Last updated: August 11. 2014 10:30PM - 436 Views
By - cbozarth@civitasmedia.com



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Jacksonville City Council discussed numerous traffic concerns Monday, including an ordinance designed to increase student safety at Turner Junior High School.


Using the emergency clause, aldermen passed a measure that now prohibits parking and stopping vehicles on the west side of Lincoln Avenue from Sherwood Eddy Drive to Grandview Avenue from 8 a.m to 4 p.m. on school days.


To pass the measure in time for the beginning of school next week, alderman unanimously approved using the emergency clause to change the ordinance without requiring a second vote at the next council meeting.


“That will be enforced immediately as school starts,” City Attorney Dan Beard said. “They don’t want kids to cross traffic to be picked up by car, so they’ll have to do so on the east side of the street.”


Also on the agenda was a collection of traffic changes that were put forward by the planning and public works committee. The entire ordinance was put on hold because of concerns about placing a four-way stop on a low-traffic street.


East and west traffic on Kentucky street currently must yield at South Mauvaisterre. Alderman Lori Oldenettel said a resident near that intersection attended the committee meeting to complain about speeding on South Mauvaisterre through that intersection and requested it be made a four-way stop.


Alderman Steve Warmowski said it was his understanding that stop signs were not to be used to control speed. Warmowski also added that, having seen the intersection, he found there was barely any traffic going through it.


Aldermen Marcy Patterson and Oldenettel said they were inclined to believe a resident’s opinion of his or her neighborhood’s traffic and, if the resident attended the committee meeting to voice a concern then, there was likely an issue that needed to be addressed.


Aldermen suggested making it a two-way stop, rather than a yield. Since Mauvaisterre Street was likely to be the more trafficked street, though, the concern of speeding was unlikely to be resolved.


Warmowski asked that the issue be tabled, allowing time for traffic at the intersection to be studied. All aldermen agreed to postpone it.


“We just can’t put up a stop sign whenever someone asks,” Warmowski said. “We need to put them where they belong. And I don’t think one belongs there.”


“But the people who live there disagree with you,” Patterson said. “The people who sit there and watch their children disagree with you.”


Other items in the ordinance included a change that would remove an overnight parking ban downtown. Aldermen agreed that prohibiting parking from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. was likely encouraging incidents of drunk driving instead of allowing people to take a cab or bus home from a bar.


Though it would be some time before the ordinance passes, Mayor Andy Ezard said, the signs prohibiting overnight parking have already been taken down.


The ordinance also shortens the 20 mile per hour zone on streets leading into and out of the square, and allows no parking on one side of Clarke Drive near Eisenhower Elementary School — hoping to keep students out of the street during pick-up and drop-off hours.


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Cody Bozarth can be reached at (217) 245-6121, ext. 1223, or on Twitter @JCnews_Cody.


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