Numbers released by the Tyler Police Department Monday indicated that wrecks on Tyler's Loop 323 and South Broadway are down considerably--16.7% in the aggregate.
From far South Broadway to halfway around each side of the loop, there were 4,947 wrecks in the five years preceding the bulk of TxDOT's median installation project. In the five-year period that followed the number dropped to 4,121.
The biggest drop was on the west loop between Bellwood and Highway 155.
"People were turning left coming into Sam's," Tyler Police Officer Don Martin said. "They were misjudging the speeds of people coming down this hill and they were having bad wrecks."
In the five years before the medians there were 697 wrecks. In the five years that followed it was down to 428.
Now the only left is at a light and everything else has eight feet of raised concrete blocking the way.
Martin said nothing else is this good at forcing people to stop taking chances on the road, a habit he said was exemplified by people's general propensity for ill-advised left turns across oncoming traffic.
"You can stick an officer out here, but you can't leave him out here 24 hours and he can only look so far," Martin said. "So, therefore, it basically forces that driver to do the proper things."
South Broadway in front of the mall is another success story. Before, it was notorious for people cutting out in front of traffic.
The stretch from the loop down to Heritage Drive is down 16% in the crash statistics.
When we asked around in a busy local parking lot Monday, some people said the medians are worth it.
"It kind of helps the safety around here actually because some people around here can't drive that well," Steve Kennedy said. "They cut across. I like it myself. [I] have no problem with it."
Other drivers would rather see them ripped right back out.
"Well used to you could turn just about any time at any place you wanted to without any wait," Roy Greer said.
"They're a pain trying to get from one area to another," Kris Burns said. "They cause more problems than good, I think. It was a lot of money spent that wasn't needed."
There is one area that has gone up in accidents despite the medians: the area immediately surrounding Broadway and the loop. Martin said congestion there has managed to outpace the safety capabilities of the medians.