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New traffic pattern in place uptown
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A car stops this week at the intersection of Jones and Fayette streets uptown where four temporary stop signs have been installed. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)

Friday, August 1, 2014

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

When driving by the old courthouse uptown, motorists had better stop — for now, anyway.

Four temporary stop signs — two on posts and two mounted near street level — have been installed on Jones Street at the intersection of Fayette Street beside the historic structure.

Motorists on Jones, a one-way street uptown, now must stop at the intersection before proceeding or turning left onto two-way Fayette.

City Manager Leon Towarnicki said the stop signs could become permanent if city officials determine they improve traffic flow in the business district.

Eastbound traffic on Fayette must turn left onto Jones Street.

The traffic “sometimes zips through (the intersection) and doesn’t stop,” Towarnicki said. “Hopefully, it (the stop signs) will prevent accidents.”

Officials could not recall any accidents happening there recently, though.

At the least, Towarnicki added, “given the amount of traffic that occurs in that area,” the signs “might make traffic flow more efficient.”

Martinsville police Lt. Jim Minter said police are watching the intersection, but so far they have not issued citations to motorists for failing to stop.

Towarnicki said the idea for the stop signs came from recent conversations that city employees had with Martinsville Uptown Revitalization Association representatives and employees of uptown businesses.

They expressed concerns about the safety of pedestrians as more people seem to be visiting uptown as more development occurs there, he said.

Another idea that came out of the conversations, Towarnicki said, was to remove the traffic lights at Fayette and Moss streets and install stop signs, making the intersection a four-way stop.

With the development of the New College Institute’s new building near that intersection and plans for a medical school to be developed there, probably there will be more pedestrians around the intersection in the future, he said, and stop signs may better improve traffic flow.

The traffic measures will be further discussed at the next Martinsville City Council meeting on Aug. 12, Towarnicki said.

If the traffic lights are removed, it likely will not be until some time later in August or in September, he said.


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