Milford’s Public Works Department has identified several issues with one-way traffic on Southwest Front Street. Many of the issues, according to Mark Whitfield, City Manager, are at the intersection of Walnut Street. For this reason, the department consulted with DelDOT and Century Engineering to develop solutions.
“The city went ahead and had Century Engineering do an evaluation of that and one or two other intersections with the key intersection being Southwest Front and South Walnut in mainly due to the issues that Mark had alluded to,” James Puddicombe, City Engineer, said. “Their evaluation essentially showed that signals at the intersections don’t meet requirements except for a line of sight issue. They would be eligible to be converted to four way stops. Their recommendation between Century and DelDOT was to temporarily turn the lights to flashing red and convert that intersection at Southwest Front and Walnut to a four way stop and return Southwest Front to two way traffic and then monitor to evaluate for delays and other issues as well as traffic and incidents. And if all goes well, the long term plan would be to permanently convert that to a four way stop intersection.”
Councilman Todd Culotta asked if there were plans to eliminate the light that currently exists at the intersection of Causey Avenue and Walnut Street. Puddicombe stated that at the present time, they were only looking at changing Southwest Front Street and Walnut. Councilman Culotta stated that “as far as he was concerned, that light could be thrown in the river.”
“We did learn that from DelDOT that this has actually been done in a number of communities throughout Delaware. Most recently was city a New Castle, I guess, where they took a signal out and put in a four way stop,” Whitfield said. “And one of the things that again, DelDOT suggested is that we leave the signals in place. If this does turn out to be an absolute disaster, it’s a matter of going out and doing several stop signs and reactivating the signal. So, it sounds like a good solution to at least explore and try and see what happens but, again, alleviate a major safety concern with a bridge.”
Councilman Jason James asked when this would be implemented and Puddicombe explained that it would likely be about a month before it was completed. The city would need to install signs to make it clear that the traffic pattern was changing. Councilman Brian Baer asked if there was the possibility of a rotary added to that intersection.
“The council in the long term would consider alternative signalization which would include traffic circles or oblong circles. That’s why I said we don’t have a full settlement on which direction yet,” Puddicombe said. “This is just an initial report, but due to the solid waste pickup issues and that sort of thing, we want to at least try to alleviate that first intersection. But yeah, that is that is an option in the long term.”
Councilman Dan Marabello asked if there was enough room for larger vehicles to turn around in the parking lot behind the Riverfront Theater. Puddicombe said he felt that there was ample room but that the team would review whether some parking spaces needed to be removed in order to facilitate trucks that may need to turn around.
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