BUCKHANNON – The Consolidated Public Works Board voted 3-1 Thursday to modify a previous decision that made Traders Alley a one-way street from Milkman Lane to Main Street.
The CPWB voted on Thursday to change that decision by making the proposed one-way section shorter.
The change involves designating Traders Alley as a one-way street from the building in which Three-Quarter Café and the Lascaux Micro-Theater are housed to Traders Alley’s intersection with Main Street.
Previously, the CPWB had voted to make Traders Alley one-way from its intersection with Milkman Lane to its intersection with Main Street.
Mayor David McCauley said people have noted safety concerns regarding the alley, and specifically vehicles traveling up the alley to its intersection with Main Street.
“A number of folks have levied concerns about pedestrian safety because not everybody who goes up Traders Alley goes five miles an hour like they should, and it’s created some safety concerns,” McCauley said.
During a previous meeting, the board agreed to have owner of the Three Quarter Café and Lascaux Micro-Theater, Bryson VanNostrand, who is also the city architect, to come and speak to the board about possible solutions.
“I hear people talking about the possibility to make Traders Alley one-way I don’t agree with that at all,” VanNostrand said. “I would say that turning Traders Alley one way is a hardship to me and my tenants that use my building or property or parking.”
“I guess I would say or ask the question, ‘is this a perceived problem or is this a real problem?’” VanNostrand continued. “I have been using that parking lot of Traders Alley since 1999. So, that would be 20 years, pretty much on at least a five-days-a-week basis.”
VanNostrand said he cannot recall a time where someone was injured due to people exiting Traders Alley onto Main Street.
“To my knowledge, no one’s ever been hurt at the sidewalk level,” VanNostrand said. “Now, that may not be true. But in my 20 years there, I’ve never heard of someone actually getting hurt. I’m sure that there have been plenty of people that might have been near-miss type arrangements on the path because that’s where the complaints come from, but I haven’t ever heard of anyone ever getting hurt. So, I’m not sure it’s a problem that needs addressed.”
Member of the Consolidated Public Works Board Nancy Shobe said she disagreed with VanNostrand.
“The particular situation here is, you’ve got to be pulled out there so far before you can see traffic, that’s the problem with that intersection,” Shobe said. “I don’t agree with you, Bryson, about that. I mean, maybe there haven’t been any accidents, but there’s been near-misses because I’m one of them.”
McCauley said they should make a change before someone gets hurt.
“I don’t think the triggering mechanism ought to be waiting until somebody gets hurt,” McCauley said. “I hear you, and I’m not aware of anybody ever being struck at that intersection. But I’ve seen some folks race out of there, I concur with that.”
VanNostrand said he did not think making the street one-way would solve the problem.
“People have been using that alley forever,” VanNostrand said. “I don’t think anyone’s going to read a sign and necessarily change their behavior too quickly. But I think a speed bump would get everyone’s attention, and if you put one of those in 24 feet back from the sidewalk, you’re basically going to be stopped before you get to the street.”
Director of Public Works Jerry Arnold said he does not like speed bumps because it can be rough on garbage trucks and other big vehicles, equipment and their operators.
“The thing I would advocate for is what we’ve said before, it would be one-way and no exit onto Main Street,” Arnold said.
Consolidated Public Works Board member CJ Rylands said he didn’t think the board should single out one alley.
“Unless we take this on in a comprehensive fashion and look throughout the whole city and address it collectively, I think that we’re kind of arbitrarily singling this particular issue out, without an actual incident … although, I do agree with what Nancy said. We don’t want any incidents. But I would I would appeal to taking a broader look at this.”
Shobe made the motion to make the change to Traders Alley and Consolidated Public Works Board member Pam Bucklew seconded the motion.
McCauley, Bucklew and Shobe voted in favor and Rylands voted against the motion to make Traders Alley a one-way street from VanNostrand’s building to its intersection with Main Street. Consolidated Public Works Board member Mark Waldo was absent.
VanNostrand told Bucklew he was against the board’s decision.
“Pam, no one is making a decision based on facts, it’s all based on feeling,” VanNostrand said.
“I know Bryson but understand,” Bucklew replied, “but I don’t want my grandchild to be the first one to get hurt,” Bucklew said.
There will be signage indicating that part of Traders Alley is a one-way road.