By David Slone
WARSAW — With the roundabout construction continuing at the intersection of Argonne Road, Winona Avenue, Kings Highway and Park Avenue, other roads are seeing an increase in traffic. This was a topic of discussion at the Warsaw Traffic Safety Commission meeting Wednesday, June 7.
Warsaw Traffic Safety Commission Traffic Administrator Lance Grubbs said they’ve fielded some complaints about the rerouted traffic using McKinley Street leading to an increase of vehicle accidents at the intersection of McKinley and Market streets.
Warsaw Police Department Capt. Joel Beam presented some crash data on the intersection and said there were 16 crashes in the last five years at the intersection. Most of them were personal property damage accidents, with a couple alcohol-related and only one person said they thought it was a four-way stop. Traffic going east/west on Market Street does not stop.
He said Street Department Superintendent Dustin Dillon and his crew put out more signage near the intersection. Solar-powered blinking light stop signs also have been temporarily put up at the intersection for North and South McKinley streets.
They are seeing an uptick of traffic on McKinley, he said, because of the construction on Argonne Road and the roundabout.
“So, the crashes that were pretty much happening on Argonne Road have switched over to this area,” Beam said, adding that there is an uptick in crashes in the general area. “At that one intersection, there is an uptick.”
The good news, he said, is that the roundabout project is almost done and some of those roads could be opened by June 16.
City engineer Aaron Ott said that was correct, based on the information they know right now.
Beam said the uptick in traffic problems at McKinley and Market is a temporary problem that hopefully will be resolved in about two weeks. He said they could keep an eye on it after the roundabout is open.
Dillon said besides the blinking stop signs at both intersections of Market and McKinley streets for the north/south traffic, the street department also put them up at Jefferson and McKinley where cross traffic does not stop.
He said the blinking stop signs are a tool they’re using and they are moveable to other locations in the city where the traffic safety commission may think they’re needed temporarily. Dillon also believes the issue at McKinley and Market is temporary due to the Anchorage Road and roundabout construction.
After the commission’s discussion on the intersection, Grubbs said, “So the complaint that was there was valid.” He said Dillon did a good job of addressing the concern with the extra signage and he appreciated that.
Beam said there really isn’t any obstruction there on McKinley to block a driver’s view of traffic coming on Market. Sometimes drivers don’t look all the way because they’re in such a hurry.
Dillon also reported the sign on the corner of Winona Avenue near Hand Avenue that said “Truck Entrance” has been removed.
At the May meeting, Councilman Jack Wilhite told the traffic safety commission that a person approached him about a problem he has seen for years on Winona Avenue close to the intersection of Hand Avenue. Semis driving west on Winona will attempt to make a right-hand turn on Hand but then come up against the railroad trestle they can’t drive under. Since there is no place to turn around, the semis back up onto Winona.
Dillon told the commission about the “Truck Entrance” sign and Beam said that sign should be removed.
Wednesday, Dillon said he reached out to representatives of the Indiana Department of Transportation and they came to Warsaw, looked at everything and the “Truck Entrance” sign has been removed. He said he hasn’t heard of any instances of semis turning into there since, but INDOT said if there are, for him to reach out and they’ll take “the next step.”
Grubbs asked if INDOT had an explanation as to why the sign was put up in the first place. Dillon said they didn’t go into detail but he believed it was done by request at some point in time.
Dillon also told the commission about the speed on Shady Lane.
He said there used to 25 mph signs out there at one time, but they were not covered under city ordinance so therefore they weren’t enforceable. The correct speed limit out there under ordinance currently is 30 mph, so Dillon said they went ahead — per a resident’s request — and added the 30 mph signs on Shady Lane at three different locations.
In order to reduce the speed down to 25 mph, Dillon said the traffic safety commission would have to approve that, and then that recommendation would go to the Warsaw Common Council for final approval.
Beam said the WPD has increased its patrols out in that area. Just based off radar, he said they didn’t see many speeders at all. Most vehicles were under 30 mph.
Dillon said, “I actually went out and drove that at 30 mph. It seems pretty quick for where you’re going. I don’t see most people driving 30 mph down that road.”
Commission member Connie Fribley presented a concern to the board for its next meeting.
She said she was approached by Tina Phipps, who lives at 223 W. Winona Ave. Her home and business is at that location and she said there’s been several accidents at the corner of South Washington Street and Winona Avenue that have caused her some property damage to her business and landscaping.
Phipps wasn’t able to attend the June meeting, but Fribley suggested to her that she come to the July meeting. Fribley said that would give the commission time to do some research on crashes in that area.
“Ultimately, her request was a guardrail, but I don’t think that’s something that is available,” Fribley said. “That was her request.”
By sheer coincidence, Beam said he has the speed board up right now in that location. He didn’t know there was an issue there, but he can bring the data to the July meeting.
Fribley said Phipps is in the process now of replacing her sign and landscaping.
In the last bit of business, the commission tentatively rescheduled their July 5 meeting to July 12.