|Blue Devil Blvd. to be restriped to assist traffic flow|
|Wednesday, October 10, 2012|
By SABRINA GARRETT
The Wilson Post
A plan to restripeBlue Devil Boulevardto allow two lanes in and one lane out will serve as a temporary solution to Lebanon High School’s traffic issues that have caused concern for the safety of weekday South Hartmann Drive travelers.
Blue Devil Boulevard will be restriped from Oct. 15 through Jan. 1 to change the inflow pattern “so that the northbound turn lane would be able to turn and the southbound would be able to enter without having to go one at a time,” Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead explained. “This will better empty out the backlog of cars on Hartmann Driveand help to address the safety issues that are concerning the city.”
Gillian Fischbach of Fischbach Transportation said a study conducted showed that the ratio of parents dropping their students off to student parkers was equal. “It is about 300 to 300,” she said.
Fischbach’s colleague Jim Harrison noted that in the afternoon the same problem does not exist because of the timing in which parents arrive. “Some get there early and some are later,” he said, adding that the timing allows the traffic flow to go more smoothly.
In their studies, Fischbach said they looked at multiple ways to improve circulation.
“What we have found is that the southbound right turn into the school and the right turn out of the school are twice as high as we expected – which tells us that the drop offs are higher than expected,” she said. “The circulation is moving slowly right now. Our initial concern was that the signal was not handling the volume – but it is handling the volume.”
Lebanon Planning Commission in a special meeting Tuesday night shot down a proposal made by Wilson County Director of Schools Mike Davis, who was not present due to another meeting engagement, to open the rear emergency exit ontoHickory Ridge Road to help alleviate the traffic problem. TheHickory Ridge Road exit is locked at all times and is only used for emergency vehicles.
Under his suggestion, parents dropping off their children would be directed through the emergency exit, turning left onto Hickory Ridge Road from 7:20 to 7:45 a.m.
Prior to voting, Hickory Ridge residents, such as Claire Carter, voiced their concerns. “I am delighted that we have a new school here, but I am disappointed in some aspects. I want to see the traffic flow smoothly. You cannot imagine how many cars have been in my yard,” she told the commission.
Planners voted no to the plan on the principle of keeping their promise to the people.
Commission member Beulah Garrett reminded those in attendance of the promise they had made to the citizens. “I will make a vow that I will never vote for that gate to be opened. It is city property – but you make a promise and you have to stick to that vow.”
For now, planners said they hope the temporary restriping from will assist in the traffic flow issue and keep both South Hartmann and Hickory Ridge Road safe for drivers.