Buckhannon Mayor Robbie Skinner

Buckhannon Public Works Board approves several changes to streets across the city

BUCKHANNON – The Consolidated Public Works Board tackled several changes to streets and traffic flow around the City of Buckhannon during their meeting Wednesday morning

One potential change involves the stoplight at the Upshur County Courthouse — the CPWB voted to request that the W.Va. Department of Highways remove the ‘no turn on red’ sign from the stoplight pole on West Main and South Locust streets.

“Several people have asked me about this, and honestly, I can’t help but agree,” Mayor Robbie Skinner said. “It doesn’t need to be there and it takes forever. We will formally request the West Virginia Department of Highways remove the ‘no turn on red’ signage at the stoplight pole at West Main Street and South Locust Street.”

The board also approved a plan to improve signage on Madison Street — along with a painted ‘Do Not Enter’ message — on the short one-way section near Wendy’s restaurant.

“I propose that we paint a large white arrow in the middle of the street going eastbound towards the Public Safety Complex, and then at the Wendy’s intersection, we paint a red bar and ‘Do Not Enter,’ on the street,” Skinner said. “There is already a sign, but it could be a better visual if it’s on the street –people’s headlights hit the pavement more than they hit a sign. We’ve had an uptick of folks going westbound on Madison Street, trying to come out to the triangle, and every time somebody does that, they’re taking their life and other people’s lives in their own hands.”

The board decided to place ‘right turn only’ signs on Green and Franklin streets — located near AutoZone and the First Presbyterian Church — preventing drivers from turning left onto South Locust Street from those locations.

“I have asked for a ‘right turn only’ sign coming off of Green Street and coming off Franklin Street onto Route 20,” Skinner said. “There just doesn’t seem to be a need to turn left from either of those streets when we have Meadow Street in the middle that you can easily see and easily turn into traffic if you need to make a left-hand turn. All those streets connect right there, so it shouldn’t be a problem. If you’re on Franklin Street and you want to get up to Main Street, we have several alleys that go up through there. Folks can turn onto Main Street and go straight through town if they’re on Franklin Street.”

The board also agreed to remove a stop sign on Chestnut Street and add yield signs on West Victoria Street. The intersection involves steep hills in both directions.

“I would propose that we mirror this intersection to look like the corner of Highland Drive and Willowbrook Street, if you’re familiar with that intersection,” Skinner said. “When you come up Willowbrook Street there is no stop sign, you have the right of way to turn right or left onto Highland Drive. Coming down Highland Drive, there’s a stop sign, and coming to the other side there is also a stop sign, so the traffic has to stop on Highland.”

Because West Victoria Street has good visibility, Skinner said the city’s director of public works, Jerry Arnold, suggested using yield signs instead of stop signs.

“He suggested we may want to do yield signs, because if you’re coming off West Victoria Street and nobody’s coming, then you can easily see that and it may not make sense to come to a complete stop as you’re going down toward McDonald’s,” Skinner said. “It’s the same with coming up the street — you can easily see it and it may not make too much sense to make you come to a complete stop if you’re going up. You can keep on proceeding through if there’s nobody coming up the street.”

In another part of town, Arnold recommended the board reverse a decision from their September meeting that changed the traffic direction on Huffman Lane, located just north of Main Street in front of Buckhannon Medical Care.

“We had a discussion during a previous meeting about changing the one-way on Huffman Lane, which is the street that goes between Buckhannon Medical Care on Route 20 and comes in there beside Daya Wright’s office,” Skinner said.

Arnold suggested that the alley should only be one-way going east, from Locust Street to North Kanawha, returning the path to its original state.

Two more traffic-related items on the agenda were tabled pending discussions with entities on the affected streets. One involved traffic flow on North Kanawha Street, where Skinner said something would have to be done now that the street is narrower following the decision to reduce the width of the sidewalks and allow parking on both sides of the road.

“I think we have a problem — the street is narrow,” Skinner said. “If you had two small vehicles going through, you’d be okay, but the reality is, we have a lot of folks around here with bigger vehicles. We really only have one option that makes sense, and you’re not going to like it, but it would be to change the horseshoe to a one-way. So when you come down Main Street, you can turn left on North Kanawha Street, and it’s one-way. It’s one-way around the horseshoe to Spring Street. You would not be able to turn onto Spring Street [from Main Street].”

The board discussed several other possible solutions but decided not to make any official changes until they poll the businesses located on the affected street.

“Another issue is Apothecary Way, which is the new street created next to CVS,” Skinner said. “We have the one-way alleys that go north and south from Franklin to West Main Street. People are using that street now, and they’re not sure what they’re doing because it is a three-lane street,” Skinner said. “The issue we’re having is people aren’t observing the turning lanes properly — they’re either blocking the street, or they’re trying to turn into the CVS pharmacy and they’re blocking the street completely, or they’re not paying attention to the lanes and they’re going right up against the building and turning in, which is technically in the lane that’s supposed to go out to Main Street.”

Arnold suggested they could make Apothecary Way a one-way road going north, but the board decided to table any decisions and discuss possible solutions with the manager of CVS.

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