The Walmart at Garrett Crossing along Mebane Oaks Road has been, in many ways, a tremendous boon for the city of Mebane.
The presence of Walmart, one of America’s most prosperous retailers, anchoring a large shopping center along one of Mebane’s busiest thoroughfares not only adds to Mebane’s amenities for its residents. It also adds significantly to the city’s rapidly-growing tax base.
But as any local resident will tell you, getting in and out of the Garrett Crossing Walmart is much more challenging than anything that actually happens in Walmart, or any of the local stores in the area.
Due to an unfortunate configuration leading in and out of Garrett Crossing, local motorists are often left scratching their heads for possibilities to improve the traffic flows in the shopping center.
Heading into Garrett Crossing from Mebane Oaks Road, vehicles go down approximately a hundred feet before a large bank of grass and trees presents itself, running along much of the length of the parking lot parallel to the Walmart, several hundred feet ahead.
This bank of trees, and the streets that have been plugged in alongside it, are a cumbersome maze of confusion.
If a vehicle wishes to stay to the right, traveling down to the Walmart garden center, or to visit Zaxby’s or Taco Bell, congestion is relatively minimal.
However, if a vehicle wishes to turn left, into the area that includes Dollar Tree, Radio Shack, Highway 55 Burgers, and Great Clips, it’s an entirely different ordeal altogether. And that’s where the fun begins.
First is the left turn. With cars often whizzing up and down the main entrance into Garrett Crossing, making this initial left turn is often a challenge. Once the left turn is navigated, a driver then has to make a weird sequence of right and left turns to get around the bank of trees.
On the opposite side, for those motorists leaving Garrett Crossing, there is the same ridiculous configuration of turns in and out of the shopping center before the big right-hand merge that has to take place at the stoplight turning lanes.
With cars coming in two different directions, this particular merge has resulted in multiple fender benders in recent months and years.
There are no stop signs – only a couple of yield signs that seem almost hidden in the mayhem of the configuration of cars coming through in three different directions.
The only saving grace is that the cars are moving relatively slowly compared to highway and freeway speeds. It seems unlikely there would ever be a high-speed accident within Garrett Crossing that would result in a fatality.
However, the fact that on a good day it’s highly challenging to navigate through the Walmart parking lot, and on a bad day it’s downright treacherous, deserves some local attention.
Whose responsibility would it be to make improvements to this area, which is the epitome of what some consultants like to call “traffic pressure?”
Is it up to the North Carolina Department of Transportation? Walmart? Mebane city officials?
Exactly who can relieve this area of the congestion of its current setup with some common-sense repositioning of the parking lot, surrounding streets and sidewalks?
With Mebane growing at a rapid pace, it would make a lot of sense for each of those entities to work together and find ways to relieve the traffic pressure at Garrett Crossing. Because as they say, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.