Traffic concerns in downtown Warsaw have long plagued everyone from business owners to employees to those who do business there. But in recent months, city officials have taken a hands-on approach to address the issues and begin to take the steps to ease the woes.
The Warsaw Traffic Commission met this morning to review results of a survey that had been publicized for most of the summer. The survey – which was in both in printed form and available to take online – asked questions such as why people are coming downtown, how long they stay and what they expect in their parking options.
WTC member and Warsaw Common Councilman Mike Klondaris said, “As I read through these results, I saw themes kept jumping out and one of them is signs.” He also said he noticed a suggestion of a company that would help the city with pay to park options, but he was quickly interrupted by Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer.
“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves; we don’t know what we are going to do at this point,” Thallemer told him. “We need to let our committees review the results and work on solutions, then take it to the city council and we’re not going to rush that.”
The surveys were hand-delivered to all downtown businesses and publicized right here on StaceyPageOnline.com, which provided a direct link for anyone wishing to complete the online survey.
Cindy Dobbins, also a member of the WTC and a member of the common council, noted, “I really want to thank the public. We received over 500 responses.”
Among the common suggestions on how to improve downtown parking were extending parking times and keeping business owners and employees from parking in front of or near their place of business. Several people even suggested the city build a parking garage.
Although the survey results were not thoroughly discussed during today’s meeting, WTC President Kip Shuter accepted a motion to table any further discussions while the subcommittees have opportunities to review the results and make some recommendations for improvement.
In other business, the committee briefly discussed a traffic issue occurring at Center Street and Center Street Extended just in front of the Center Center. A current stop sign to the east of the intersection is, according to some, causing traffic problems with near misses and people disregarding the flow of traffic.
WTC member and former Warsaw Police Chief Steve Foster said years ago a roundabout was considered there, but the project never came to fruition. He also said that, at that time, the road was in the county and not a city problem. Since annexation, however, the city has been asked to review the intersection.
Warsaw Public Works Superintendent Lacy Francis pulled a GIS map of the intersection which shows the stop sign is actually on property owned by Indiana Department of Transportation. Thallemer said he would discuss the matter with city planner Jeremy Skinner, who was not at today’s meeting, and see if perhaps moving the entrance to the Center Center would be a viable option.
The matter was tabled for future discussion.
In other business:
- It was noted that “Do Not Block Intersection” signs at Market and Detroit streets, among other major intersections, seem to be working. The congestion problems occur when trains pass through the city.
- Klondaris said he still sees problems with illegal passing and speeding on Ranch Road and asked if a speed bump could be installed. The committee emphatically answered “No.” Speed bumps are not installed by the city because they can cause damage to city vehicles, school buses and personal vehicles. It was noted the Warsaw Police Department is aware of Klondaris’ concerns and will continue to patrol that area.
- Dobbins voiced frustrations over trucks and vans dominating alleyways while they load and unload at several downtown businesses. One area she particularly noted was along Lake Street where a parking lot utilized by Hall & Marose is frequently blocked by delivery vehicles. Warsaw Police say they will monitor the area and issue citations for repeat offenders.
The next meeting of the traffic commission will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5. Meetings are held in the training room at the Warsaw Police Department.