Don’t look for any traffic signals to disappear along Broadway in Hannibal anytime soon.
Don’t look for any traffic signals to disappear along Broadway in Hannibal anytime soon. During Thursday morning’s Traffic Committee meeting at city hall a proposal to remove signals at two intersections was tabled.
Ray Luhring of the Board of Public Works, explained that the suggestion to remove signals at 10th and Seventh streets was made solely out of financial considerations. He reported the cost to purchase the materials necessary to redo the signals at 10th Street will cost around $18,000. The expense for upgrading the signals at Seventh Street is estimated at $10,000.
The total cost of upgrading those signals, the inner workings of which Luhring described as “obsolete,” could be higher if wiring beneath Broadway at those intersections must be replaced. Such work would entail digging up the pavement, according to Luhring.
Speaking in behalf of the Police Department, Lt. John Zerbonia expressed reservations concerning the proposal.
“If you take out the signals and there are no stops, it will become a race track up and down Broadway. Safety-wise, you’re asking for problems,” he said.
Zerbonia added that if the city’s efforts to revitalize the downtown area are successful, it’s possible that in a few years requests could be heard to re-install signal systems.
Leon Wallace, street superintendent, added that it would be more cost efficient to upgrade the current signals at 10th and Seventh streets now than to have to start from scratch in the future.
City Engineer Mark Rees expressed an open-minded position regarding the proposal.
“I’m not opposed to removing them if they’re not necessary,” he said.
Overall, however, the request was not embraced by the committee.
“Seventh and 10th streets (at Broadway) are two of our busiest intersections. On days when there’s a big court case there’s a lot of traffic,” said Wallace, noting the 10th Street intersection is adjacent to the Marion County Courthouse.
Committee member Susan Osterhout pointed out that a number of senior citizen motorists utilize the 10th Street intersection when leaving the nearby nutrition center because of the signals.
City Manager Jeff LaGarce also voiced “concerns about removing the (traffic signal) lights.” However, he did not want to dismiss the request of a city agency without giving it full consideration.
To gauge public sentiment, Rees proposed an “experiment” where the signals at 10th and Seventh streets would be set on red flash for a month. During that time the public’s input would be sought.
Zerbonia recommended having both traffic volume and speed studies conducted. However, now is not a good time to be counting vehicles on Broadway.
“Summertime is when traffic is higher,” said Zerbonia.
The Traffic Committee plans to revisit the issue next spring.