Eric Swanson Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Ada City Council is heading back to the drawing board to come up with a plan for closing part of Turner Street.
After a lengthy discussion, council voted Monday to postpone a decision on the issue until Dec. 2. The delay gives officials more time to draw up a detailed plan for closing Turner between 10th Street and the northern boundary of the alley between Main and 10th streets.
Councilman Bryan Morris originally said he would vote to close the road as long as Trinity Baptist Church’s west parking lot remained open, giving people a way to reach 10th Street. He later changed his mind, saying he wanted to wait until council had a specific plan to consider.
“I’d rather just see a full, detailed plan and then vote for or against it,” Morris said.
The meeting reopened a discussion that started three months ago when council voted to close part of Turner Street to the public except for emergency use. Officials at Trinity Baptist Church sought the closure to improve safety for people attending the church.
Some people said Monday the city should abandon plans for closing the street and look at other options for reducing traffic in the area,
“I just don’t think that everything that could be done has been done at this particular point,” said Ada resident Barbara Young, who does business at 111 N. Turner. “I would ask the council — after seeing and hearing the discussion that I saw on the tape that I watched — to rescind this, to take it back and to consider leaving the street open.”
Other people, including several employees of Trinity Baptist Church, urged council to stick with its earlier vote to close the road.
“That’s already been decided,” said church staffer David Gray. “We don't want to plow ground that has already been plowed.”
Back in July, council asked city staffers to draw up a traffic plan for closing part of Turner Street.
City Engineer Gary Kinder’s report, which was discussed during Monday’s meeting, outlined several possibilities for closing Turner Street but did not include any recommendations. The first scenario involved closing part of the street and making the alley one way to the west, allowing northbound traffic to exit onto North Hope Avenue.
Other scenarios involved installing speed bumps or putting in gates with flashing lights, similar to railroad crossings. Those options did not actually require closing the street.
Councilman Shane Sweeney said no one had told him that the council had only one option for closing the street.
“I came here to listen to the points of what they needed and what the others needed, thinking I had three different options out there,” he said. “And then I’m told at this meeting I’ve got one option. ... I’m a little frustrated.”
The city’s legal adviser, Frank Stout, said the city could install speed bumps or railroad crossing-style gates to reduce traffic on Turner, but those measures were not the same as closing the street.
“I would think if that’s the options you want to consider, then you need to reconsider the whole shooting match,” he said. “Not how you close it, but whether you’re going to close it. Because you’re wanting to consider options that don’t require closure.”