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Police chief speaks to council about traffic-flow concerns

BONNE TERRE – Members of the Bonne Terre City Council discussed areas of town that have become traffic-flow concerns.

During the regular city council meeting Tuesday night, Police Chief Doug Calvert said he has received complaints about school traffic on Lorraine and Spring.

He said that area is being used as an area to pick up children even though it was not meant as a pick-up area. Steps and a walk-way that lead from the school to a subdivision were constructed so that students from the subdivision could safely walk home.

The school has struggled with parking issues since it opened in the Orchard Development this summer. Calvert said the main problem is the school’s parking lot is too small. He said officers weren’t aware of the situation behind the school until just a few days ago.

The city has already addressed other traffic problems near the school by putting up no parking signs on the side streets.

Calvert said officers have monitored this situation and it is definitely a problem. He believe the traffic is making the area unsafe for children walking home.

However, he added that right now no one is doing anything illegal, as long as the alleyway is not blocked. He said the city should look at putting up no-parking signs.

Two residents who attended the meeting also voiced their concerns about traffic in that area. One man said his biggest concern was that the students were in danger of getting hit by vehicles.

Other areas of concern were the new traffic lights on Route K at the U.S. 67 entrance and exit ramps.

Don Crites, a representative of the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), attended the city council meeting to hear those concerns.

Councilwoman Janet Barton said she has had problems with the light not changing. She asked if MoDOT could turn off the lights and just have them flash during hours when there isn’t much traffic.

Crites said they only use all-red flashes for new installations and they only do that in emergency situations.

Mayor Sue Wilke also complained about the traffic backing up at those lights. She asked if they could install right-turn lanes at those intersections.

Crites said he would research that possibility.

Councilwoman Kathy Stegall asked if MoDOT could change the left turns so that people could yield on green.

Crites said they don’t like doing that anymore.

Chief Calvert said police officers have written tickets for people running red lights when the lights don’t change.

Calvert asked Crites if they could paint the lines better because drivers are complaining to officers and the municipal judge that they can’t see the lines.

“I’d like to see MoDOT stay on top of that a little better,” Calvert said.

The mayor also asked about the flashing indicator lights on U.S. 67 near Old Orchard Road. She believes the flashing lights need to be further back so that people will receive enough warning about the upcoming stop light.

Crites said he would check on that but the flashing indicator lights were placed at the standard distance away from the stop lights.

In other matters, the council approved an ordinance to accept possession from MoDOT of 1,000 feet of Route E north of the city limits. By doing this, the city can lower the speed limit on that section of road so that drivers can more safely turn into and out of a residential development which will be built.

Also at the meeting, Keila Nessler and Phil Madonna were named to the city’s park committee.

The council also approved a request from Michael Gruhala for a liquor by the drink license for Michael’s Saloon and Grill, located in what is now Hard Rack. The council also approved the rezone of Holekamp Brothers Inc. from Single Family Residential to Central Business.

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