By Ashley Rader
Life in downtown is not always easy-going and slow-paced, which led downtown Elizabethton merchants to discuss possible ways to stop the speeding traffic on West Elk Avenue.
Coffee Company owner John Bunn asked if a raised crosswalk or a traffic calming device could be installed in the first block of downtown. He said drivers started to gain speed as they came through the curve in front of Dino’s Restaurant in an attempt to make the red light at the intersection of West Elk Avenue and Sycamore Drive.
“They race through downtown,” Bunn said. “They come this way to miss the red lights on Broad Street. They are focused on beating the one stop light in downtown. Now that we have the countdown crosswalk to show how long they have, it gives them a timer and they try to beat it. We have to address this issue. We will have someone hit one day.”
Director of Planning Jon Hartman said a raised crosswalk or a rumble strip across the street could act as traffic calming devices.
“Typically, these would slow down traffic,” Hartman said. “It is important to take this incrementally to see if this works. If it does then we can add more and if it does not then there are others we can try.”
The merchants questioned what the process would be to get a traffic calming device installed in downtown. Hartman said first the merchants would need to start a petition signed by property owners or business owners in downtown to show that the interest was there. Then a traffic study would need to be done and approval for the request given by the city.