Anderson Street to stay one-way
Despite a 40-signature petition urging the conversion of East Anderson Street in Greencastle from one-way eastbound into two-way traffic between Bloomington and Wood streets, the status quo will prevail.
The Greencastle City Council, during its September meeting, took no action on the petition signed largely by residents of the new Miller Asbury Apartment development at the old Miller School.
“In order to fix a problem,“ City Councilman Gary Lemon said, summarizing the Council stance, “you’ve got to have a problem. And I don’t see one.”
The petition for the change had been hand-delivered to City Hall and Mayor Bill Dory by Carolyn Nichols, representing 40 persons who had signed in support of two-way traffic, ostensibly to simplify access to the Miller Asbury apartments from the east side of town.
Of the 40 signatures, the mayor said 21 were Anderson Street residents (possibly all from Miller Asbury), while 19 others showed addresses elsewhere in Greencastle and even as far away as Cloverdale.
“We received a petition,” Council President Adam Cohen said, “but there is nothing to vote on.”
While no one representing the group requesting the change was in attendance at the September Council meeting, approximately a dozen Anderson Street residents opposed to removing the one-way east designation were there. They presented their own petition, signed by 39 people, all residents of Anderson Street.
Anderson Street resident Dan Merrell represented the group opposed to the suggestion of a two-way traffic change. He reported that 27 of the 33 single-family units along Anderson Street were against the notion.
Of the six remaining units, one is vacant, two couldn’t be contacted despite repeated attempts and three chose to stay neutral on the issue, Merrell said.
“We love our street,” Merrell said of his neighbors. “That’s something rare in today’s society.”
He noted that safety concerns with constant foot traffic through the area, particularly in and out of the Robe-Ann Park entrance, should outweigh the convenience of creating a two-way street.
Mayor Dory said the original petition urging a two-way street was discussed at the city department head meeting recently and public safety personnel all agreed it was better left one-way with parking along only one side.
That alone was enough to convince Councilman Cohen there was no need for change.
“If public safety doesn’t think it’s a good idea, I’m not going to vote for it,” he assured.
Mayor Dory also told the Council he had received an email from Miller Asbury developer Chuck Heintzelman, who “wanted to make it clear it was his residents’ exercising their rights” and not him requesting a change.
The mayor said the developer “knew full well when he did his project that Anderson Street would remain one-way.”
Meanwhile, the Council also approved a number of temporary street closings, the most significant of which is the closing of South Jackson Street between Seminary and Berry streets on Saturday, Nov. 11 during the Monon Bell football game between DePauw University and Wabash College.
DePauw athletic director Stevie Baker-Watson told that Council that a crowd of 8,500 is anticipated for the rivalry game, and many of those spectators will be crossing Jackson Street on foot, creating a safety concern if traffic were to continue at its normal pattern.
The Seminary-to-Berry closing represents a condensed version of what had been presented to the Main Street Greencastle group earlier, City Attorney Laurie Hardwick pointed out. The initial proposal was to close South Jackson between the square and Veterans Highway, she said.
While the Council ultimately approved the Seminary-to-Berry closing for the period 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, it wasn’t without reservation.
Councilman Mark Hammer said he didn’t like that the closure would go all the way to Berry Street, suggesting that the southern end of the closure be the south end of the parking lots at Blackstock Stadium.
It was also noted that Nov. 11 is, of course, Veterans Day, and the Greencastle VFW Post is located within the South Jackson Street area that will be closed for 9-1/2 hours.
Prior to voting on Councilman Steve Fields’ motion to approve the DePauw closure and traffic plan for the Monon Bell Game, Council President Cohen made an addition to the motion that DePauw must take care of all VFW needs in getting its people in and out of the post on Veterans Day.
The motion passed unanimously.
City Police Chief Tom Sutherlin pointed out that DePauw will be providing the necessary manpower to monitor the intersections and parking lots, not the City Police.
Fire Chief John Burgess said he had no problem with the street closing and how his units will need to navigate around it.
“I’m sure the first time there’ll be some hiccups,” he said, “but we’ll make it work.”
DePauw was also granted permission for the temporary closures of Madison Street, between Hanna and Hill streets, on the west side and Hanna Street, between Indiana and Jackson, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on all home football Saturdays of Sept. 23, Oct. 7, Oct. 21, Oct. 28 and Nov. 11.
In another temporary street closing approved, Highridge Avenue from McKim Observatory down and east to Highwood Avenue will be closed for the 10th annual Highridge/Highwood Neighborhood Oktoberfest on Saturday, Oct. 7 (rain date Sunday, Oct. 8) from 4-11 p.m.