I received much communication in response to my column making a plea for additional lanes on US Highway 195.
One of those emails came from M.D. who drives 195 every day. But instead of the section south of Spangle, he drives the northerly four-lane stretch between Hatch Road and Interstate 90.
He noted, “At any given time going North bound on the 195 you will have vehicles pull out in front of you at the bottom of Hatch Rd. and the same at all of the other intersections all the way North bound on the 195 except for the Cheney Spokane Rd. now. ”
Indeed, those surface cross streets are a source of danger. That’s why the overpass was built to access the Cheney-Spokane Road, and I suppose improvements at Hatch and at Excelsior are “in the works” as well.
Another clarification came from WSDOT Public Information Officer, Al Gilson, who informed me that the plans and right-of-way for more four-lane 195 are only complete from Spangle south to about Rosalia. I distinctly remember a DOT employee once telling me that the plans were complete to Pullman, but Gilson refuted that.
Also, I once heard that the plan was for the highway to bypass Colfax, but Gilson advised me that a study done in 1994 determined that would be too costly. Basically, it seems that cost is the prohibiting factor to any and all changes on 195 south of Spangle.
He further stated, like I speculated in my column, that the average daily traffic count doesn’t warrant a lane expansion. Nevertheless, as I noted, I regularly see long traffic lines on normal days, and bumper-to-bumper scenarios on game days, graduation and student holidays.
Gilson also pointed out that driver error is the main culprit for lane crossings and accidents on 195. But isn’t negating the effects of driver error one of the reasons for modern, divided four lane roadways? While driver distraction is the direct cause of many crashes there and not the fault of the road, I think driver distraction will always exist, so road design can reduce mayhem.
Regarding my column exploring full-time headlight use, more motorists weighed in, such as W.S., who wrote, “Many cars, especially grey and dirty white cars, blend in with the pavement on rainy days. Rainy days your windows are never as clear as you want them and many cars deal with fogging up as well. You pull out thinking it is clear and nearly nail a pavement colored car you couldn’t see.” And he added a side-effect of frequent light use, stating, “Headlights on all the time is safer. Costly though - in my Prius the shop wants $300 to replace headlights so there is a cost reason to not want your headlights on. Worth the cost in my opinion though.”
T.B summed up the predominant attitude of readers, writing, “In my opinion all cars should be equipped with auto on/off headlights along with rain sensing as most people don’t seem to grasp the idea that it is to help other drivers see you.”
And in a final twist. H.K. added, “I am all for them [full-time headlights] but it should be a ticketable offense to have them on high beam. Even in the daylight it is annoying, especially those blue ones. Those are almost painful.”
Readers may contact Bill Love via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.