Council OKs plan to improve safety at 8th, Highland
by DAVID DAVIS, Managing Editor
Nov 27, 2012 | 1016 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cleveland Police Officer Travis Ellison, left, is sworn in Monday afternoon by Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland during the City Council meeting. The mayor reminded Ellison that as a police officer, he must follow the departmental chain of command, his employers are the people and that police officers are often the first impression visitors have of a city.  Banner photo, DAVID DAVIS
Cleveland Police Officer Travis Ellison, left, is sworn in Monday afternoon by Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland during the City Council meeting. The mayor reminded Ellison that as a police officer, he must follow the departmental chain of command, his employers are the people and that police officers are often the first impression visitors have of a city. Banner photo, DAVID DAVIS
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While the city of Cleveland takes steps to allay traffic concerns in the historic neighborhood, a resident who lives on Pleasant Grove Road near Cleveland Speedway was uneasy about the impact a new road could have on his neighborhood.

In the historic neighborhood, city staff will see if minor adjustments to the intersection of 8th Street N.W. and Highland Avenue N.W. will improve safety before making it a four-way stop. A resident on Pleasant Grove was asked to wait until the Tennessee Department of Transportation revises the design of the bridge across APD 40.

Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland advised Jackie Rose that Cherokee Gateway North and South are local interstate connectors and must connect to a local road.

“Maybe when you see the new design you’ll feel better about it,” Rowland said. “We are listening to your comments.”

The Cleveland City Council directed staff on Monday to install a crosswalk on Highland Avenue N.W. with advanced warning signage; install signage on stop signs advising motorist on 8th Street that Highland Avenue traffic does not stop. They were also directed to work with property owners and trim bushes that obscure the view of Highland Avenue from 8th Street.

Alan Childers, a traffic consultant with Knoxville-based civil engineering firm Cannon & Cannon, informed Cleveland City Council members Monday there are concerns, but traffic volume is too low to warrant a four-way stop sign.

“There have been seven crashes, and that amounts to a crash rate of approximately 1.5 crashes per million vehicles entering the intersection. This is approximately three times the statewide average for similar intersections and should be addressed,” he said. “It’s not enough to meet the warrant, but I still think it is significant.”

The residential street on the edge of the Cleveland Historic District is a route for children walking to and from Arnold Memorial Elementary School. The intersection is also the site of seven car crashes in the last four years, which is 1.5 times the statewide average for crashes at a similar location. Three of the crashes involved injuries, which is four to five times the statewide average. The most recent collision in late October involved a car that smashed into a house and ruptured a natural gas line.

“You’ve got to pull the nose of your car almost into Highland to see. If some of those bushes could be cut back, that would help the sight distance,” Childers said. “All seven crashes involved traffic coming from the east.”

He stopped short of recommending a four-way stop because it could worsen driver habits and potentially make the intersection more dangerous for school children.

Childers said studies show multiway stops do not effectively control speeds and in many cases, speeds actually increase some distance from intersections; stop compliance is poor at unwarranted multiway stops; pedestrian safety is decreased; unwarranted multiway stops may present potential liability problems; and stop signs increase noise in the vicinity of an intersection.

“Whether you have a four-way stop or you leave it the way it is, the level of service is ‘A’ or ‘B’ regardless of what you do. The real issue is safety. Although a multi-way stop is unwarranted, I wouldn’t have as much heartburn here as I would at some other location because there are some issues,” he said. “However, my recommendation is don’t pursue that at this time because it doesn’t meet the criteria.”

Rose said he is concerned for the safety of his small children because of increased traffic to APD 40 and Cherokee Gateway North.

“I’m really concerned about the safety of our children, the traffic, the noise, plus why would anyone want to buy my house? You put a commercial property in front of it and traffic increased and I wanted to sell it, who would buy it?” he asked. “We have 30 cars a day or less through our neighborhood.”