Tuesday, September 10, 2013
The Proposed Median and Trucks
As the plans for the proposed median project have unfolded, I have become increasingly alarmed over the lack of attention paid to how truck traffic, and businesses served by trucks within Pawleys Island will be affected.
First, a few qualifiers: My employer, is Builders First Source, the largest building supply company on the Waccamaw Neck, and we are located on Tiller Drive, a road that connects U.S. Highway 17 and Petigru Road. In the currently depressed, but recovering market, our business receives three, 18-wheel truck deliveries per day, while we make over a dozen outgoing deliveries per day, utilizing multi-axle, flat bed trucks. This translates to over 30 truck trips per day, arriving and leaving our store, not including the employee and retail vehicle traffic our store also generates. Our current, primary route in either direction on Highway 17 is via Tiller Drive. The problem is that the median will block any northbound turns onto Highway 17 from Tiller Drive, and it will block any turns onto Tiller by trucks coming from the south.
So, the most likely route for these heavy vehicles, coming and going, will be to utilize Petigru Road, to connect to either Waverly Road or Martin Luther King Road, allowing eventual connection to Highway 17. This is not only a more circuitous route, but for those interested, a quick trip down Petigru Road will also indicate other problems. For example, Petigru Road has no shoulders, and mailboxes sit unusually close to the street. Inevitably, our trucks are going to have trouble making turns onto Petigru, onto Tiller Drive, and will require multipoint turns. These trucks are likely going to be taking out mail boxes when carrying wide loads. I should also note that houses in this area sit unusually close to the street, so we are concerned as to how heavy truck traffic will affect those residents? I would certainly be concerned if I lived along Petigru or Martin Luther King roads, particularly if I had children, if the median plan is implemented.
The second major issue that the proposed median presents is on Highway 17 itself. The plans that are now available indicate no place to turn within the project area, once a truck is heading in a specific direction. The U-turn system is obviously designed only for autos, because the turning radius for the U-turns is not large enough for a large truck, and certainly not an 18-wheeler. I understand that the project may also be extended to the South Causeway, so along this entire stretch of highway, a large truck won’t be able to make a U-turn, while the median won’t permit any left turns. The only way I see that our trucks will be able to operate is to find an intersection with a stoplight, make a left-hand turn onto a side street, and then back out into Highway 17 to complete the U-turn. How this design helps traffic flow, I am uncertain.
While Builders First Source is certainly going to have its problems, we are by no means alone as a company. For instance, Cohen’s Drywall (Cohen), is the largest drywall company on the north coast, and its warehouse and distribution center are located at the corner of Tiller Drive and Petigru Road. Cohen also receives three 18-wheel truck deliveries per day, and it has several flat bed trucks, plus 6 box trucks, not counting pickups and employee vehicles. This represents another 6 large truck trips, plus many other delivery truck trips per day.
Also located on Tiller Drive, are two large warehouses, a pet boarding business, a large greenhouse and nursery, Turnstile Enterprises (a manufacturer), United Country Insurance, D&S Plumbing (which has 6 plumbing vans), Pawleys Self Storage (which receives large moving vans), the afore-mentioned Cohen’s Drywall, Trade Alley (which houses a dozen other business when full), and a Santee Cooper office. Many of these businesses receive large truck deliveries, and have outgoing flatbed and other truck deliveries.
Around the corner is Mercom, which has 30 employees and numerous vans, Waccamaw Landscaping, which has 18-wheeler sod deliveries, and many smaller truck trips, Dunes Rental’s laundry, a Montessori School, and more than twenty businesses located on Commerce Drive. Much of the traffic on these roads, truck and otherwise, utilize Tiller drive to access Highway 17. All of this traffic will now be forced to Petigru and down Martin Luther King Road, Waverly Road, or, in some cases it may become routed through the Parkersville community.
While I may not fully understand the proposed design of Highway 17, it seems to me that little thought has been given to what the design is doing to traffic, and parts of the community, away from Highway 17. Others have expressed concern regarding the impacts to business, and impacts to Builders First Source are real. Our retail customers are going to have more difficulty reaching us, and our trucks routes are more complicated, and have more liability. Apart from our business, however, I question whether SCDOT, and our local leaders, have given real thought to the impacts on the surrounding neighborhoods and communities? These impacts are real, and cannot be minimized.
We cannot forget about tourist travel and our larger trucks. Currently tourists can ride in the median to make up their mind when to turn for the many shops on both sides of Highway 17. When the center is gone and they see something, they are not going to think it through and stop suddenly to turn. Here is your next accident.
