City will fine-tune pedestrian signs soon

10:00 am | October 4, 2013

In the one month the new “Stop for Pedestrian” signs have been in place in downtown Elizabethton, downtown business 1a signowners and city leaders are seeing improvements in traffic flow.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.

At the first of September, 10 signs were installed in the 400 to 700 blocks of East Elk Avenue between the lanes of traffic at each of the crosswalks in downtown. The signs were the first step chosen by a committee made of city administrators and downtown business owners to attempt to slow traffic through downtown for pedestrian safety.

City Manager Jerome Kitchens said a traffic study had been done before and after the signs were placed. The average speed went from 28 miles per hour before the signs to 18 miles per hour after the signs were put in. Kitchens said the goal was an average speed of 23 miles per hour.

While the signs have done what they were intended to do, Kitchens said city staff would be looking at making some changes to the placement of the signs and installing additional traffic-calming devices in downtown.

One option is a movable rumble strip to be put in place in front of Betsy Motors in the 400 block of East Elk Avenue. Kitchens said moveable rumble strips are plastic pieces that attach to the surface of the asphalt. Because they are moveable, they have a higher cost than putting a permanent rumble strip in the asphalt.

“We don’t want to put permanent grooves in the asphalt until we know that a rumble strip would work in that location,” Kitchens said.

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