I missed 85, despite the fact that I go through that interchange several times a week, but never at night. That interchange is a nightmare even for those of us who use it regularly. I can't imagine what it's like to others.
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:26 PM
 
Location: Decatur, GA
4,908 posts, read 3,705,971 times
Reputation: 2460
But does the cost of the extra materials for the lighting justify the increase in safety? Well would the cost of making the roads out of pure foam rubber and the cars out of foam rubber and limiting the speed to 5mph justify the increase in safety? Anything for safety is a slippery slope that requires a delicate balance. But getting out of the land of ridiculous, why not require lighting on every road? Most roads don't have 12ft emergency lanes, and a solid divider down the middle like highways do. Nor do they usually have guardrails or at least a substantial right of way buffer or angled barrier around any hard objects, and they have intersecting roads and driveways.
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:33 PM
 
2,490 posts, read 4,556,448 times
Reputation: 3106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cali 2 Tha South n Back View Post
With Atlanta city proper being 430k and Metro Atlanta being 5.2 million, seems like they should be having a well lit freeway, I mean, expressway system at night. But it's not. What is up with that? With more cars and more traffic, this is very dangerous. Even California freeway systems are safer to drive at night in the urban regions than in Atlanta, despite limiting their lighting to exit and entrance ramps. Also bright road reflectors and lights from elevated suburbs compensate for it too.

With that said, Atlanta is a major city and metropolis with traffic issues, so there is no excuse for some genius at GDOT to be so cheap on lighting their expressways. It's pathetic.
Great question! The lack of street lighting greatly detracts from the quality of life in the Atlanta area. Almost every major city in the United States has brightly lit roads for safe driving. Atlanta chooses to remain hopelessy backwards.
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:37 PM
 
2,490 posts, read 4,556,448 times
Reputation: 3106
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattCW View Post
why not require lighting on every road? l
Lighting on every road should be required. Go to any major midwestern city. All the streets are brightly lit. The major cities in Florida have good street lighting too. It makes for a much safer and more pleasant driving experience. Why do so many cities have excellent street lighting and why can't Atlanta achieve that too? Atlanta chooses to have a backwards and dangerous infrastructure.
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