City holds second public hearing regarding downtown traffic flow

By John Underwood / john@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 7/25/18

ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — The Robertsdale City Council held the second of three public hearings on improving traffic flows in the downtown area along Alabama 59. The final public hearing is scheduled …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

City holds second public hearing regarding downtown traffic flow

Posted

ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — The Robertsdale City Council held the second of three public hearings on improving traffic flows in the downtown area along Alabama 59. The final public hearing is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 6 following the council’s 6 p.m. meeting

According to information provided during the first public hearing July 2, the city has worked jointly with officials from the Alabama Department of Transportation, Skipper Real Estate and Thompson Engineering to present three options to help with traffic flow between Alabama 59 North Bound (Chicago Street) and Alabama 59 Southbound (Milwaukee Street).

Along with a proposal to leave the traffic flow as it is, officials said, two additional proposals were presented, one to make Pennsylvania Street on way west bound, while making Ohio Street one way east bound; the other to make both streets one way west bound.

“Right now, I think our best option is to make Pennsylvania Street and Ohio Street one way west bound,” said Mayor Charles Murphy during the July 16 public hearing. “We certainly welcome any input that the public and business owners might have in this matter. I will say that if we move forward with changes to the traffic flow the only cost involved would be for additional signage. Our main focus is for the safety of our citizens.”

The main traffic safety issue, officials said, is along Pennsylvania Street where traffic flow creates a bottleneck with parking for Ivey’s Restaurant and Sweat Tire. Ohio Street includes PNC Bank and another restaurant Taste of New Orleans by Chef Juan (formerly called Frenchie’s Cajun Café).

Officials said the options of making traffic flow one way on one or both of the streets was presented when the city began working with Thompson Engineering to eliminate the steep parking curves on the two streets, particularly on Pennsylvania in order to improve cross drainage and eliminate the large step downs from sidewalk to the street parking area.

Once again there was a light turnout for the hearing, which was held following the council’s morning meeting on Monday, July 16.

Sonia and Chris O’Gwynn, owners of Purdy Thangz Boutique and Affinity Home Medical, located in the former Southern Furniture Mart location on the corner of Alabama 59 Northbound and Ohio Street, expressed concerns over parking for their business.

“Nothing has been decided yet and we want to receive all the feedback we can before making a decision,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Joe Kitchens, “but if nothing is done, it is possible you could lose all of your parking along Highway 59. This is not something that the city is doing. This is a state right-of-way.”

The city is also considering the closing of Wisconsin and Michigan streets east of Alabama 59; and East Chicago Street (which runs parallel to Alabama 59 Northbound/Chicago Street) from Pennsylvania north to Michigan, once improvements to Honeybee Park are in place and the city moves its Utilities Department to property located north of U.S. 90.

The first phase of improvements to Honeybee Park have already begun and should be completed by Nov. 1 in time for Christmas festivities, which are held the first Saturday in December.

This year’s Honeybee Festival has also been moved from the first Saturday in October to the first Saturday in December while improvements are being made.

Honeybee Park improvements are scheduled for completion by the city’s Centennial Celebration, which is slated for 2021.

During its regular meeting on Monday, July 16, the council voted to:

•Approve a request from Beach N Bay Inc. to rezone property on West Illinois Street from R1-B to PUD (planned unit development).

•Renew the city’s press box banner at J.D. Sellars Stadium for the 2018-19 season at a cost of $500.

•Approve a 3-year lease with Swift Lumber Co. for the former Diamond Food property.

•Apply for a $450,000 Community Development Block Grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide sewer rehabilitation in older areas of the city.