Victory Way traffic reviewed

Study, assistance sought for state highway through Craig

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The construction of a Wendy's restaurant will affect his business, but McDonald's owner Chris Nichols said he is more worried about how it will affect traffic on W. Victory Way.

There are 10 curb cuts on the highway between Ledford Street and Finley Lane.

A driver's ability to turn from just about any point on the street, the mad dash across five lanes to get from one side to the other and the lack of sidewalks and pedestrian crosswalks result in accidents, Nichols said. Accidents, he believes, will be exacerbated by the addition of any new business if a change isn't made.

"I never advocated to deny the application to Wendy's," he said. "I just ask that they do a traffic study to see what the impact of having 400 to 500 more cars a day will be."

Nichols is a member of the city Planning and Zoning Commission. He abstained from the vote that approved the proposed restaurant's parking and landscaping plan but did ask that a traffic study be done on the impact the restaurant would have on traffic flows.

"You don't exacerbate the problem by increasing the traffic flow by 400 to 500 cars a day without finding a solution," he said.

Nichols asked the Craig City Council Tuesday to consider making traffic studies mandatory for any newly constructed business.

He said he didn't know what the solution to existing traffic problems would be, but asked council members to consider alternatives.

"I'm advocating that we work with the state Highway Department to correct existing problems and not make traffic any worse on W. Victory Way," Nichols said.

Victory Way, also named U.S. Highway 40, belongs to the state. The city cannot make any changes.

Cars, using the single-turn lane to turn into existing businesses on the left and right sides of the road, "play chicken" on the highway when determining which car will turn first, he said.

"If you want to cross Highway 40, you take a breath and run," he said.

According to city Road and Bridge Department Director Randy Call, there was a median through a portion of W. Victory Way until the early 1980s when the state pulled it out to offer better access to existing businesses.

The state, Call said, advocates the construction of frontage roads to correct the problem. Several businesses along Victory Way were built back from the highway to accommodate a frontage road, but most are not.

In the past 18 months, there have been 25 accidents in the one-block area.

"It's unsafe for my customers to even get in and out of my parking lot," Nichols said.

To be fair, Police Chief Walt Vanatta said, nine of those accidents were in the McDonald's parking lot. Of the others, two involved bicycles, one driver hit a deer, two were caused because of icy conditions, two were turns from Ledford Street, two accidents occurred as drivers crossed Victory Way and three were caused when a driver failed to yield when exiting. Another car was rear-ended when leaving Kmart's parking lot.

"He has a point when he says traffic is a mess, but it's the state's road," Vanatta said.

"We need to get affected business owners to go to the state and put pressure on to solve the problem," Mayor Dave DeRose said.

City Manager Jim Ferree suggested a traffic engineer from the state be invited to

participate.

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