The Spirit of September 11, 2001
In Andrews, and across America, we pause to remember our police officers, fire fighters, EMTs and others who were murdered in the terror attacks on September 11, 2001. The attacks were crimes against humanity. Those brave first responders who gave their lives that day along with today’s first responders are our guardian angels answering calls for help day and night. The Pentagon and the World Trade Center symbolized democracy and the American way of life. Terrorists will never destroy the American spirit to overcome tyranny and evil in our world.
I remember Port Authority Police Officer George Howard who responded to WTC and died saving others. George was also a Captain with the Hicksville Volunteer Fire Department. The Howard family is an All American family serving God and country. Howard’s parents were both career Navy reservists. His mother Arlene Howard, a World War 2 veteran, is a Past Nassau County American Legion Commander currently serving at a District level in New York. George Howard has a brother retired from the Navy and another serving in the Air Force. His sister is an Air Force veteran and now Chief of Protocol at the U.S. Air Force Academy as a civilian employee. Arlene Howard presented her son’s PAPD shield to President Bush. When George Howard’s daughter graduated from the U.S. Secret Service Uniform Branch Academy she was authorized to wear her father’s PAPD shield.
In Andrews I see the same spirit of dedication as displayed by George Howard and the other PAPD, NYFD and NYPD heroes. The twenty-eight volunteer fire fighters of the Andrews Fire Department, led by Chief Barrineau, are dedicated professionals and everyday heroes of our community. They respond to fires, storms and accidents saving lives in addition to their regular jobs and family activities. They make in- station repairs of fire apparatus saving taxpayer dollars. George Howard would have been right at home with the Andrews Fire Department.
Our fire fighters, law enforcement and EMTs stand shoulder to shoulder with our military and veterans in preserving the American way of life. We must also remember the passengers who fought back against the terrorists on United Flight 93 with the battle cry of “Lets Roll.” We will always be the Home of the Brave, the Land of the Free and One Nation Under God because we are a community and nation of patriots willing to serve to protect our freedoms.
For God & Country,
Andrews American Legion Post 69
Greg Bennett served three months active duty with the N.Y. State Guard in response to the 9/11 attacks and as a seasonal Park Ranger protecting a FEMA supply warehouse.
Déjà vu all over again
Mojo noticed my walking around with a contemplative if not dazed look on my face. I was also not saying much, which is unusual He was worried about me. “What’s going on? You don’t seem yourself.” “Oh, sorry, my mind was drifting back twenty years ago.” “Tell me about it.” (Mojo is a good listener.)
“I was working with Congress. Congress was in the middle of a debate about whether or not to use force to remove the Iraq army from Kuwait. On a Saturday morning we got over 800 phone calls. Constituents were split right down the middle. Staff was split and was lobbying hard for going or not going. The Congressman finally told us to leave him alone. He went into his office. He came out and voted for the use of force.
“Mojo, I can’t help but think back to those days as the debate about the use of force in Syria swirls around us. And, like then, I fall back to my religious tradition as a way of getting a handle on the situation. Can a person of faith use violence or support state-sanctioned violence? The Christian tradition has had three answers to that question.
“The first answer is no, never. This active non-violent answer was the answer of the early church. The faithful took the injunction of Jesus to turn the other cheek quite literally. It was also the age of the martyrs. Christians did not serve in the military and were seen as a threat to the Roman Empire. Today, denominations like the Quakers and the Mennonites hold firm to active non-violence. Individuals like Dr. King have been strong proponents.
“Then things changed. The Roman Empire became Christian. Some of our ancestors, the barbarians, were at the gates of Rome. The question now became, it is okay for me to turn my cheek, but what if my sister or brother’s cheek is being hit and I can do something about it? The just war doctrine was born. The second answer is yes, but only under certain conditions. The criteria include; violence called for by legitimate authority (no vigilantes), last resort, reasonable chance of success, end result is less violence, protection of civilians, proportional (you don’t knock a malaria mosquito off a person’s head with a sledge hammer), done with a heavy heart … All criteria have to be operable. One can’t pick and choose. The notion behind the doctrine was still to limit violence. Most denominations and many individuals find themselves in the just war camp..
“The third answer is not owned up to by most folks, but it lurks in all of our hearts. It is the resounding, yes, of the Holy War. It is okay to do whatever you want to do to whomever you want to do it as long as you do it in the name of God. In times like this we need to beware of the slippery slope of the Holy War.
“Mojo, this is a serious debate that we humans have entered into. Do we pull the trigger? I’ve wrestled with that question forever, from infantry officer days, as a Congressional staff and as clergy. I tend to be in the just war tradition, but the weapons today are so horrific. How do we protect civilians? I hope that Congress doesn’t grandstand and use this as an opportunity to get five minutes of mike time. I hope the President knows what he is doing.
“Come here Mojo, I need a good nuzzle.”
The Rev. Dr. Jim Watkins and Mojo
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