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Traffic issues raised in Wellsburg

May 15, 2013
Weirton Daily Times

WELLSBURG - From state Route 2 to the city's residential areas, issues involving traffic and parking were before City Council on Tuesday.

Council approved a resolution supporting the installation of a new traffic signal at the intersection of Route 2 and 22nd Street and changes to the signals at the highway's intersections with 16th and 27th streets needed to coordinate their timing.

The new signal is intended to ease the flow of trucks entering and leaving the new warehouse facility being built by Eagle Manufacturing at the former Banner Fiberboard site.

Article Photos

CONSTRUCTION BEGINS — Crews have begun construction of a 40,000-square-foot warehouse for Eagle Manufacturing at the former Banner Fiberboard site at state Route 2 and 22nd Street. The West Virginia Division of Highways will install a new traffic signal there to accommodate trucks entering and leaving the site in the future. -- Warren Scott

The signal and changes to the old signals will be funded by the state Division of Highways, while the city will assume power and minor maintenance costs for them.

In other business, council considered designating 10 streets as play streets - streets in which children may play without violating the city's traffic codes - and signs would be posted to alert drivers. An ordinance established years ago allowed for the designation of such streets, with through traffic prohibited on them and all drivers urged to use caution.

But no streets have been designated as play streets, a move 2nd Ward Councilman Paul T. Billiard said should be rectified.

Billiard said some city parks are frequented by teens who vandalize them and smoke and his young children and others in residential areas should be able to play ball or other games in the streets by their homes.

The city's properties committee recommended council designate as play streets sections of Main, Marianna, Charles Street and several side streets on the city's north end and 22nd Street and Grand Avenue on the city's east side.

But council will reconsider the streets and the issue after hearing from a few residents Tuesday.

Carol Churchman, a resident of Marianna Street, and Karen Whetsell, a resident of Main Street, said they are concerned about the children's safety.

Churchman said too often drivers are distracted by cell phones or under the influence of alcohol. She asked what liability the city would face by designating the play streets should an accident occur.

A motion to have City Solicitor Bill Cipriani draw up an amendment to the play street ordinance failed due to a split vote decided by Mayor Sue Simonetti.

Voting to designate play streets were Billiard, 2nd Ward Councilman Ron Michaux and 1st Ward Councilmen Mike Mitchell and Bruce Hunter. Voting against were Simonetti, 4th Ward Council members Jeff Tarr and Della Serevicz and 3rd Ward Councilmen Randy Fletcher and Tom R. Diserio.

Though their votes fell on differing sides of the issue, Tarr and Hunter agreed council needs to revisit the streets that would be designated.

In related business, council agreed to remove all of the meters from its downtown business district and use paint to clearly mark parking spaces along the streets.

Fletcher said the latter move would address problems with vehicles parking too close to intersections, making it difficult for drivers from cross streets to see vehicles approaching.

The decision to remove the meters wasn't discussed, though it was debated in the past.

Following the meeting, Simonetti said revenue from the meters wasn't high, often paying little more than the meter attendant's pay.

She and City Manager Mark Henne said the meters' removal may be a plus for the downtown business district. Plans call for the meters to be removed gradually, as the city replaces the brick sidewalk along Charles Street.

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