Maplewood City Council discusses how to control traffic on block with 15 kids

About a dozen of approximately 30 in the audience at the Maplewood City Council meeting on Tuesday came from Marietta Avenue. Their block carries higher than average traffic for a residential street according to a city study, and a percentage of those are speeding.

The residents who are also parents see it at the bus stop on Marshall Avenue.  They said drivers don’t yield to pedestrians, cut through a parking lot on the corner, exhibit road rage, and swipe parked cars as they come north on Marshall and turn left on Marietta.

The city had sent a letter to the residents with a suggestion from a traffic consultant to allow parking on the north side of the street to discourage the cut-through traffic. Not one resident or council member liked the idea.

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The residents acknowledged the volume but want to slow it down. Speed bumps, rumble strips, narrowing the street at one spot were all ideas floated to do that.

Several council members agreed with the residents that speeding is a problem, but City Manager Marty Corcoran said it’s clear the problem is volume.

“You can’t tell me by sitting on your porch how fast a car is going. That’s a problem on every street in Maplewood [that a percentage are speeding], but you don’t have the same volume on every street in Maplewood,” he said following the meeting. “The issue is you’ve got to reduce the volume on the street. If you don’t reduce the volume on the street you’re not going to solve the problem. If you put a speed bump there and there’s still 2,500 cars going down the street we haven’t solved any problems. It’s still dangerous for kids. It’s still dangerous for the cars parked on the side of the street. It doesn’t get solved.”

Council member Shawn Faulkingham disagreed. He said, also after the meeting, that speeding is a problem and speed bumps are a viable solution: “We found with our study that 78 cars went through in an hour. Thirty percent of them were over 25 miles per hour. That’s a lot of speeders. One percent would be too many when you have 15 kids on the block. You have to look at kid density too. When we got the speed bumps on Elm that was my idea. I did the research on it. At the time we had 23 kids. Speed kills. Even the speed limit kills. Their perception is they want the cars to slow down, and speed bumps do slow them down, and focuses the driver, so I think it’s a very viable option.”

Corcoran said at the end of the discussion the city has 90 days to implement a solution because that’s when school will begin. (It’s actually less than that.) He told the council to bring proposed solutions to a future meeting.

A group of residents, council members and Mayor Greenberg stayed and talked it over after the meeting.

Maplewood Mayor Barry Greenberg (center) and council member Ray Crader (second from left) talk with Marietta Avenue residents and others after the meeting on Tuesday.

14 thoughts on “Maplewood City Council discusses how to control traffic on block with 15 kids

  1. Another idea is to use something similar to the traffic control in place on Sutton – in front of the park. There are planters on Sutton just inside of the side streets. On Marietta, these would be placed toward the center of the street by the parking lot entrances. The bump outs could have solar lighting so that they are well lit at night. They may need to be bigger than the ones on Sutton. The traffic engineer the city consulted could determine the best placement and size. Besides Sutton, the concept was used in the Central West End on Maryland to slow traffic in and out of the shopping district.

    • Forgot to mention, South Grand uses the same concept with some really great rain gardens filled with native plants.

  2. Here’s an idea: Make the nearby one-way streets two-way. Then, some of the current traffic on Marietta will use those streets instead. Those streets are Hazel, Myrtle and Maple.

  3. City Manager Marty Corcoran said you can’t sit on porch and know what speed a car is doing, I know what 25 mph looks like and what speeding thru looks like, most do 35 to 45 down Bellevue, but the thing that pisses me off nor is the Bike riders, None of them know how to read, Never And I DO MEAN NEVER stop at stop sign’s or they ride 2 or 3 abreast , I was raised that if you ride in the streets you must follow the rules of the road, just like a car, Or WAS OFFICER FRIENDLY Lying to us as kids

  4. How about making Manchester 4 lanes again. The side streets have been a nightmare ever since we tried to ‘Kirkwood’ Manchester. IT HASN’T WORKED! Traveling thru Maplewood is a nightmare. If you happen to catch the lights right, you inevitably get stuck waiting for someone to try to parallel park on the street.

    • It would help with the traffic but I doubt that will happen. They like downtown Maplewood looking like a Keytruda commercial.

    • This may be the first time I have ever seen the suggestion of making Manchester a four lane road on 40south. See something new everyday. Thank goodness it’s a rare sighting.

  5. How about eliminating parking on Manchester and adding a turn signal for traffic turning from Manchester onto Marshall and/or Oakview?

    • No decision made. It’s in the works. Deadline is the start of school in the fall to have something implemented.