City Trying Alternatives to Adding Stop Signs at Dangerous West College Intersection

By Jeremy Coumbes on December 15, 2022 at 3:01pm

A busy Jacksonville intersection won’t be getting extra stop signs anytime soon.

The Jacksonville City Council heard an update Monday night on recent requests from residents in the area of the intersection of West College Avenue and Park Street.

A number of residents had come forward requesting that the intersection be converted from a two-way stop to a four-way stop due to the number of accidents and near misses involving not only vehicles but also students.

Earlier this fall the Jacksonville Police Department reassigned a school crossing guard to work the intersection now that more children are crossing College Avenue there with Washington Elementary students attending class at the Jacksonville Middle School campus this year.

Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard says this isn’t the first time the intersection has been an issue, but he understands the concerns of residents in the area. “We listen to the folks that come into public comment and there’s a concern at that intersection, and there was concern years ago when I was City Clerk and Don Cook was Police Chief.

I looked back and reviewed the minutes and they took down a big tree which helped, and they took some parking spots away. In talking with the engineers we may have to take a few more away rather than putting up two stop signs.”

During the discussion at the City Council workshop session Monday night, Jacksonville Police Chief Adam Mefford reported that he had looked at traffic studies as well as police data reports on accidents at the intersection and also met with Jim Burke of Hutchison Engineering and City Street Superintendent Les Ballenger recently.

Mefford said they agreed that although something needs to be done to help make the intersection safer, the data doesn’t support bringing traffic to a stop on West College.

Ezard says he agrees with their assessment. “I rely on my chief, my superintendent of roads, and my engineers on what we should do, and we’re going to go down this path as far as trying to enforce the parking situation down there more and just see how it flows, and if we need to make a change, we will do that.

But right now I feel comfortable that they said we do not need stop signs there, and there’s so much that goes into that as far as traffic studies and safety. But if we have to take a few spots away and do more enforcement to prevent an issue, we’re willing to do that.”

Mefford says after surveying the intersection with Jim Burke and measuring off parking distances, they feel they can eliminate three to four parking spaces on West College east of Park Street, and one spot to the west to help with sight lines.

He also says his officers have been stepping up patrols to cut down on speeding and issuing more citations to people who park on the north side of College, which is prohibited from 8 am to 5 pm.