by James Fisher
CLARKSBURG -- Council members discussed possible solutions to traffic problems caused by the closing of a Stealey area street, but decided to pass a recent study on the situation to the traffic commission.
A portion of Hart Street has been closed nearly four years because of slippage. Council has been considering several options, including repairing the road or changing traffic patterns to accommodate area residents.
Larry Rine of MSES Consultants spoke to council at Thursday's conference session about a traffic impact analysis done on the area. Rine said traffic counters and physical counts showed that streets around the closed portion of Hart Street are used extensively. Additionally, nearly 1,900 people -- or about 10 percent of the city's population -- live within several blocks of the affected area.
Rine said the study showed that parking is one of the biggest concerns.
"Short of repairing and reopening Hart Street or a major change in the traffic flow, the best solution is to restrict parking," he said. Rine noted many of the streets effectively become one-way when numerous cars are parked on-street and that parking too close to the intersection causes bottle-necks.
"I live there and there are people parking in places where, maybe the curbs aren't painted yellow, but they shouldn't be there," said Councilwoman Becky Lake. "Economically, we can't open Hart Street, but there are some things that we can do to alleviate some of the problems."
A previous report of the situation showed that two options for fixing Hart Street would cost between $1.2-$1.9 million. Even doing nothing will eventually incur some costs, since major sewer lines and other utilities are located under Hart Street, Rine said.
Regional writer James Fisher can be reached at 626-1446 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.