Live Oak —
Discussion continued again Tuesday night at the Live Oak City Council meeting regarding the placement of a four-way stop at the intersection of Helvenston Street and Railroad Avenue. The board previously voted to create a four-way stop at the intersection, however, conversations over the last couple of months have been considering placing a caution light at the newly installed crosswalk. Public Works Director Brent Whitman approached the council to seek clarification.
“As it stands right now, you have authorized me to put up stop signs,” Whitman said.
He told the council if they didn’t want to go with stop signs, he suggests putting caution lights at two different locations on Helvenston Street.
“If we told you to put them there, then put them there,” Councilor Bennie Thomas told Whitman.
Whitman was asked if he recommended the four-way stop.
“I never recommended the stop sign,” Whitman said. “But if you want them there, we’ll put them there.”
Councilor Keith Mixon addressed another safety concern regarding Helvenston Street.
“There are three speed limits on Helvenston. It goes from 30, to 35 and 45 miles per hour,” Mixon said.
Mixon recommended changing the speed limit to 30 miles per hour and continue with the plans of a four-way stop.
“Enforce 30 (miles per hour) throughout the whole road,” Mixon said. “I think our chief of police would agree the stop signs need to be there.”
The city recently approved the construction of a sidewalk that extends from White Avenue to Suwannee Health Care on Helvenston Street. At the intersection of Helvenston and Railroad, the sidewalk crosses the right-of-way, which could potentially be a safety concern, according to Whitman.
Mixon added increased activity at Heritage Park and Gardens and the start of the future trail on the old railroad bed off Helvenston would increase pedestrian activity. He said traffic speeds need to be reduced to make the area more pedestrian-friendly.
“You’re bringing more pedestrians to that street,” Mixon said. “You need to have a walkable community.”
Live Oak Police Chief Buddy Williams agreed with Mixon.
“I think 30 is fine. We do need to slow it down,” Williams said. “There has got to be a calming device (referring to signs).”
Williams said multiple speeds are hard to enforce, however, he did suggest adding a buffer on Helvenston for traffic leaving US 90. Williams suggested posting a speed limit of 35 miles per hour and drop it down to 30 miles per hour at the border of the city limits.
At last month’s meeting, Shane Piett, owner of Rainbow Bird Land, asked the board to consider a caution light and said he believed a four-way stop would hinder parking and the traffic flow into his business. The board agreed to spend $4,300 to move and realign the cross walk to the adjacent side and re-stripe the crossing as needed to benefit the business located at the corner.
However, the board would not budge on rescinding their vote of making the intersection a four-way stop.
The board voted unanimously Tuesday night to set the speed limit on Helvenston Street at 35 miles per hour from US 90 to the city limits, then 30 miles per hour thereafter.
The board voted 3-2 to continue with a four-way stop and to relocate the crosswalk to the adjacent side. Councilors Jacob Grantham and Adam Prins voted against.