Henry: Maybe Amarillo Drivers Are Not That Bad

I saw him coming. The light was green the other day at the intersection in front of the Amarillo Globe-News offices — at least my light was green. However, I noticed the motorist coming the other way was not reducing speed despite having a red light. I was already in the intersection, so I swerved to miss what would have been a collision as the aforementioned motorist went right through the intersection without so much as tapping his brakes.

After muttering a few obscenities, I remembered — for some reason — a report on www.allstate.com titled “America’s Best Drivers Report — 2016.” (This is how my mind works.)

According to this report, Amarillo was the 30th “safest driving city” in the nation in 2016, ranking just behind Chandler, Ariz. The red-light runner was obviously not a part of this study.

Considering the confusing, if not illogical, state of traffic in Amarillo, I am amazed we fared so well in this ranking.

Not that the intersection had anything to do with my near-accident (a motorist with his head placed in a lower anatomic region was the reason), but Amarillo has to have some of the most questionably designed streets and roads in the nation. Logic would dictate Amarillo motorists would have a more difficult time navigating this traffic maze, and therefore have more accidents.

Perhaps not.

Here is a brief list that backs up my assertion of Amarillo’s less-than-logical streets and roads:

The Interstate 40/Interstate 27 interchange. I’ve lived here more than two decades, and there is still confusion as to how to make two highways intersect. This interchange is in a constant state of construction.

Hillside and Bell: Motorists take their lives in their hands trying to enter Hillside coming off I-27 before it eventually connects with Bell.

45th and Western: This intersection made a list of one of the most dangerous intersections in Texas in 2016 — and for the locals, this is no surprise.

I-40/I-27 on-off ramps: I had a Texas Department of Transportation employee tell me years ago that the reason entrance / ramps from these highways are jammed so close to together is that the city — years ago — wanted as many streets as possible to have highway access. Getting off on the Bell Street exit heading west on I-40 can bond you with other motorists, as can getting off on 45th heading south on I-27.

The “Loop”: Do we really need to get into specifics of this debacle?

This is just a brief list. I am sure there are many more examples of head-scratching Amarillo streets and roads — and feel free to send them my way for perusal.

The fact Amarillo was the 30th safest driving city in the nation last year shows Amarillo drivers are ahead of the curve — literally.

Contact AGN Media Director of Commentary Dave Henry at david.henry@amarillo.com.

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