Teen Campaigns for Traffic Light at Dangerous Intersection

by | Nov 14, 2014 | Non-Profits

Taylor Schweikart is confident a traffic light at Routes 208 and 522 will prevent crashes and injuries. Photo courtesy of Tina Schweikart.

Sixteen-year-old Taylor Schweikart and her brother were involved in a head-on crash in October at the intersection of Routes 208 and 522. Taylor’s fractured wrist was, fortunately, the worst physical injury of the traumatic incident. “My family and I were trying to come up with something positive that could come from this experience,” she said.

Taylor began hours of research, meetings and conversations with community leaders and residents. She discovered, among other things, there had been 12 accidents at the intersection between January and October 2014. She drafted a petition and launched a Facebook page titled Bring a Light to Rt 208 & Rt. 522. “I want people to be safer when they travel through that intersection,” Taylor said.

The intersection is heavily traveled by area residents and by visitors to the Lake Anna area. Within days Taylor had support from hundreds of people. A school bus driver even expressed her concern on the Facebook page: “As a school bus driver through this intersection I agree we certainly need a light. I believe there was one proposed when the plaza was initially introduced, but have not heard of any plans to bring this about.”

Taylor presented her petition to the Louisa County Transportation Safety Commission as a preliminary step toward her ultimate goal of sending it to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), which approves traffic signal placement. “The commission agreed that night by unanimous vote to support Taylor’s initiative,” Taylor’s mom Tina said. Taylor will next present her petition to the Louisa Board of Supervisors at their Monday, Nov. 17, meeting. In preparation, Taylor is asking the community to:

– Visit her from 12 – 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15, at Dickenson’s Store, 5072 Zachary Taylor Hwy., Mineral, to sign the petition.
– Sign the petition at the other businesses which have posted it (see the list at the bottom of this story).
– Speak in support of Taylor’s initiative at Monday’s Louisa Board of Supervisors meeting, which begins at 6 p.m in the County Administration Building, 1 Woolfolk Ave, Louisa, Va.
– Attend Monday’s meeting to show your support.

The full text of Taylor’s Petition

My goal with this petition is to raise awareness to these safety issues and to obtain community support for my request to VDOT to install a traffic light at this intersection. I am very confident that this addition to the intersection would greatly benefit our community and help to prevent accidents in the future. Below is a list of concerns:

· In 2014, between January and October, there have been a total of 12 accidents at this intersection. This is averaging more than one accident each month, and is a significant increase from the 7 accidents in 2013.
· Posted speed limit of 55 mph through a busy intersection
· Limited visibility for traffic turning left onto Route 522 when vehicles are in the right turn lane from Route 522 to Route 208, due to stop sign’s location
· Increased traffic during spring, summer and early fall due to Lake Anna activities that bring part-time residents and visitors
· New business development at this intersection as well as the surrounding area will increase traffic
· Narrow turn lane on southbound Route 522 to turn left onto Route 208
· Narrow through lane northbound on Route 522
· Limited visibility due to turning vehicles and parked vehicles along Route 522 in front of Dickinson’s Store
· Multiple advertising distractions including electoral signs, community events and local businesses
· Increased traffic through Dickinson’s Store parking lot as drivers attempt to avoid long lines at the intersection

A traffic light would save:

· Thousands of dollars spent with emergency personal & equipment in response, police in response, tow trucks and clean-up crews in response
· Thousands of dollars spent in property damage, medical expense, lost wages and loss of school attendance

A copy of the petition is available for signing at:

– Dickinson’s Store, 5072 Zachary Taylor Hwy, Mineral, Va.
– Hey Gorgeous Boutique, 105 W. Main St, Louisa, Va.
– Chameleon & Co. Salon, 200 Lake Front Dr. Suite 205, Mineral, Va.
– Fish Tales, 13721 Anna Point Lane, Mineral, Va.
– Lake Anna Veterinary Hospital, 11012 Kentucky Springs Rd., Mineral, Va.
– Tractor Hill Equipment, 1770 Mansfield Rd., Mineral, Va.

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