Village to crack down on cut through drivers


By Dedra Cordle
Staff Writer

Around 3 p.m. during the work week, residents in the village of Urbancrest brace themselves for the vehicular clogging of their streets.

Like clockwork, one by one they come down Augustus Drive from Urbancrest Industrial Drive, turn down First Avenue and use that access point to get onto Broadway. If they see that First Avenue is backed up, they travel down to Second Avenue and try their luck there. And if they see that street is backed up, they move on down the road.

But it is not just the street congestion that is bothering the residents. It is also the way they see motorists traversing their roads.

“They treat it as if it’s the Indianapolis (Motor) Speedway,” said village councilwoman Veronica Shepherd.

There have also been complaints about motorists ignoring the stop signs as well.

“I fear that somebody is going to be seriously injured one day,” said councilman S. Henry Warr. “And the kids are going to be out of school soon too.”

To address this issue that many say has been going on for years, the village council said at their April 12 meeting that they are strongly considering restricting access to Augustus Drive during peak traffic hours.

According to council, they would like to see a restriction of right turns onto Augustus Drive from those traveling down Urbancrest Industrial Drive Monday through Friday from 3:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Warr said he believes that will go a long way to clearing up not only traffic issues in the village, but health and safety related issues.

“It’s up to us to do something about this,” he said.

Members of council seemed in agreement, but member Alicia Wiggins raised concerns as to how it would be enforced.

“This is something that has to have teeth,” she said.

Mayor Joseph Barnes Sr. said they will give the legislation to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office – they have a substation located in the village – and ask them to increase their patrols during the restricted hours and hand out warnings or citations to violators.

Councilman Kenneth Skeaton suggested they inform businesses in the village of their intentions to restrict access to Augustus Drive and get their input on the matter. He also suggested they inform the South-Western City Schools District as well.

Council said they will continue their discussion on the restriction issue at the May 10 meeting.

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