By Karen Daniels
Neighbors from Dove Country and Kingsway communities filled the Stafford City Council room to discuss traffic considerations at the intersection of Staffordshire and Willow Road. One of the concerns is the limited view drivers have when exiting either side of Willow Road due to the stop sign being set a good distance back from Staffordshire Road. Mary Hughes, president of the Dove Country Home Owners Assoc. said, “This is creating a blind spot and residents are having trouble entering and exiting both neighborhoods.” It is her recommendation that a stop light be added for the safety of vehicles and pedestrians. A second concern involves the excessive speed of drivers on Staffordshire when traveling through the underpass south of Highway 90.
Stafford’s City Engineer, Charles Russell, gave a presentation to Council on the matter. He stated that on 06/15/2012, public works added signs to each side of Staffordshire roadways alerting drivers to the oncoming intersection. Additionally, accident data was collected from April 2009 – June 2012 for that intersection (plus 200 feet), and during that time, 22 accidents were recorded; however, the data does not document near-misses. The breakdown is as follows:
5 – Not in intersection
4 – Near intersection, but not a crossing maneuver
13 – Involved the intersection (1-ran stop sign)
Russell spoke of unintended consequences that can sometimes occur when trying to solve a problem. For example, a reduction in right-angle collisions could decrease with a stop light or stop sign, but an increase in rear-ends could also occur. Statistically, he explained, 1 in 5 drivers have an impairment whether it is alcohol, drugs, fatigue, or distracted driving, and it was Russell’s recommendation that a warrant study be ordered from a non-biased engineering firm to determine the best course of action for the intersection. This study will measure approach angles, speed, volume, and provide suggestions. A certain criteria must be met prior to adding signals, signs, or road markings.
Mayor Scarcella commended the audience for presenting the problem in a “responsible manner” and stated “the goal is to do the right thing.” The study will be conducted and City Council will provide another time to present the data to the public for their response.