No left turn?

A possible solution is in the works for the woefully inefficient stoplight at the corner of Main Street and Wayne Avenue in Downtown Waynesboro. You’re going to like it. Because it was supposed to have been implemented three years ago.
City manager Mike Hamp is recommending that left turns be eliminated at the intersection. He broached the idea with City Council last night to get the feedback of council members who have in turn been trying to get City Hall moving on some solution for several months.

“It’s part of the original plan, and it’s unfortunate that the change wasn’t initiated when the change in physical appearance of the intersection was accomplished,” Hamp said at a work session for City Council Wednesday night.

The change, Hamp said, had been contemplated back during the design phase of the downtown-streetscape project. Work on phase one of the streetscape project from the intersection of Main and Arch Avenue to the intersection of Main and Wayne wrapped in late 2005. It was known well ahead of time that the installation of pedestrian bumpouts at the intersection of Main and Wayne would force the city’s hand in terms of traffic flows at the intersection.

“What happened is we lost the capacity in road width to have a dedicated right-turn lane. So your through traffic and your traffic desiring to make a left westbound on Main to make a left turn onto Wayne are in a single lane of traffic,” Hamp said.

When the streetscape plan was adopted, “it was commonly understood,” Hamp said, among staff and key decisionmakers on City Council and downtown stakeholders, “that when we accomplished this, the let-turn option would have to be eliminated,” Hamp said.

For some reason, though, what everybody knew had to be done was never followed up on. The first phase of the streetscape project was completed, “and we weren’t willing, or we forget, or however it came to pass, we didn’t deal with the left-turn issue. And so we’ve tried to limp along allowing left turns,” Hamp said.

“Recognizing that change in the center of downtown will be difficult for some, I think that in the spirit of efficiency, and given our own transportation network in the downtown area, that that’s the right thing to do and the efficient thing to do. And quite honestly, it would be the thing that I would tell you to do when the day comes that we complete the next phase of the streetscape,” Hamp said.

I said you’d like this news.

 

– Story by Chris Graham


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