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By Margaret Smyka
Contributing Writer 

Mathews Ave. to one-way is is a change some don't like

 

November 1, 2011



At the request of local residents in light of a number of traffic accidents, Mathews Ave. in Knoxville was recently changed to one-way.

"I listen to the people. Whatever they want we will try to implement," said city Public Works director Rob Kaczorowski.

The problem is Mathews Ave. is now one-way going up the hill, whereas the request in the petition to make Mathews one-way was for the other direction: going down.

To a show of hands at the meeting of people who want Mathews Ave. one-way going down, a majority raised their hands.

The Oct. 25 meeting to discuss Mathews Ave. and other traffic-related issues in the Knoxville/Bon Air area was hosted by city councilman Bruce Kraus at the Knoxville United Church. It drew about 65 attendees.

"We want to hear the pros and cons, and what we can do better," said Mr. Kraus.

A school crossing guard said she believes the street is better served by making it one-way down the hill. Another problem, she said, is signage; drivers do not see the one-way arrows and are approaching her at the intersection from the wrong direction.

"We can do better signage," said Mr. Kraus.

The change in Mathews Ave. was made, explained Mr. Kraus, at the request of residents because children are often on the street, and there is frequent speeding. But it was not merely the petition which fueled the change, he said, but "clear thought and process."

"It was not a blind decision. We can tweak it," he said.

The decision on direction was made by a traffic engineer, who called it the only option, said Mr. Kaczorowski. While she was not present to explain her reasons, Mr. Kaczorowski said she follows engineering guidelines.

While prior meetings were held about Mathews Ave ., some Bon Air residents said they were not aware of them, for which Mr. Kraus apologized for the oversight.

Mr. Kaczorowski said the one-way change was reported on television and in the newspaper.

A Mathews resident said neither he nor his neighbor was asked to sign the petition. He wondered if the one-way change will solve the speeding problem. Instead, he prefers speed bumps and enforcing parking on the odd side of the street.

Mr. Kraus said he was not sure if speed bumps or rumble strips are permitted.

An attendee said he sees no reason to make Mathews one-way; instead he suggested making the section between Knox and Romaine Way two-way.

Another resident said by making Mathews one-way, it forces Arabella St. residents to use other intersections.

The one-way change only means motorists are speeding up the hill another attendee said; Mr. Kraus countered he expects the change to cut speeding in half with one lane.

"We must monitor the speed and traffic going up," said a resident.

A Bausman St. resident said her street gets more traffic now that Mathews is one-way. "Bausman Street is like Route 51," she said.

An attendee said a child will be hit some morning by a car without a crossing guard at Bausman and Grimes.

A crossing guard complained more crossing guards are needed in the area, Mr. Kraus said he would talk with public safety director Michael Huss, and Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith, public safety chair.

 

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