Traffic concerns raised

Billie G. Rains made screeching noises as she described the nearly daily occurrence of driver's slamming on their brakes to avoid vehicle accidents on Main Avenue.

A Suburban stops beyond the stop sign into the intersection of Third Street and Main Avenue to watch for traffic on Main Avenue before crossing.

A hair stylist who works in the problem area, Rains said speeding is a problem on Main Avenue between Second and Fourth streets.

She looked out the window and points out the volume of vehicles that rush through the area.

"These people need anger management on Main and Third," Rains said. "(Drivers) honk their horns and make gestures at each other."

City officials are looking at possible solutions to traffic issues including speeding and parking on Main Avenue, where the speed limit is 25 mph.

Ward D city councilors Keith Thomas and Dianne Parker brought up these issues in recent city council meetings prompting Portales City Manager Tom Howell and other officials to conduct a traffic study.

Howell said a radar gun will be used to track speed in that area over the next couple of weeks. He said they plan to present the results of the study at the next council meeting on Aug. 7.

Howell said they're also looking at the number of vehicle accidents that have occurred in that area to determine whether speed is an issue.

"I asked for a study and I asked them to reduce the speed limit down to 15 miles per hour," Thomas said. "In the mornings I've seen people travel as high as 40 miles per hour through there (200 and 300 blocks of Main Avenue)."

Parker is concerned that the angled parking in that same area adds to the risk of vehicle accidents due to the number of parked pickup trucks obstructing the view of drivers attempting to cross Main.

"You literally almost have to get to the middle of the road to cross," Parker said. "It's just so dangerous, but I don't want to wait until an accident happens to do something."

She said her constituents have complained that Third Street and Main Avenue is a dangerous corner.

Parker suggests making the parking along Main Avenue between Second and Fourth streets parallel but business owners argue that they will lose business by reducing the amount of parking spots.

"We will lose some parking but if that's what it takes, I'd like to look at that," Parker said. "It would be much safer."

Howell is looking at parking solutions as well but advises councilors to consider public opinion before making any changes.

He suggests moving the stop signs further out into the street on the corners of Third and Main and Fourth and Main so drivers can get a better view.

Rains is against changing the parking but does agree that drivers are out in the middle of the road attempting to cross the street. She suggests making Third and Main a four-way stop intersection.

Donna Hayman, manager of NoWhere Else on Main, says she is against changing the parking. She said her business is allotted three parking spaces and parallel parking would reduce that to one. But Hayman also agrees with councilors that the traffic issues on Main are dangerous.

"Is there a good solution?," Hayman asked. "Parking would be the biggest issued because there is not enough in the area."

Thomas agrees with Hayman.

"I'm totally against changing the parking," he said. "It's not going to work, it's going to hurt businesses town. We need to come up with an alternative but we do not need to change to parallel parking."

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