Downtown fencing prompts request for temporary ban on moves by westbound traffic
The City of Port Washington should prohibit left turns at a key downtown intersection — for the duration of construction of the Port Harbour Lights project at the corner of Franklin and Main streets, the Board of Public Works was told Tuesday.
“It’s just dangerous,” said John Sigwart, 230 Theis St., who recommended that the city ban left turns for traffic heading west on Main Street at Franklin. “You’ve got people walking there along the fence, and you just can’t see oncoming traffic.
“I have to pull all the way out (onto Franklin Street) to see if someone’s coming.”
While it’s typical for motorists to have to inch out to check for oncoming vehicles, the situation at the corner of Main and Franklin streets is made more difficult by the construction fencing that extends into the roadway, Sigwart said.
The situation is exacerbated by the fabric that lines the fence, which keeps any construction debris from striking pedestrians and motorists but also makes it more difficult to see traffic, he said.
If someone wants to turn left — or south — at the corner, they can just as easily make a right turn and then a couple of lefts, he said.
But board Chairman Craig Czarnecki, a Port police officer, disagreed.
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my job, it’s that you can’t legislate common sense,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going to work.
“It’s going to be a mess.”
People who don’t notice the “No left turn” sign until they are at the intersection are likely to try and back up so they can make their way around, he said.
“We haven’t had any issues there,” Czarnecki noted.
While some people may try to ignore the “no left turn” legislation initially, Sigwart said there’s a simple solution. “All you have to do is put a ticket on a few people,” he said.
Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said that Police Chief Kevin Hingiss had also recommended banning left turns at the corner.
However, he said, City Administrator Mark Grams opposed the change, saying nearby businesses would oppose it because it would make it more difficult for patrons who use the parking lots that empty onto Main Street.
Board members suggested Sigwart discuss the matter with Hingiss and ask that the city’s Traffic Safety Committee take up the suggestion.