The recent blocking of a street near Hannibal-LaGrange University has had the desired effect on the campus. However, at least two nearby residents are not happy, which will likely bring about another traffic flow change in that neighborhood in the future.
Earlier this month the Hannibal City Council approved a Traffic Committee recommendation to place a concrete barrier and “road closed” barricade on Muir Street, just east of Pulliam Avenue. The step was taken to stop non-college traffic from using HLGU’s campus as a shortcut between Palmyra Road and Route 168.
During Thursday’s Traffic Committee at city hall, Al Higdon, director of public safety for the university, reported that by and large the road block has had the desire effects of reducing traffic and slowing vehicle speeds on campus.
“We’ve accomplished what we set out to do,” said the former Hannibal police chief.
The barricade has also had some undesired effects. Two College Avenue residents, who rely on rear access to their properties, now find themselves being forced to use campus roadways in order to reach their homes.
Ron Walden, one of the property owners inconvenienced by the change, told the Traffic Committee Thursday morning that he was not asking for the barricades to be taken down, just moved further west.
“People breaking the law shouldn’t have a bearing on my access to a public street,” said Walden, referring to motorists who use the campus as a shortcut.
Walden, who believes the current road blocks have lowered the value of his property, indicated he wants to be a “good neighbor” to the university but doesn’t feel he should be inconvenienced.
The proposal approved by committee members will see the road block moved west, so that Pulliam can again be accessed from the east by vehicles turning onto Muir from Wyaconda Street or College Avenue.
The shifting of the barricades may not please everyone. Student drivers residing in apartments on Pulliam will now be forced to reach the nearby campus via Palmyra Road.
“The girls in the apartments won’t like it, but we can’t make everyone happy,” said Kyle Brennemann, HLGU’s dean of student development.
Leon Wallace, Street Department superintendent, expressed concern speeding might become an issue on College Avenue until students adjust to having a further distance to drive to reach class.
Another concern is what can be done to prevent determined motorists from driving around the barricades, as happened on Muir once the recent snow began to melt. Wallace proposed a guardrail. Another committee jokingly recommended land mines.
City Manager Jeff LaGarce proposed having police make that an area of focus, at least for a day or two, after the upcoming change is implemented.
Page 2 of 2 - The proposal to shift the barricades will go before the City Council at its Tuesday, March 19, meeting.