Josh Bergeron: Time for traffic changes on East Innes Street

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 14, 2021

There has got to be a better way.

During peak chicken-eating times, the traffic from Chick-fil-A in Salisbury extends onto East Innes Street and causes unnecessary traffic backups at one of the city’s busiest intersections.

Bone-headed motorists block lanes of travel for people traveling west on East Innes Street because they’re trying to avoid waiting for another traffic light cycle, which makes it easy to see how the intersection became No. 5 for car crashes in the city in 2020.

Cars waiting in the right turn lane also back up to the entrance to Towne Creek Commons. Cars that have made the right turn onto North Arlington Street only move as fast as people can place their orders, and staff at the store do an incredible job of moving large numbers of cars in an efficient manner.

Still, city and/or DOT traffic engineers should study the intersection to see if changes are needed. In the meantime, southern Rowan County and/or Kannapolis seem like as good of a place as any to add a store and take pressure off of the Salisbury establishment.

Excluding the Carolina Mall, there are three stores with Concord addresses, southern Rowan County and Kannapolis have plenty of people to support one.

Speaking of Concord, our southern neighbors at the Independent-Tribune publish a weekly feature called the Friday Five, where the editor writes about news items or expresses an opinion on something local. While I don’t think this will become a weekly feature and with apologies to the good folks to our south, here’s the rest of my Sunday six:

• The most intriguing local political story at the moment is the recount in the Salisbury mayoral race. Will there be enough flipped votes or errors in Al Heggins’ favor to change the race? With a 14-vote lead at the moment, will Karen Alexander’s victory hold up through a recount?

We’ll find out on Tuesday. So, I’d like to take things beyond the recount. What does the unsuccessful candidate do after the election is finalized? Will she ride off into the sunset and be content to adopt a more private life? Or is there another election in her future?

The latter seems most relevant for Heggins, who is in her 50s  and would have only served four years in office.

A run for city council or mayor at a later time could be possible. Like Paul Woodson, Maggie Blackwell or Brian Miller before her, Alexander is likely to decide at some point to “retire” from elected office.

What about round two against Rep. Harry Warren in a redrawn 76th District? The new district looks almost identical to the one Warren won in the 2018 election, but the new one could be slightly more in Heggins’ favor with a couple fewer southern Rowan precincts and few more next to Salisbury. Some quick math shows its partisan lean is about 9 percentage points in favor of a Republican. So, it would still be an uphill climb for Heggins.

  Candidate filing for 2022 elections, which is likely to feature too many competitive races to count on two hands, begins on Dec. 6 at noon. It ends Dec. 17 at noon.

Interesting things to look for include whether the number of sheriff candidates enter the teens, all county commissioner incumbents file for re-election, any other candidates join the district attorney’s race and who runs for the newly drawn 83rd N.C. House District, which currently does not have an incumbent living in its boundaries.

• We’re less than two weeks away from the most exciting public event to happen in downtown Salisbury since COVID-19 changed life in March 2020 — the Holiday Spectacular parade and accompanying entertainment in Bell Tower Green Park.

With no Pops at the Post, Cheerwine Festival or other downtown staples, there hasn’t been a whole lot on the events calendar for downtown and nothing on the scale of the Holiday Spectacular. The parade starts at 2 p.m. on Nov. 24 in Spencer and will continue at 3 p.m. in Salisbury. Festivities at Bell Tower Green will include musicians, a Christmas tree lighting and food and beverage vendors.

For more information about the parade and its festivities, visit tistheseasonspectacular.com.

• With cases declining, it’s been some time since we published a COVID-19 story in addition to the statistics on the front page.

But the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has introduced a new tool on its dashboard that allows people to limit cases and deaths to recent dates. The tool makes it easier to calculate the virus’ toll this year.

All told, there have been 16,710 cases this year among Rowan County. The bulk of them came near the start of the year and during the delta-induced spike that started this summer.

There have been 274 COVID-19 deaths this year — a majority of the 463 that have occurred since the start of the pandemic. As often as possible it’s still worth following basic COVID-19 guidelines to prevent another spike.

• Last a quote from our regular quotes of the week feature published in Friday’s e-edition.

The following quote from Melvin Stewart, a Livingstone education major who’s teaching at Koontz Elementary, has been buzzing around in my head since it was published two weeks ago as exactly the kind of attitude we should all adopt: “Every move I make at school is a learning opportunity.”

Josh Bergeron is editor of the Salisbury Post.

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