Taking a left turn onto Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard can be frustrating. It can become fatal when pedestrians are involved.
In an effort to keep drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists safe, the town of Chapel Hill and the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) began installation of a new traffic signal at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Longview Street last week.
Better traffic control on this busy road has been a concern of the town for years, but two pedestrian deaths in 2018 brought additional attention to the issue.
James Thomas Keeter, Sr. of Chapel Hill was killed in the northbound lane of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on Feb. 18, and Stephen Daniel Taylor of Chapel Hill was killed in the southbound lane on Jan. 16.
“This isn’t necessarily a direct response to any one incident,” said Ran Northam, Chapel Hill community safety communications specialist. “We’ve known about this spot for a while as a high-risk area. There are two bus stops and this is a four-lane road. It provides some tricky situations for people turning, people on foot, people on bikes.”