City changing traffic controls, speed limits near old BESPC
Changes to USD 348 facilities in August have created changes to the streets around the old Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center building.
In August, the Baldwin School District opened the new BESPC building on the west edge of town. Before the move, speed limits were decreased around the elementary school building and stop signs were added in for safety purposes. Since the building is empty, city staff decided to change the traffic controls and speed limits around the old school.
On Monday, the Baldwin City Council approved a recommendation from city staff to change traffic controls around the old school building and approve an ordinance for the first reading to change the speed limits in the area. Both passed unanimously.
“The city council approved the first reading of the ordinance to change the speed limits,” Baldwin City Administrator Dingman said. “They also approved the recommendation, which becomes effectively immediately, on the stop signs and other traffic laws.”
The first change will be that Chapel Street between Sixth and Eighth streets shall be marked and adjusted to accommodate two-way traffic. The street runs directly in front of the USD 348 District Office.
The second change will be removing the stop signs on Eighth Street at the corner with Chapel Street. The intersection will now be a two-way stop for the eastbound and westbound traffic.
The same will be done at the intersection of Sixth and Chapel streets. The stop signs on Sixth Street will be removed. There will be a stop sign put in place at the intersection on Chapel Street for eastbound traffic.
Since the stop signs on Sixth Street will be removed, the city will be putting stop signs at Sixth and Dearborn streets, establishing a four-way stop. This intersection will match the one at Eighth and Dearborn streets.
“That four-way stop will be taken out and moved to Sixth and Dearborn,” Dingman said. “We will put it there by Gessner Hall. It’s good to have a stop in there some place on Sixth Street.”
The other two changes will affect parking around the District Office building and Baker University. The resolution states that no parking shall be permitted on the south side of Chapel Street between Sixth and Eighth streets and no parking shall be permitted on the west side of Seventh Street between Chapel and Dearborn streets.
“We didn’t change Seventh Street,” Dingman said. “Right now, it’s one-way heading north. If it were made into a two-way, we wouldn’t be allowed to have parking on the east side. We can continue to look at that.”
The other approved change was the first reading of an ordinance to change the speed limits on Sixth and Chapel streets. The speed limit on Sixth Street will be 30 mph from Dearborn Street to Ames Street, as 6th Street is elsewhere in town. The ordinance would also change the speed limit on Chapel Street between Sixth and Eighth streets to 30 mph.
“Hopefully, it will all work out,” Dingman said. “Since there is no elementary school there, we felt like the changes could be made and the public’s safety wasn’t in danger.”
The city council will discuss and vote on the ordinance at the Feb. 21 meeting.