By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — The Warsaw Traffic Safety Commission continued discussion on Dunkin’s drive-thru traffic affecting traffic flow on East Center Street during a meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 2.
The business, at 2234 E. Center St., Warsaw, is in compliance with all city ordinances; however, the issue appears to stem from higher demand than the business can handle. When Dunkin’s drive-up window traffic is backed up, traffic becomes blocked on Center Street.
City Planner Jeremy Skinner and Traffic Safety Commissioner Lance Grubbs both met with Dunkin’ management regarding the issue. During the conversation, it was suggested that the city’s street department would put up a “Do Not Block Street” sign at the business and that Dunkin’ would post a portable sign.
Street Department Superintendent Dustin Dillon and Warsaw Police Department Captain Joel Beam both spoke with Laura Slusher, a traffic safety engineer with Purdue University, about four options to help further alleviate the issue.
The first concept involves eliminating parking spaces on the west side of Dunkin,’ with the second concept being a two-lane drive-thru that would merge into one.
“That may create more confusion,” said Dillon regarding the second option.
The third option would close off the west entrance into the building’s parking area, and the fourth would have vehicles use an alley near Dunkin’ and circle around.
“But that could turn into more of a backup than it’s worth,” said Dillon.
Beam also said he would hate for officers to issue citations for stopped vehicles on Center Street.
“If they do something in their parking lot, that will fix the problem,” said Beam. “I think signage on Center Street is a temporary bandage. It’s still not solving the problem.”
The commission voted to present the four options to Dunkin’ management and continue discussion on the matter at their October meeting.
In other business, the commission addressed a concern from a resident in the Rolling Hills addition about decreasing the area’s speed limit. The request is for North and South Gilliam Drive, Deer Trail and Crest Lane Drive’s speed limit to be decreased from 30 mph to 20 mph.
“I think the question is ‘What is an acceptable speed limit in a residential subdivision?’ said Skinner. “If 30 is not the answer, then I think we’re changing it for every residential subdivision in the city.”
Grubbs said the residents haven’t seen people speeding and that there haven’t been any accidents or additional complaints. The conversation was tabled.
An issue regarding parking on both sides of Pine Cone Lane was also dropped. A resident expressed concern about there being no room for emergency vehicles, mail carriers and snowplows to get through. The commission said mailing a letter to each property owner on the road isn’t a sustainable answer and that there has only been one complaint.
For new business, Tim Saylor, a development coordinator who has a project with frontage along North Union Street between Center and Fort Wayne Streets, requested that North Union Street return to two-way traffic flow. Saylor was not present at the meeting. The road is one-way travel due to the former Gateway Education Center being there.
The commission noted that there are very few driveways on Union Street and as a result, residents park their vehicles on the street. Members said they would need more information from Saylor on his proposal.
Matters related to school traffic were also tabled until the commission’s October meeting. Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education Dr. David Robertson requested a yield sign at Edgewood Middle School near the parent drop-off area, as well as assistance with backed-up traffic on Glad Street at Harrison Elementary School. The commission moved to discuss the matters further with Warsaw Community Schools’ administrative staff.
Warsaw Traffic Safety Commission’s next meeting is at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7.