LaFayette resident speaks on traffic safety problems
Published 8:30 am Wednesday, July 14, 2021
Traffic safety has been a concern on LaFayette Street for quite some time. The same problems have been brought before the council by several council members, the mayor and LaFayette citizens. On Monday, LaFayette citizen Randy Talley brought some concerns before the council.
“Thank you for allowing me to speak about these areas of concern, not only by me but by many citizens of LaFayette,” Talley said. “I want to stress these are not [new] issues that we are discussing. They have been going on for many years but have been increasingly getting worse the past couple of years.”
LaFayette Street is part of Highway 431 that runs through the center of LaFayette’s downtown.
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Talley’s biggest concern was speeding. Entering LaFayette downtown, the speed limit is set to 30 miles per hour, but as Talley points out, most of the traffic is going faster than the limit.
“This appears to be a reasonable setting, but the problem is, the limit is not being followed or enforced,” Talley said. “Speeding is dangerous in the first place but also makes pulling out of parking spaces very difficult in addition to the poor visibility.”
Most parking in downtown LaFayette is slanted parking that meets a curb. Talley is saying that if there are multiple vehicles in spots, pulling out of a downtown parking spot can be tough if vehicles are going above the allotted speed.
Talley said he, along with other citizens, have been in contact with the Alabama Department of Transportation, which is aware of the problems that LaFayette Street has. One of the big hold-ups so far on trying to make changes to LaFayette Street has been the city’s history with the DOT.
“The state DOT states that they want to make parking on LaFayette Street parallel parking,” Talley said. “This would result in less parking spaces but would address some of the visibility issues. It is up to the council and the mayor, as they are to discuss this with the state DOT agency.”
Talley also brought up the idea of buying portable radar signs that could be placed and moved to different locations in the city. Councilmember Tammie B. Williams informed Talley that Police Chief George Rampey had planned to have the portable radar signs in the 2020-21 budget already. He will add them to the 2021-22 budget, as all extra purchases were taken out of the 2020-21 budget.
Talley also brought up the crosswalks on LaFayette Street that lead to the courthouse. He said crosswalks are not clearly marked and unless drivers are paying attention, they will not see the crosswalk.
“If you are traveling through town, you are probably 99.99% unaware of that crossing,” Talley said. “The [ADOT] engineer says there need to be some signs there.”
Talley also said people are parking illegally on LaFayette Ave. SW, which makes visibility harder.
The city passed a resolution to have a safety review of LaFayette Street four months ago. As of Monday, Attorney Mac Tucker has a draft of a letter to send to the ADOT’s safety review committee, but he and Mayor Kenneth Vines haven’t met to discuss the draft.