City aldermen initiated two traffic changes at the regular board meeting this week.
First, they voted to install a four-way stop at Bowen and Gen. Pershing avenues near downtown.
The Police Department did an informal traffic study, and it turns out that Bowen has much more traffic than city leaders expected.
Drivers also have been flying on narrow Bowen Avenue that runs east from downtown, parallel to Government Street.
“None of us thought we had that much traffic there,” said Alderman Ken Papania. “But the chief did a count and it was pretty high. We took a look at it. It shocked me. I thought that was kind of a quiet street and evidently it’s not.”
One city employee explained that Gen. Pershing Avenue also is being used as a cut-through from Government Street, and there have been several bad wrecks.
Change No. 2 came when aldermen agreed to designate all of East Government Street no-passing, from Ward Avenue downtown to the city limits.
It makes sense, aldermen said. East Government is a busy thoroughfare with two big curves and an elementary school.
The vote was unanimous.
Alderman Mike Impey, who initiated the no-passing call for that end of Government Street, reminded fellow aldermen the city will need to add no-passing signs and change the striping.
Impey said the no-passing issue was brought to his attention by a resident who witnessed a bad wreck. He said he did not realize, until it was brought to his attention, that there were still passing zones on the street.
“I spoke with (Police) Chief Mark Dunston, and he was very supportive of the change,” Impey said. “As long as people obey the rules, this will make Government Street much safer.”