Councilman wants traffic light at busy WM intersection
MPO study will determine if Avalon, Jackson needs signal
An announcement of a traffic study quickly turned into insistence for a new traffic signal at Avalon and Jackson. West Memphis Ward 2 Councilman James Pulliaum made his case for a new light at the corner as Metropolitan Policy Organization Study Director Eddie Brawley announced counting cars at the corner.
The findings will consider traffic patterns now that the new Family Dollar opened. The study along with accident reports will go toward considerations of a new light.
“I came to address questions about the possible traffic signal at Avalon and Jackson,” said Brawley.
“We have traffic counters out there now. We can take counts now that the store has settled in there. Prior to that it did not warrant a traffic signal. It did not meet the volume requirements or the accident requirements based on standards we are required to follow.”
The traffic study will take two weeks to conduct.
Pulliaum understood the need to follow the steps to include a study but made it known he had already reached the conclusion that a signal was necessary. According to Pulliaum the store traffic only compounded the issue with visibility around a power pole and communication box on the corner. The councilman said frustrations with the corner are a constant source of complaints from his constituents.
“I’m not down playing what you are saying,” said Pulliaum, “but at the same time constituents ring my phone off the hook to find out what’s going to happen. I don’t know how many counts we’ve had there, but now we have the dollar store.”
Pulliaum maintained the corner is not safe especially for those coming west on Jackson having to make a turn at the “T” onto Avalon. “Where does safety come in; you cannot see around the telephone box or the telegram pole,” said Pulliaum. “I know they aren’t going to move the pole or the box so safety doesn’t matter here. You have to pull out to see. Listen, by the time you stop and then pull up past the box to see then here comes a car.”
“What do the accident reports say?” asked Economic Development Director Phillip Sorrell.
“It has not been right angle or turning accidents,” replied Brawley. “It’s been rear end accidents. Last ones have both been nighttime.”
Brawley talked about the impact of stop signs throughout the city.
“They don’t do what you think they are doing,” said Brawley. “You put them up to control speed but they still create crashes. Take Avalon for instance; we have six stops on Avalon and at least 5,000 cars a day. It costs drivers, 15 cents a stop. When they stop at every sign on Avalon that cost the motoring public, your constituents, 1.6 million dollars a year. Stops cost the public more than a million dollars a year just on Avalon alone.”
For Pulliaum a signal at the corner of Avalon and Jackson is the only acceptable
“Let me just say this… I am trying to be nice,” said Pulliaum. “Number one, I know for a fact that the city puts up stop signs that are not warranted. This area needs to be safe. You’ve got school buses and kids crossing. Let’s be real about this. Something needs to happen. Avalon is a safety hazard. Traffic is heavy there all the time.
Something has to be done.” “Let us finish the traffic counts,” said Brawley.
“You’ve been playing around with this for four or five years,” said Pulliaum.
“In the meantime I’ll see if we can get a stop bar where people can pull up to get a better view,” said Brawley.
By John Rech