What Is News?

Story and photo by Hal Goodtree.

Cary, NC – What is news? We grapple with that question every day. What’s news in Moscow or Maryland is not necessarily of interest to people in Cary (and visa versa).

Breaking News: New Traffic Light on Dixon Street

I love new traffic light stories. It is the epitome of local interest.

The New York Times is not sending a stringer to cover it. The Wall Street Journal couldn’t find it with the aid of GPS.

But if you live or work in downtown Cary, you may find the new traffic light at the corner of W. Chatham and Dixon Streets to be a subject of interest.

Why Dixon Street?

Town, County and State officials conduct traffic studies to determine where traffic lights are most needed.

My wife Lindsey wanted to know “Why Dixon Street and not Cary Parkway and West Chatham, the scene of that horrific accident a few weeks ago?”

A Town Council member explained to her that Dixon Street was under Town jurisdiction. The Intersection at Cary Parkway and West Chatham is under the jurisdiction of the County. It’s a whole lot easier to get a new traffic light when only one supervising authority is involved.

Cost of a Traffic Light

According to azdot.gov:

Traffic signals are much more costly than is commonly realized, even though they represent a sound public investment when justified. A modern signal can cost taxpayers between $80,000 and $100,000 to install – depending on the complexity of the intersection and the characteristics of the traffic using it. On top of this, there is a perpetual cost which is almost never considered – the cost of the electrical power consumed in operating a signalized intersection 24 hours a day. This now averages about $1,400 per year.

Easier Access to the Dump

The town dump, known officially as the Citizens Convenience Center, is located at 313 N. Dixon.

I have never actually heard anyone call it the Citizens Convenience Center. “Hey Steve,” I yell across the driveway at my neighbor, watching him hoist an old kayak onto the roof of his Suburban, “where ya going?”

“The dump,” he says, tying it down.

Nomenclature aside, the facility on Dixon Street is a fine and wonderful place where residents of Cary can deposit yard waste, recyclables and even electronics and furniture. I am a frequent visitor.

Now, my path to and from the dump (er, Citizens Convenience Center) will be safer and less stressful.

And that’s news in Cary, NC.

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