Traffic counts, parking irregularity affect Franklin Street issues
East Franklin Street, with its persistent parking and traffic issues, wasn't the only city street to get attention at the May meeting of the Greencastle City Council.
Franklin Street, of course, prompted the most discussion after recent public pleas from citizens to consider a four-way stop at the Vine Street intersection and possibly eliminate parking (potentially east of College Avenue to Indianapolis Road).
Neither of those matters is exactly settled yet, Mayor Bill Dory told the Council when it raised questions about the issues.
However, the prospect of a four-way stop at Franklin and Vine doesn't seem too likely after hearing the results of a traffic count conducted last week and listening to City Attorney Laurie Hardwick's follow-up report.
Mayor Dory noted that a traffic count conducted by Greencastle Department of Public Works Supt. Brad Phillips produced statistics "well below the 6,000 cars (vehicles per day) required for a four-way stop;"
The traffic count was done from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on a recent weekday, Dory said, and produced fewer than 2,000 vehicles converging at that somewhat confusing intersection where Franklin traffic stops and Vine Street traffic does not.
"We could be generous and say another thousand more (from 4 p.m. to midnight)," the mayor suggested, "but that's still well below that 6,000 threshold."
Councilman Dave Murray, whose office is on the north side of the courthouse square, said more than pure numbers of vehicles is involved in making that intersection dangerous.
"People come up to that intersection very timidly," he said, suggesting traffic is only likely to increase with businesses like the new Wasser Brewing Co. brew pub scheduled to open in the vicinity.
"And as someone who travels that area quite often," Murray added, "I wouldn't let traffic counts alone dictate matters."
However, Attorney Hardwick explained that the 6,000-vehicle threshold is a state regulation for placement of new stopsigns, as dictated by the Uniform Manual of Traffic Control.
"Even though it's a city street?" Murray asked.
Meanwhile, the question of parking along East Franklin Street that was raised earlier this year is still being studied by department heads, Mayor Dory reported.
"It's a work in progress," Dory responded to a question from Councilman Steve Fields, noting that part of the difficulty in pinning down the problem areas is that parking along that section of Franklin Street is "kind of intermittent."
Discussions about Franklin Street sparked dialogue about other areas of town.
Fourth Ward Councilman Tyler Wade said he has received complaints about cars speeding through the Southwood Village neighborhood near Greencastle Christian Church.
He asked it if were possible to consider lowering the speed limit there from 30 mph.
Again City Attorney Hardwick threw cold water on the issue, reminding the Council of the issue that surfaced on East Seminary Street between Wood and Bloomington streets about 10 years ago. Residents in that area asked for a 20-mph speed limit to slow drivers cutting through their neighborhood. They were denied.
If that were to be allowed, the city attorney said, the Council would have had to address the lowering of speeds on all other city streets as well.
"There are plenty of others," Council President Adam Cohen interjected.
Meanwhile, Councilman Mark Hammer, taking note of a sign along South Jackson Street that warns drivers of their requirement to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk at Hanna Street, suggested the need for such signage elsewhere in town.
He would like to see similar signage at crosswalks used around the local schools, while Councilman Murray suggested such a move would "be great for traffic around the courthouse too."
That remains another matter to be looked into by city officials.