Maple Street between Church Street and Broadway is less than 300 feet long. But it’s been a big concern of Joy Hayward since she became principal at Holy Family School in Hannibal over a year ago. After meeting with Hayward on Tuesday, the city’s Traffic Committee approved taking additional steps to slow motorists on Maple.
Hayward is concerned about traffic turning north on Maple from Church, a westbound one-way thoroughfare. She contends that a retaining wall that runs along the north side of Church up to Maple limits drivers’ visibility as they turn onto Maple, which could create a hazard for anyone crossing Maple on foot, especially if the vehicle is going above the posted speed limit.
“There’s a very short reaction time,” she said.
According to Hayward, potential problems exist when parents are dropping off students, picking up students, when students are walking to a playground for recess, before and after church services, and during any other church-related activities.
An assortment of options were considered by the Traffic Committee, including making Maple a one-way street from Broadway to Church. That idea failed to gain momentum out of concern for what such an action might have on drivers departing Abel’s Quik Shop, located on the southwest corner of Broadway and Maple.
Also proposed was prohibiting right turns onto Maple from Church, the installation of traffic lights, which could be activated by pedestrians, and a pair of “speed tables,” which are a flat-topped speed hump. Another possibility raised was installing a stop sign at Church and Maple.
Street Superintendent Leon Wallace raised concerns about the use of stop signs to control speed. City Engineer Mark Rees noted that in this instance the intent of the stop signs would not be to slow traffic, but to reduce “pedestrian/vehicle conflicts.”
Ultimately, the Traffic Committee approved the installation of stop signs on Church Street. In addition, a raised cross walk will be created, which will act as a speed table and make pedestrians even more visible.
“This should create a very safe environment,” said City Manager Jeff LaGarce.
Hayward appreciated the Traffic Committee’s quick response to her concerns.
“They were very helpful and cooperative,” she said. “Hopefully we’re now moving in the right direction.”
The proposed changes must now go before the City Council for final approval. The Council’s next meeting is Tuesday, Sept. 4.
This was not the first attempt to deal with the problem. Last November the Council approved a Traffic Committee recommendation to establish a 20-mph school zone on Church Street between 10th and Maple streets.
Page 2 of 2 - “That was our first attempt at alleviating the problem,” said Hayward, noting that the speed limit change did not improve the situation much.