For more than a year Phyllis Olmstead, a long time Apopka resident many know as "Dr. O," has been trying to get a bad intersection in Apopka fixed. She doesn't think it would cost more than $100 to solve the problem, but she cannot get anyone at the City of Apopka to address the issue.
The problem? The turn lane stripes.
Most intersections with turn lane stripes help to separate oncoming traffic making left-hand turns. The lane stripes at the intersection of 441 and 451 in this photo are typical. Drivers making a left turn must stay to the left of the stripes. If they do so they end up in the proper lane after the turn. And there is a safe distance between turning cars coming from the opposite direction.
But just a mile to the east is the problem intersection. 441 and Bradshaw. The turn lane stripes for cars making a left turn onto 441 from Bradshaw are incorrectly located. As this photo shows, drivers who stay to the left of the turn lane stripes will end up in a head-on collision with cars waiting in the cross-traffic turn lane. The only way to safely make a left turn from Bradshaw is to stay to the right of the turn lane stripes.
Note the space between the turn lane stripes in the middle of the intersection. If two cars are coming from opposite directions one or both must cross the turn lane stripes to avoid a head-on collision.
Olmstead says she first brought this to the City's attention of the Apopka Police Department and the Apopka Fire Department. She then sent a detailed email with photos to the City Commissioners. One Commissioner acknowledged receiving the email. But nothing has happened.
"I think this is a very dangerous situation," said Olmstead. "I travel through that intersection everyday and know what to expect, But what about a visitor to Apopka?"
The Apopka Voice tried to speak with City officals about the intersection but were told to submit our questions in writing, which we did. Robert Sargent, Apopka's Public Information Officer, provided the following statement via email:
"The City of Apopka is scheduled to complete changes to that intersection later this year with installation of new traffic signals and mast arms. The turn lane stripes likely will be addressed at that time. In 2014, the city resurfaced more than half a mile of Bradshaw Road, widening parts of the corridor and adding turn lanes at U.S. Highway 441 and Marshall Lake Road. The city had to get approval from the Florida Department of Transportation for changes to the traffic signals and mast arms."
We showed Olmstead the City's statement. Her response; "I think they should spend $100 and paint over the stripes with some black tar paint now. Do it before someone gets hurt."