By Katie Dahlstrom Assistant Editor
The Clinton Herald
---- — CLINTON — Clinton drivers could encounter less confusion by this fall as the city looks to remove the stop signs from 11th Avenue South and South 14th Street and replace them with traffic signals.
The change would make the intersection, which sits near Bluff Elementary school, fully signalized. It’s a move city and school officials believe will make the intersection less troubling.
“On all fronts, it’s going to be safer for our students and families,” Bluff Elementary School Principal Mark Bloom said. “We have 420 students here and the goal is to get them home safely.”
To pay for the improvements, Clinton’s engineering department would use most of $40,000 allocated to a capital improvements fund for fiscal year 2014.
“It’s not really meant to be spent all on one project, but I think this is important enough that we do,” City Engineer Jason Craft told members of the City Services Committee this week.
The Clinton School District will contribute $21,250 to the $60,000 project. That split gives the city and the school an equal share for the signalization, with the city shouldering the costs for installing ADA compliant sidewalks and camera vehicle detection for the light.
“It’s needed. When you have a school crossing at a busy intersection like that it either needs to be totally uncontrolled or uncontrolled. Given the amount of kids that cross there — that’s really the only crossing to those neighborhoods — I recommend we move forward with this project ASAP,” Craft said.
Bloom agreed the intersection needs to be upgraded to increase safety.
“We have a wonderful crossing guard at that intersection, but there have been some challenges because of the stop signs at 11th Avenue South,” Bloom said. “I think this will be better and will slow traffic down in front of the school.”
About 6,000 cars travel 14th Street daily. While 11th Avenue South does not see as much traffic, the intersection still presents a problem for both drivers and pedestrians.
Drivers along 11th Avenue South meet stop signs while those on 14th Street have a traffic signal to follow. The traffic signal on 14th Street is always green unless someone pushes the button to cross the street, meaning drivers on 11th Avenue South often face the quandary of crossing when the light for 14th Street is green.
The project will move forward to the committee of the whole for discussion at the July 9 meeting. If approved by the City Council, Craft said the project could be complete by Nov. 30.