School traffic changes on council agenda


The Seymour City Council will consider ordinances to help improve traffic flow at several school buildings during a meeting at 7 p.m. today at city hall.

Those ordinances include amending city code to:

Prohibit parking on the north side of Fifth Street between Elm Street and Emerson Drive near Emerson Elementary School

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Change a two-way stop to a three-way stop at Marley Lane and Hancock Drive near Margaret R. Brown Elementary School to allow for a new driveway at the back of the school

Close C Avenue East at Sixth Avenue near Seymour-Jackson Elementary School

City attorney Chris Engleking drafted the changes at the request of the thoroughfare and drainage committee, which consists of councilmen Drew Storey, Jerry Hackney and Bret Cunningham.

“I anticipate a lot of discussion on this,” Storey said. “But I think it’s inevitable the traffic flow is going to change.”

With the new school year starting Aug. 10, Seymour Community School Corp. School Resource Officer Keith Williams and school administrators are expecting a significant increase in vehicular traffic as more students are dropped off and picked up instead of riding buses.

Storey said the council may consider suspending the second reading of the ordinances because the next council meeting isn’t until Aug. 10 and officials would like to make the changes before school starts.

School officials are encouraging parents to transport their children this year as a way to limit the number of students on buses due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

But the increase in car traffic presents several safety issues, which the school and city are working together to address.

At the July 13 council meeting, Williams presented how the schools are making improvements and asked the city to consider making some traffic flow changes on city streets to support those efforts.

Williams said the school system has invested around $250,000 to reconfigure parking lots and drop-off and pickup areas. The biggest expense is at Jackson, where the dividing median between the vehicle drop-off/pickup zone and the bus zone is being removed to create one large area for vehicles to line up.

The Seymour Board of Public Works and Safety voted Thursday to give tentative approval and forward the three ordinances on to council for further discussion and a vote.

Mayor Matt Nicholson said he has some concerns about closing C Avenue East.

By putting a permanent barrier on C Avenue on the east side of Sixth Avenue, eastbound traffic would have to turn right onto Sixth Avenue or turn left from Sixth Avenue going west on C Avenue.

“It’s not that anyone loses access,” Storey said. “And C Avenue will act as a queue line for the school, which is the ultimate goal.”

Originally, Williams requested the city create a three-way stop on C Avenue East turning into the west side of the school.

Nicholson said he would rather see C Avenue turned into a one-way street going west for a block to force traffic coming from the school to turn right.

He said the road will have to be reopened anyway next year during construction of the second phase of the Burkart South Bypass.

“I also asked the police department to research how many accidents are in the area,” Nicholson said. “Their findings were one in the last few years.”

During the board of works meeting, Assistant Police Chief Greg O’Brien said the Seymour Police Department plans to have extra police presence at the schools from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. and from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. each day to help direct traffic.

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What: Seymour City Council meeting

When: 7 p.m. Monday

Where: Seymour City Hall, 301-309 N. Chestnut St., enter through back entrance off of Third Street

Who: Open to the public and press

On the agenda: Three ordinances to amend city code to prohibit parking on Fifth Street between Elm Street and Emerson Drive, to implement a three-way stop at Marley Lane and Hancock Drive and to close C Avenue East at Sixth Avenue


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