letter to the editor

Intersection turn-lane expansion too narrow

I am writing this to express serious concerns over building in Farragut.

The Town of Farragut is now proposing adding two additional lefthand turn lanes at the intersection of Kingston Pike and Campbell Station Road. The Mayor and Aldermen included funding for this in the Capital Improvement Plan without any discussion with Town residents.

Adding these additional lefthand turn lanes will shrink lanes approximately 2 feet to around 10 feet wide at Campbell Station Road and Kingston Pike and the lanes on Kingston Pike at Campbell Station Road to less than 10 feet wide. The Tennessee standard for lane widths is 12 feet.

Our lane widths at this intersection are already below state guidelines. For reference, dump trucks are about 8.6 feet wide. Shrinking the lanes this way can cause accidents where large vehicles will clip vehicles in neighboring lanes. The Biddle Farm’s traffic study recommended action at this intersection and called this an “exception to standards.” This is an accident waiting to happen.

These additional lefthand turn lanes are needed because of the added traffic from the Biddle Farm project.

A big cause of this issue is that the buildings at this intersection, Starbucks and 35 North, were built too close to the road. This problem was preventable, as we should have seen building so close to the road would eliminate the ability to widen roads as we grew.

We have a major safety issue with children walking across Kingston Pike to be picked up by their parents after school. This is the result of the 45 minute-plus times to pick-up kids at school. The Mayor and Alderman have been promoting increasing housing density for a long time, knowing there are overcrowding issues in Farragut schools and roads being over peak capacity.

The current administration has repeatedly discussed private property rights. There are limits to property rights, and one major limit is when the activity negatively impacts the surrounding properties in a substantial way.

You have a right to use your property as you see fit, provided you do not interfere in everyone else’s rights to use their property and go about their business. Farragut should start following national generally accepted land use best practices.

The traffic problems are a perfect example of a substantial negative impact. The proper role of government land use entities is to balance the rights of property owners with the rights of the community at large.

Unfortunately, as we have seen with the Biddle Farms project, the current Mayor and Aldermen are interested in making the Town in their eyes, instead of the proper balancing. I wish our elected officials would represent all of us instead of approving what they want.

Sean Murphy,