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At Issue: How should Fayette County reduce intersection dangers?

This accident from early August at Antioch and Goza roads required the Jaws of Life to extricate one of the victims. Courtesy Fayette County Fire/EMS
This accident from early August at Antioch and Goza roads required the Jaws of Life to extricate one of the victims. Courtesy Fayette County Fire/EMS

A violent car accident that took the life of an elderly woman has heightened awareness of ongoing problems at a busy intersection in southeastern Fayette County.

On May 11, two women were critically injured when their car was hit by a pickup truck at the intersection of Antioch Road and Goza Road. Nancy Collins and Natalie Davis, both 82 and from Hampton, had stopped at the stop sign on Goza but were struck while crossing Antioch. They were airlifted to Grady Memorial Hospital, where Davis died the next day. The number of crashes and injuries so far in 2017 has already exceeded the yearly total for 2016.

The intersection is among several in Fayette County that have been realigned from a “dog leg” configuration to a straight 90-degree angle each way, with the intent of improving traffic flow and safety. But nearby residents claim accidents and near misses have only increased since the intersection was changed.

Those who spoke at the Aug. 24 meeting of the Board of Commissioners told harrowing accounts of incidents they blame on speeding, increased traffic flow and the perception that the intersection is a four-way stop when in fact there are stop signs only on the Goza Road sides. Limited visibility caused by the hill on Antioch Road was also noted.

The route is an increasingly busy one connecting Fayette with Henry County, exacerbated by traffic going to and from the Whitewater school complex. As a result of more serious incidents, Fayette County has made the intersection its top priority and plans are underway to make it a four-way stop within weeks. However, as Public Works Director Phil Mallon told the commissioners, more stop signs are likely an interim measure as traffic engineers evaluate the best solution, which may be a roundabout.

Fayette and Henry residents, what are your experiences with this intersection? Do you think a four-way stop is adequate, or would you like to see other changes? Send comments to communitynews@ajc.com by Tuesday. Replies may be published in print or online.

LAST WEEK: WHO SHOULD DECIDE IF CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS STAY OR GO?

Decatur’s Civil War monument, commemorated in 1908, is a blending of elements, from those characteristic to memorials erected in the first 20 post-war years, to those added much later, from 1890-1920. Despite what many say, this amalgam of styles makes this monument particularly difficult to interpret.

We asked readers their opinion on this monument and if it should be moved — a stance taken by one group of petitioners. We also asked readers their take about a complicated and strange state law passed in 2001 which clearly prevents a city or county — the Decatur monument is actually owned by DeKalb County — from removing the monument.

We also asked about creating interpretive signage, something giving the Decatur obelisk historical and cultural context, which the state law is silent about.

Here’s what some had to say:

In the Middle East, ISIS has destroyed beautiful ancient statues and architecture in cities like Nimrud and Palmyra. Terrorists have a list of places they plan to demolish for their "cause." In America liberal political elements have destroyed historical Confederate statues in Charlottesville, Va., and other southern locations. They also wish to destroy the beautiful carvings of Stone Mountain. They make lists for future demolition representing their "cause." — Catherine Boone Shealy

A thoughtful person viewing this controversy should view both sides and realize that attacking each other is not the answer. All the great cities and regions share a common thread of not chopping off their own roots. Do we see this happening in London, Paris or in any of the great cities? Symbols and monuments are reminders of our roots and should be preserved… . Let's respect everyone's heritage and not chop off our own roots. — Alton Powell

Georgia should build a state history museum in which relics of the Civil War period can be exhibited with unbiased interpretation, giving voice to multiple narratives. The museum should create an informed, multifaceted knowledge of events and personalities. Enough time has passed for objectivity and accountability in the presentation of the information. — Dorothy Olson

I have never once looked at Stone Mountain and thought "white supremacy." While doing genealogy years ago, when I discovered some of my ancestors served in the Civil War, I felt pride that they were willing to give their lives—chances are, for a cause that someone told them they should fight for. It wasn't for slavery, because my ancestors were poor and worked in the fields. They were not landowners. Some were as young as 14 and 16, willing to line up, face their enemy while knowing someone likely was going to die. Many statues are commemorating the dead and the struggle. Are we not allowed to feel pride in our heritage? A remembrance of history is not hatred or racism. — Linda Perry

Clearly local governments, not the state should decide the fate of CSA monuments. I would favor retaining paintings and statues of General Robert E. Lee for one reason and one only: Lee did something that may have ultimately saved the Union, giving up the fight honorably and completely in his surrender to US Grant at Appomattox. Lee could have authorized his remaining generals and colonels to scatter to the hills and carry on such a guerrilla war, but he wisely did not, and thus he helped save the Union and the South and allowed reconstruction to begin. — Kirk Wilson

Let the citizens decide by election in November — Anonymous

Bill Banks for the AJC