A recently completed traffic study by the city of Bay Minette will aim to make streets safer, City Administrator Tammy Smith said, but may also help the city acquire grants for roadway improvements.
It started with citizens fielding various complaints or suggestions and prompted the Bay Minette City Council to commission a study on the city’s streets and traffic.
“We had some speed bumps in place that were causing damage to vehicles, some speed bumps that weren’t truly speed bumps that needed to come up based on our review of those,” Smith said. “There were different residents coming to City Hall requesting speed bumps or stop signs, so we basically said we need to evaluate our streets.”
After seeking proposals from several firms, Bay Minette contracted with Neel-Schaffer of Mobile to conduct the study for about $27,000.
“We also have some streets we felt were verging on capacity and we wanted those looked at,” Smith said. “We wanted to look at streets that had higher than normal accident rates.”
Most of the adjustments recommended and in the process of being implemented involve stop signs at about 16 intersections in the city.
“Some of them were three-way stops that became two-way stops or one-way stops,” Smith said. “They counted the traffic to see which direction the traffic was flowing, higher counts versus lower counts, to determine which direction — also, the traffic throughout town to determine which direction more traffic was flowing — so that we could identify some streets where traffic could get across town easier.”
There is also talk of straightening out a curve on North Dobson Avenue and connecting it through to Baldwin County High School. A four-field softball complex is under construction between the two schools and is expected to be finished by the end of April.
“We can straighten out that turn and have an additional street that will come out on the bypass,” Smith said.
Having the firm doing the study formally rate the streets and how they are used is a first step to applying for grants for other upgrades, Smith said.
“They have to be deemed whether they are principal arterial, minor arterial, major collector,” Smith said. “We identified some streets that would be future major collectors based on development inside and outside of the city limits, including residential and economic developments. We knew that would need some classification of our streets in order to be able to apply for some grants.”
The study also noted the city was responsible for only two traffic lights in town, and it was determined neither is necessary.
“We found that we only had two traffic lights that were city maintained,” Smith said. “The others are on state highways; therefore, they are ALDOT maintained. Those in the city were outdated and were basically antique traffic lights. We have replaced those traffic lights with four-way stops instead of traffic lights.”
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