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No U-turn sign requested for Main St.

Staff writer

Marion resident Phyllis Zorn, a reporter at this newspaper, requested a No U-turn sign be installed at First and Main Sts. Monday at a city council meeting because of safety issues she noted at the intersection.

When driving north on First St. Zorn said that visibility of oncoming traffic coming from the west is often defeated by parked cars in a lot owned by Webster Auto Services.

“In order to see, you have to pull out over the crosswalk because of the jog in the road there,” Zorn said.

She said motorists in that position end up blocking other motorists making U-turns.

“They have the right of way; I have a stop sign,” Zorn said. “If I’m sitting there waiting and someone is in a large vehicle I have to either back up or if I can’t back up they come within inches of my bumper. I just don’t feel very safe sitting there in that situation.”

Mayor Todd Heitschmidt said Zorn’s observations were absolutely correct and asked streets Superintendent Marty Fredrickson, who attended the meeting, for some background information on the intersection.

Fredrickson said that EBH Engineering reportedly discovered that Kansas Department of Transportation would not allow any traffic control on a state highway unless traffic counts are above 10,000 per day on Main St. and 3,500 an intersecting street. Stop signs are also not allowed on state highways, he said.

“The only option that leaves KDOT is to put up a no U-turn sign if there are too many [safety] concerns,” Fredrickson said. “People would have to go around the block to get where they need to go.”

Heitschmidt said there had been no one killed at that intersection which made it a lower priority for KDOT.

He also reminded the council that the city did employ a temporary no-turn sign when traffic was rerouted through town during construction US-77/US-56 roundabout.

Fredrickson added the city first had to get permission from KDOT to do so.

“People were still making U-turn there,” Margo Yates, director of Marion Parks and Recreation Department, said. “It was a nightmare.”

Heitschmidt said a former proposal for a roundabout on Main St. might have solved the problem however opposition reached KDOT and financial support for the project was nixed.

He also said the no u-turn idea probably would not be included by downtown revitalization grant money coming in 2017.

Heitschmidt proposed the city consider purchasing part of the parking lot owned by Webster Auto Service so motorists could potentially have more visibility at that intersection.

“It’s not a perfect situation,” he said.

In other business, city council members approved a written electrical line and tree maintenance policy specifying that city personnel will maintain primary electrical lines from pole to pole. This includes trimming tree limbs 10 feet away from the lines and in the easement, and it is the responsibility of customers to maintain and trim tree limbs on the secondary line from the pole to the house.

Last modified Oct. 26, 2016

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