Potential three-way stop at Oak Street and Magnolia Springs Highway?

Magnolia Springs council discusses pros and cons

By Jessica Vaughn
Posted 5/5/21

MAGNOLIA SPRINGS - A possible three-way stop at the intersection of Oak Street and Magnolia Springs Highway, located in front of Jesse’s Restaurant, isn’t a new topic. The Magnolia Springs …

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Potential three-way stop at Oak Street and Magnolia Springs Highway?

Magnolia Springs council discusses pros and cons

Posted

MAGNOLIA SPRINGS - A possible three-way stop at the intersection of Oak Street and Magnolia Springs Highway, located in front of Jesse’s Restaurant, isn’t a new topic. The Magnolia Springs council has revisited the idea on several occasions during talks of traffic flow through town. During the April workshop and council meetings, councilmember Nick Shields addressed safety concerns at the intersection once more.

“I want it understood this discussion is not a result of [a citizen] getting struck in the crosswalk [a couple months back], this is from my first week on the council five years ago,” he said. “I suggested this then, and two former mayors have said no, it will interrupt this or interrupt that or people will be rear-ended … We’ve marked the crosswalks, we’ve put up signs, we’ve put up lights, and now we have evidence those are insufficient to prevent serious injury for our citizens.”

Shields has brought the suggestion before the council numerous times during his time in public service. He voiced his desire to see a physical resolution during an upcoming council meeting to approve the installation of the three-way at the intersection.

“You’ve got a popular arboretum on one side of the road, a very popular restaurant on the other side of the road, a community association, a church, it’s a cluster of points of interest,” he said. “I don’t know how many times people have to be wounded to make a decision to decrease the chance of somebody getting killed.”

During traffic studies the town had performed last year, the recommendation from the engineer was against installing a three-way stop in front of Jesse’s. An approximate volume of 4,000 vehicles travel through Magnolia Springs each day. Of those vehicles, the majority are travelling north and south on Magnolia Springs Highway, with a lesser number coming off Oak Street.

“We did discuss this, but the traffic engineer said no,” said Mayor Kim Koniar. “He said if anything would happen, you’re going to start having a lot of backed up traffic, you’re going to start having rear-ends, you’re going to have accidents. That’s what he believed would happen if we put a stop sign there.”

Koniar said she’s open to speak with the traffic engineer again to revisit ideas to help make the intersection safer, for traffic and pedestrians. Another speed bump will soon be going up in town, and upcoming bridge repairs will include narrowing the lanes in an attempt to slow traffic. Koniar said a second traffic study could be performed after the new speed bump and bridge repairs are complete. Additionally, the previous traffic study was performed prior to the reduced speed limit through town and the installation of the three-way stop at Highway 49 and County Road 26. A new study would take all the new factors into consideration and possibly provide a different recommendation than before.

Shields said the fact remains that a citizen was struck by oncoming traffic while in the crosswalk, which he feels warrants action. The council and mayor voiced agreeance that something needed to happen at the intersection - the question is what?

“Something has happened there, so there obviously is attention we need to give to it,” said councilmember Ross Houser. “But I also can see somebody coming around that curve, even going the speed limit, and there’s three or four cars backed up towards the bridge at a stop sign. It could be a bad situation … I just want to make sure that we’re not correcting one thing to cause another problem.”

Koniar said she would look into having an engineer speak to the council about potential traffic mitigation plans they could consider at the intersection, as well as speaking with the traffic engineer once again.

For more information on Magnolia Springs, visit www.townofmagnoliasprings.org.