HANNIBAL | The restricting of on-street parking during school hours on Bird Street at Mark Twain Elementary School in Hannibal was a point of consideration during a recent meeting of the Hannibal Traffic Committee.
Traffic congestion on Bird Street during times when students are being dropped off before school starts and picked up after the school day prompted the discussion.
“The way people park on the street, when you pop up over the hill there are always cars there and if you meet somebody it could potentially be bad,” said Edie Graupman of the city's Department of Public Works, who was serving as the traffic committee's secretary.
It was not believed that eliminating on-street parking on Bird Street by the school would impose a major inconvenience for residents who live in the school zone.
“There is off-street parking available there so people can park behind the houses,” Graupman said. “If cars are not parked there (on Bird Street) you can have a steady flow in both lanes and there would not be that issue of cars potentially hitting head on.”
The limiting of parking in specific areas during certain times is not a new strategy, according to Lt. Jennifer Grote of the Hannibal Police Department.
“It would be something similar to what is done in other areas where there is no parking allowed between this time and this time when school would be in session,” she said during the traffic committee meeting.
Before taking action that would limit on-street parking near the school on Bird Street committee members agreed that more information is needed.
“We can get with the (Mark Twain Elementary School) principal and talk to them (school district officials) and see what they are hearing and get their recommendations,” said Andy Dorian, the city's director of central services, during the meeting.
“I would think the teachers and principal, if there was a problem, would have already said something to us. They would know if there have been any close calls,” said Code Enforcement Officer Susan Osterhout, who is a member of the traffic committee.
Parking on Bird Street by the elementary school was not the only issue up for consideration by the traffic committee. According to Dorian, calls have been received at city hall regarding speeding vehicles in the same area.
Grote reported that HPD had conducted a pair of four-day traffic studies on Bird Street in 2017.
“The data from 2017 did not provide any sufficient reason to make changes to how traffic was being handled in the neighborhood. There are no significant speeding issues there that would indicate we need to do speed bumps, stop signs, lower the speed limit, or anything like that,” Grote said. “If they wanted to wait we could do one (traffic study) again, but there hasn't been a lot of dynamic changes to the area as far as new businesses or residential changes.”
Rich Dauma, representing the street department on the traffic committee, proposed moving the “school zone”sign farther east from the school on Bird Street.
“It doesn't decrease the speed (limit), but if it is down over the hill a little ways people will see it sooner,” he said.