If you believe the amount of traffic around Colonial Mall Valdosta has skyrocketed in the past 10 years, you're not imagining things.

According to Valdosta City Engineer Von Shipman, traffic loads on Norman Drive, where the mall and a wide range of other businesses and restaurants are located, are up 71 percent from 1992.

We like the fact that this section of Lowndes County attracts so many people -- but traffic equals congestion. Factor in the traffic each day from Lowndes High School and Valdosta State University students, and you've got a real case of clutter.

Exiting from either side of Norman Drive within the mall area requires an investment of time guaranteed to frustrate busy shoppers who are eager to get on the road and look for another deal. The speeds at which some drivers take the curves on the busy road also don't help.

Changes for traffic on Norman Drive have been in order, and we're pleased that our local government is responding. The city instituted new rules Monday that prohibit left turns from the mall on to Norman. Also, drivers are no longer allowed to drive straight or turn left from the two mall exits.

Given the layout of the business area, these changes are, as Shipman told The Valdosta Daily Times recently, the best solution given the circumstances. We hope the city will monitor traffic in other busy areas and pursue effective remedies to congestion woes.

It shouldn't take motorists long to get adjusted to the new rules on Norman -- certainly no longer than it takes to turn left from the mall at lunchtime.

Now, if we can just get drivers to realize that posted speed limits aren't just suggestions.



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