The newly reconstructed and improved West Second Street in Seymour is causing concerns with residents, pedestrians and city officials.
A wider and smoother driving surface is leading some motorists to drive faster through the area than they should, city engineer Nathan Frey said.
The city recently conducted a nearly weeklong traffic study of the street, going both east and westbound, to determine just how big of a problem speeding is and to help determine what needs to be done to slow traffic down.
Computerized traffic counters were centrally located, about 1,000 feet east of Vehslage Road, for the study.
The posted speed limit in the area is 30 miles per hour. The report showed the average speed of traffic was 34 mph, and about 80 percent of vehicles were going faster than the speed limit.
“Based on the numbers, I would say there is an issue with traffic traveling too fast,” Frey said.
A total of 91 vehicles, or about 1 percent of all vehicles counted, were registered traveling 55 mph or faster with 17 clocking in at speeds of 75 mph or more.
Most but not all of the fastest speeds were in the early morning hours when there was little to no traffic in the area, Frey said.
He also thought some of those could have been emergency vehicles responding to calls.
Data from the study showed a total volume of 10,167 vehicles passing on the street from 11 p.m. July 28 to 11 p.m. Aug. 3 with a westbound high of 120 from 5 to 6 p.m. July 29 to a low of zero from 4 to 5 a.m. July 30. The eastbound count showed a high of 81 vehicles from 7 to 8 a.m. Aug. 3 and a low of one from 3 to 4 a.m. July 29.
The average daily count was 1,695.
According to the report, the greatest number of vehicles, 3,101, drove between 35 and 39 mph. A total of 2,957 vehicles registered speeds of 30 to 34 mph, meaning at least half of the traffic traveling West Second Street was traveling in the 30 to 40 mph range.
Based on the speed traffic currently is traveling, Frey said the speed limit should be 45 mph. But he doesn’t think changing the speed limit will make a difference in changing motorists’ habits.
To slow traffic, he recommends the city add a white edgeline to both sides of the 11-foot-wide road to “squeeze” in traffic.
“This tends to slow traffic a bit. The narrower you go, the slower you drive,” he said. “Think of lane restrictions on the interstate in construction zones. I think we could stripe the lanes at 10½ feet and then place counters down again to see if it helps.”
Striping would be a low-dollar fix, Frey said.
“I’m thinking that will make a difference,” he said.
But it likely won’t stop those who are going the fastest speeds, he added.
“That will probably have to be an enforcement issue,” he said. “By finding out what times we are seeing those and putting a police cruiser out there and sticking with a ticket, if they are going 60 or 70 in a 30 mph zone, that is going to expensive.”
The alternative is putting in a three-way stop at Deer Park Court or putting in some pedestrian crosswalks, similar to Fourth Street near Cummins.
Frey said adding stop signs is not necessarily the best option because it disrupts the flow of traffic and could lead to more wrecks.