Residents balk at city plan to alter Division traffic

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 22, 2000

Area residents say they oppose restricting left turns off Halls Ferry Road onto Division Street as proposed by Police Chief Mitchell Dent.

About 12 residents from Division and Wisteria Drive were at a public hearing Monday afternoon at City Hall to have their say.

The Mayor and Aldermen voted to take the comments under advisement and announce a decision at the Sept. 8 board meeting.

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Dent proposed two possible solutions to traffic problems at Division in addition to restricting left turns from Halls Ferry Road.

His other suggestions were clearing the right-of-way to increase visibility, or an additional turning lane.

“These are just possibilities. We are open to suggestions,” Dent said.

Nancy Olson, who has lived on Wisteria Drive for 16 years, said motorists traveling north on Halls Ferry need to be aware the intersection is there.

“I strongly oppose (eliminating left turns into the residential area) because it would take us longer to get home and longer for emergency vehicles to get to us,” Olson said.

Janet Cappaert and her husband, Carl Cappaert, have lived on Wisteria for 37 years.

“I think some kind of flashing light letting people know that turn is coming up would help,” Janet Cappaert said.

South Ward Alderman Sam Habeeb cited speeding as a concern.

“I think if we enforced the speed limit, that would help a lot,” he said.

The speed limit on Halls Ferry is 30 mph, but Dent reported that the average speed of motorists on the road is 34.8 mph.

The public hearing was scheduled after Dent addressed problems with Division Street during the July 25 board meeting.

Six crashes have been reported at Division and Halls Ferry Road in the past four months. In each instance, a northbound car on Halls Ferry stopped to turn left onto Division and was struck from behind.

Many heads were nodding in agreement when George Joy, a 44-year resident of Division, cited a need to restrict parking.

“When you turn onto Division from Halls Ferry there are cars parked on the right side of the street that get in the way,” he said.

Division Street resident Winky Freeman said getting to the root of the problem is the solution.

“People are not controlling their vehicles. You have to change human behavior to prevent accidents,” Freeman said.