How sad to hear there was another accident -- this one a fatal -- on Route 1 in front of the Shoppes at Longwood Village. I've written before how perilous that stretch of road is. I don't know the specifics of what caused that crash, but I refuse to make a right turn on red out of the shopping center, no matter how many honking people back up behind me.
I did learn something new about that stretch of road, however. In an earlier post I had griped about motorists heading toward Kennett or the Route 1 bypass who get into the "right-turn lane" all the way back by the Wawa and treat it as a passing lane.
A reader pointed out, in a well-reasoned and well-written critique, that in fact it's not really a right-turn lane at all: "that lane is not marked -- on the road surface, or on overhead signs, or with curbside signs -- to restrict its use in any way as a third lane of through traffic. Please do drive that stretch of highway again. Try to find anything restricting that lane to right turn only before you get to the Walmart intersection at Schoolhouse Lane. And then convince me that there is something illegal, immoral, or fattening about using that lane as the highway engineers pretty clearly intended it -- to help speed traffic along that highly congested area between Wawa and the Walmart intersection by adding an extra lane for through traffic between those two points."
I did as she suggested and checked it out this morning. I stand corrected! In fact, the lane is actually marked for both right turns AND through traffic until you pass Onix Lane, where it becomes a right-turn-only lane to get into the Walmart. And a friend who was on the regional planning commission when the Route 1 expansion was on the drawing board confirmed that the planners fully intended that lane to be a through-lane.